Commitment to Diversity

The Value of Diversity

Claremont Graduate University locates diversity as an essential component of its institutional mission and its credo. The mission of Claremont Graduate University is to prepare a diverse group of outstanding individuals to assume leadership roles in the worldwide community through research, teaching, and practice in selected fields. To attract the best and the brightest, to solve humanity’s most pressing problems, to foster a community of life-long learners who make a difference in the world, Claremont Graduate University is committed to the inherent value of diversity.

Diversity as a value embodies open-mindedness, intellectual curiosity, respect for difference, and responsibility for the work we do. At Claremont Graduate University, embracing diversity and transdisciplinarity are integrally linked. The intellectual signature of our graduate research and teaching is transdisciplinarity—which requires open-mindedness, a diversity of viewpoints, and the courage to move beyond established methods, ideas, and disciplines in order to follow the problem. In an increasingly global and complex world, the complementary values of diversity and transdisciplinarity are at the heart of graduate education at Claremont Graduate University.

Claremont Graduate University’s commitment to an open and diverse community is critically important to its intellectual and educational success. Every member of the CGU community benefits from the full participation of its members regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, socio-economic status, or disabilities. Each of us deserves an intellectually vibrant, diverse, and socially responsible environment in which to learn, teach, and become leaders in the worldwide community. 

 

President Freund’s Message on the
Diversity Action Plan for the University

August 30, 2013


Claremont Graduate University has a long-standing commitment to diversity, a value that lies at the heart of our mission. In that tradition, I want to share with you a clear set of diversity-related goals and an action plan to achieve them.

In 2005 our Board of Trustees adopted Claremont Graduate University’s framework for diversity, formally expressing commitments that had grown out of long-running community conversations. That framework places diversity at the center of who we are, encompassing the following: (1) our mission, (2) access and success, (3) climate and intergroup relations, (4) education and scholarship, (5) institutional viability and vitality, and (6) reporting and action. We have gone beyond generalities and identified metrics of success and satisfaction. Diversity is integral to our educational mission—that principle has already been endorsed by our faculty, administration, and board. Now, it is time to turn our attention to reporting and action, to formulate and execute an action plan.

Our academic goals of becoming a more practice-based research university, a more transdisciplinary university, and a more student-centered university depend on the success of CGU’s diversity action plan. Practice-based research sends our faculty and students into the field to see problems in situations where the complexity demands the skills to deal with diverse beliefs, communities, and problems. Likewise, transdisciplinary research is problem-based and asks researchers to draw upon and communicate with multiple disciplinary domains, often in collaborative teams. A student-centered university acknowledges that our students are a networked generation that is collaborative, diverse, outward-looking, and community-oriented. Therefore, our diversity plan is one that embodies our mission and values while engaging our entire university community.

While diversity encompasses a broad and differentiated range of issues that we will continue to explore and address, we have identified two areas for particular attention in connection with an internal review and external assessment by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The first area of focus is student completion and time-to-degree. Six-year completion rates at the Master’s and PhD level are lower for students from some racial/ethnic minority groups than for their total cohort, and CGU’s PhD completion rates for some racial/ethnic minority groups have slightly decreased over the past five cohorts. Climate survey ratings indicate that Black, Hispanic, and Native American students specifically, for example, are less satisfied than their counterparts with their experiences concerning academic advising and support. In situations such as this, we must understand these perspectives, address their underlying causes, and apply the lessons we learn to improve the student experience for all CGU students. In short, our goal of improving student time-to-degree is one way we give practical meaning to our new student-centered vision.

The second area of focus is faculty diversity. Despite our stated commitments and actions, faculty ethnic and gender diversity has not changed significantly over the past five years. When compared to students and staff, the faculty has a lower percentage of individuals identifying as ethnic minority, and faculty diversity varies widely across schools. Moving forward, we will focus on the recruitment of minority candidates into our applicant pools, and on the support, success, and retention of all CGU faculty.

To help shape our work and move it forward I have enacted a three-pronged approach. First, I have appointed students, staff, and faculty to a campus-wide “President’s Diversity Council.” The purpose of the Council is to review and advise on multi-faceted university-wide diversity plans that measure both short- and long-term goals for CGU and each school. The Diversity Council will monitor the process and progress on an ongoing basis. Secondly, I have instructed the School deans to develop diversity plans that are consonant with the university’s goals, as they are reflected in the university-wide plan. We will strictly adhere to what our faculty bylaws specify under “Guidelines for Diversity Procedures in the Faculty Search Process.” Thirdly, as part of the university-wide diversity plan, there will be regular reports to the CGU community. An annual report is due in January each year to the Board of Trustees. A draft of the CGU Diversity Plan will be presented for discussion to the President’s Council, CGU Faculty, Graduate Student Council, and the Board of Trustees. A finalized plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees in December 2013 for approval. A website will also be constructed so I can keep you up to date on the communication of meetings, progress, and resources.

I am relying on senior leadership to establish lines of accountability for closing gaps and making progress as we develop our diversity goals and priorities together. As we embark on this endeavor, I want to thank the members of the President’s Diversity Council, for their exceptional leadership and hard work in mapping the direction toward an intellectually vibrant and socially responsible Claremont Graduate University.

Deborah Freund
President

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