Whether you’re teaching online courses or in the classroom, you need a well-written diversity and inclusion statement that speaks to your firm commitment to creating and improving educational opportunities for all of your students, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.
But, what goes into a diversity and inclusion statement? How long should it be? How is a diversity statement different for an online course?
We’ll answer all of your questions and provide you with an example diversity and inclusion statement to use in your online courses.
What is a diversity and inclusion statement?
A diversity and inclusion statement is a document that explains:
- Your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
- How DEI impacts the students’ learning experience
- What your students can expect from you
- What you expect from your students
How long should a diversity statement be?
Be clear and concise, but don’t worry about counting words.
Whether you write 100 words or 100 pages, your main goal is to clearly explain your DEI mission and purpose.
How is a diversity statement different for an online course?
Most will be similar, but a diversity statement for an online course requires some additional information.
What you create for a diversity and inclusion statement for an in-person class will be similar to the statement used in an online course. However, for an online course, you’ll need to explain the extra steps you’ll take to overcome the obstacles that a distance learning environment creates.
Is there a diversity statement format you need to follow?
Nope. Make the diversity statement your own.
If you want to use paragraphs, go for it. If you prefer to use bullet points, feel free to use them.
It’s your diversity statement, so use any format and content needed to get your point across in a meaningful way.
We’ll provide you with a sample diversity statement, but keep this in mind: they’re just examples to help give you direction and inspiration.
How to write a diversity and inclusion statement for an online course
Describe your commitment to DEI and why it’s important to you
Set the stage for the rest of the statement and use this section as your opportunity to provide context and begin building trust with your students.
- Use a powerful introduction to set the tone and grab their attention
- Explain what DEI means to you and describe your experience.
- Regardless of your race, gender, ethnicity, age, or condition, describe your experience and understanding.
Explain how DEI impacts each student’s learning experience and the quality of their education
The goal of this section is for students to know exactly how DEI benefits the learning experience for themselves and others.
- Describe how DEI creates a well-rounded learning experience that considers different perspectives.
- Explain how it creates a learning environment that provides everyone with a fair and equitable opportunity to learn.
- Emphasize that DEI creates an inclusive learning environment that welcomes everyone.
Tell your students what they can expect from you
Just like students need to know exactly what’s expected of them, they also need to know what they can expect from you as an instructor. This is also where you’ll add information about how DEI is especially important in an online course and the steps you’ll take to improve it.
- Explain that you’ll consider DEI in every aspect of the course, from the course content and exam accommodations to the language you use and discussions you facilitate.
- Reiterate that you will enforce consequences for poor behavior and ask students to be vocal about holding you accountable and helping to educate others.
- Acknowledge that a remote learning environment poses challenges, such as effectively communicating and connecting and ensuring web accessibility, but tell them you’ll take extra steps to continually learn and improve to overcome any barriers.
Tell your students what you expect from them
Students need to know exactly what is expected of them and how they play a role in creating an inclusive learning environment.
- Be explicit about what behavior is expected.
- Explain that derogatory and offensive language won’t be tolerated and the consequences that you will enforce.
- Speak about the importance of using inclusive language and how it can help create a sense of belonging for other students.
- Explain how their words and behavior play a role in creating an inclusive learning environment.
- Be explicit about what behavior is expected.
Example Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Using diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as an educator helps me achieve a very important goal in my career: to improve the educational experience for each student.
I am committed to this effort because I know it’s these differences that inspire compassion, encourage creativity, create a community, and support you in your education and life.
Each of you deserves to receive the same level of respect and the opportunity to learn and be included. Regardless of any differences, whether race, gender, ethnicity, age, or condition, you are an important part of this educational community.
DEI impacts the educational experience for you and your classmates in many ways. It provides different perspectives, challenges you to think holistically, and creates an invaluable sense of inclusion and belonging. You can expect me to use a variety of learning resources and to challenge you to think from a diverse perspective in every area of this course.
While an online learning environment may inherently create some additional challenges, such as communication and web accessibility, I’ll continually learn, adapt, and improve my efforts to the best of my ability, and I challenge you to do the same.
Your role in creating a diverse and inclusive online classroom is equally important. You have an equal ability to make an impact on others. You’ll treat each student with respect and understand that your words and actions influence everyone around you. I will not tolerate any derogatory or offensive words or actions. It’s your duty, just like mine, to stay informed, aware, and proactive.
Remember that we all play an equal part in an ongoing effort to create a diverse, fair, and inclusive learning environment that welcomes all students, encourages open and respectful communication, and supports each of you throughout your educational journey and in life.
How to establish and use DEI in your online courses
Now that you know how to write a diversity and inclusion statement, you need to know how to effectively establish and use DEI in your online course.
From the way you communicate with your students to the way you develop course content and test their knowledge, DEI plays a role in every aspect of your online courses.
Submit your email below to download our 5-part DEI eBook
The eBook covers everything you need to know about establishing and using diversity, equity, and inclusion in your online classes.
Part 1: Addressing the need for DEI in online education
Part 2: Strategies to develop diverse, equitable, and inclusive online courses
Part 3: How to create accessible online courses (with real examples)
Part 4: Tips to improve your connection with students in an online learning environment
Part 5: How to use educational technology to create a fair testing environment