Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Redefining Diversity

Education professor strives to shift the perspective of how people view ‘diversity’

Artwork of abstract people in different colors

School of Education and Human Services

icon of a calendarNovember 20, 2019

icon of a pencilBy Michael Downes

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Giving people a better understanding of diversity is a high-priority need for educators. Chaunda Scott, an associate professor in the School of Education and Human Services (SEHS), is spearheading the charge to help new wave teachers familiarize themselves with the complicated topic.

“It’s the way of the world, it’s coming at us, it’s here to stay,” says Scott. “Our neighbors and family members are made up of all types of people and in order to focus on that we need to educate people on how to manage that.”

Scott’s determined to change people’s perspective of the word ‘diversity.’ It tends to categorize people and limit their expectations.

SEHS is offering students two opportunities to learn more about diversity. The school offers a graduate certificate in human diversity, inclusion and social justice as well as an Annual Diverse Voices Conference, providing a platform for students’ voices to be heard. It shows how students are breaking those expectations and how they’ve propelled themselves beyond limitations.

“We are all diverse,” Scott explains. “People think diversity is race and gender, but we are all diverse and bring something different and valuable to the table.”

The word ‘diversity’ is often associated with the word ‘different,’ but Scott believes that we should look past those superficial discrepancies and focus on the deeper correlations.

“We need to appreciate and value the differences as well as similarities in all people. In many ways we are similar, but we don’t allow it to get to that point because we let the differences overshadow it.”

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