A strong commitment to diversity and inclusion is a fundamental value of the University of Pittsburgh and is critical to achieving our mission as a public research university. Diversity encompasses a broad range of differences and evolves over time. The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), of which Pitt is a member, defines diversity as
Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).
Fostering an inclusive and diverse community is vital as we aim for excellence in teaching and discovery. First, our mission as an institution on the forefront of discovery requires us to make our community the best possible environment for innovation and creativity and requires that we draw from among the most talented individuals in the world, regardless of social background, disability, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, familial status, sex, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or gender identity and expression. Embracing diversity enables new sources of innovation.
Second, diversity, opportunity, and inclusivity are important moral and social values in themselves and as part of our mission we must share our values with the local and global community. Third, our mission as an educational institution requires that we teach students these values through the experience of living in a community where the commitment to diversity is recognized and understood. We also know from experience that our commitment to diversity enhances each student’s overall education. As a University, we recognize that an environment composed of individuals with different backgrounds and perspectives increases the exchange of ideas and expands intellectual development.
For these reasons, among others, we support access and promote excellence in education and research. We seek to promote equity as we act to remove barriers to the achievement of the full potential of all community members. We act upon a deep mission of social justice. And we acknowledge and welcome the broad demographic changes of our evolving society.
How do we reflect our commitment to diversity? We do so by intentionally recruiting and supporting a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. By encouraging and fostering diverse research and creative teams. By devoting our full energy to bringing out the very best in our students and colleagues. And by creating a climate of respect that nurtures and supports their success and active inclusion in all aspects of University life. In doing so, we adopt the AAC&U’s definition of inclusion:
The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
Through our dedication to diversity and inclusion, we commit to empowering our students and colleagues as they learn and contribute to maximize the potential of each and all.