University Announces DiversityEdu Following Student Activism

The University has announced that it will offer a diversity learning module to all undergraduates in the upcoming academic year through a partnership with DiversityEdu: a research-based online program that teaches skills to understand the impact of unconscious bias, language, and behavior.

The announcement comes after discussions with student leaders last fall which occured in the wake of multiple racist incidents on campus and the subsequent Silence is Still Violence march. Following the meeting, administrators issued a letter to the students outlining a plan of action to address diversity and inclusion matters, the first point of which was to “Implement a learning module on diversity and inclusion, similar to Alcohol Edu and Haven, which will be required of all entering undergraduate students.”

“In support of Boston College and its mission to advance and sustain an organizational culture and climate that welcomes and values diversity, we are introducing DiversityEdu to provide an opportunity for students to actively and intentionally broaden their understanding and awareness of the diverse experiences and perspectives that we all bring as members of the Boston College community,” Patricia Lowe, director of the office for Institutional Diversity, told The Chronicle.

The module is composed of open-ended questions, knowledge tests, and information related to diversity, including defining inclusivity, searching for differences, and uncovering the impact of stereotypical thinking. Lowe said that DiversityEdu will be launched this summer and students will receive an email with instructions and deadlines for completing the module. She said that the online program will take approximately 40 minutes to complete and can be taken in segments.

Vice President for Student Affairs Barb Jones told The Chronicle that DiversityEdu will be an invaluable resource to the BC community by providing “a common knowledge and skill base for all students, as well as touch points for further discussion about diversity and inclusion.”

“We are pleased to be able to introduce this tool to all of our undergraduate students,” Jones told The Chronicle. “We hope DiversityEdu will be just the beginning of many conversations around diversity and inclusion. We continue to encourage students to take advantage of other programs such as ‘Mosaic’ and ‘The Campus of Difference’ to build their knowledge and understanding.”

In the letter, the University also said it would develop a survey through the Office of Institutional Research to obtain information on diversity and inclusion on campus and work with all eight schools and colleges to continue efforts to hire a more diverse faculty and recruit a more diverse student body. The module also follows various milestones that highlight BC’s progress toward greater inclusivity in the past academic year, such as enrolling a record high percentage of AHANA students in the Class of 2021 (31 percent) and hiring a record number of tenure-track faculty of AHANA background (46 percent) in 2017.

“DiversityEdu is just one resource that we hope will serve to foster engaging dialogue that continues to move inclusive excellence forward at Boston College,” Lowe told The Chronicle.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Staff

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Cole is the news editor for The Heights. Originally from Phoenix, AZ, he spent thirteen years trying to learn Spanish in school. However, he never learned how to roll his "r's." So, whenever he talks to native Spanish speakers, they all respond in English. You can reach him at [email protected]