by Karen Holbrook
“The genius of life is its variety … differences in questions, answers, interpretations and debates. It is like being a musician.
It’s the blending of different notes that makes the music.”
These words, written by author Mitch Albom, perfectly summarize why diversity, inclusion and equity are essential to the success of any organization. You simply can’t make music without blending different notes together. In addition, when you blend different instruments together producing different notes, you create a harmonious tune that is pleasing to the ear.
April has been designated “Celebrate Diversity Month,” providing the USF communities with opportunities to reflect upon the many benefits of embracing, expanding and celebrating all forms of diversity, and how respecting and honoring both similarities and differences in others creates an enhanced teaching and learning environment for everyone. Diversity and inclusion enhance every experience.
Celebrating diversity and inclusion–and weaving them into the fabric throughout an organization’s culture – are integral to innovation, critical and creative thinking, and bring people out of their comfort zones so they can gain new perspectives and points of view. Diversity and inclusion promote self-awareness, mutual respect and civil interactions, enrich our world view, prepare us for the future, and create more productive and prosperous organizations that positively impact societies and bottom lines.
Clearly, this importance is recognized broadly, for when one does a Google search for “Organizations that promote diversity,” 265 million results are generated, a clear indicator that all forms of diversity are being discussed and addressed.
The USF statement on diversity recognizes the scope and desired outcomes of our efforts. “The University of South Florida endeavors to make academic excellence inclusive by sustaining a community of free inquiry in which people of diverse race, ethnicity, veteran status, marital status, socio-economic level, national origin, religious belief, physical ability, sexual orientation, age, class, political ideology, gender identity and expression participate in, contribute to, and benefit equally, from the academic community. A diverse campus environment, in which differences are respected and appreciated, promotes more effective teaching, produces greater learning outcomes, and better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and pluralistic society.”
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