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Diversity and inclusion: not just words on a page

January 19, 2016

Happy New Year, everyone! The holidays have passed, and I hope that you had a chance to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends. As I watched and read the news during the holidays, I was struck by both the joy and the sorrow of our diverse world. People of diverse backgrounds celebrating together—that’s the joy. People hurting others because they are not like them—that’s the sorrow.

Why am I talking about this? Because inclusiveness is one of MSU’s three core values. In President Simon’s Statement on Core Values, she says, “Inclusion…is an overarching philosophy that starts with a belief in the value of varying perspectives and a promise of mutual respect.” She goes on to say, “We embrace a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints and intellectual approaches because it enriches the conversation and benefits everyone, even as it challenges us to grow and think differently.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Having a diverse workforce is not enough. We must also be inclusive of our diversity which means that we accept and encourage all ideas and perspectives. We can’t afford to have people step back and keep their heads down because they don’t feel included or valued. And if that’s the way you feel, that has to change. Talk to your supervisor, your business leader, someone on the advisory team, Jennifer or Michelle in HR, or come see me directly. 

Of course, anybody who is in a position to hire new staff members needs to be very aware of MSU’s thoughts on diversity. But everyone at IPF can promote diversity and inclusion in a variety of ways.  Participate in employee surveys you may receive. Your opinion matters! You can also participate in university programs that encourage diversity and inclusion, such as Project 60/50 and the Race Card Project. Check out the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives or Mosaic: The Multicultural Unity Center for community events and additional resources.

The bottom line is MSU and IPF are large, diverse organizations. It’s vital for all of us to look at this as a benefit and celebrate the new ideas, expertise and skills that come with diversity and inclusion.

Until next time,

Dan

P.S. There’s a short video of diversity and inclusion expert Dr. Steve Robbins talking about how people can overcome their natural tendencies to be closed minded to new people and ideas. It takes less than four minutes to watch, so I encourage you to take a look