Intentionality, The Pursuit of Diversity and Inclusion

By Victor Hudson, GA
Dr. Margaret Smith, Assistant Professor
Dr. Stacie Wolbert, Associate Provost

In the rural community of Edinboro in northwestern Pennsylvania stands Edinboro University, a 585-acre campus,
which employs over 700 and educates students from every walk of life. It is one of the Pennsylvania State System
of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) 14 schools. The university is comprised of five schools and colleges including the
School of Education, College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Business, The College of Science
and Health Professions and the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Edinboro University (U) identifies four
areas of distinction: Arts and Digital Entertainment Education; Mental and Social Allied Health Services; and
Business, Applied Science and Professional Programming. Offering over 100 baccalaureate degree programs, 16
graduate programs, 13 associate degree programs and ten certificates (Edinboro University Fact Sheet 2016-17)
the university has earned U.S. News ranking as a top-tier university. EU has been touted for excellence and
affordability among public, not-for-profit institutions nationwide with nationally accredited programs in Social
Work, Nursing, Business, Education, Art, Counseling, Animation and Computer Science.  
The university mission statement emphasizes a focus on individual attention to student success, commitment to
diversity, and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the broader community. Within the mission statement,
diversity is constructed as a pillar of achievement and a central priority for the university. EU embraces diversity
and has been recognized three consecutive years for its outstanding efforts and success in the area of diversity and
inclusion by  INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. In 2016,
this award recognized and honored only 83 institutions in the country that demonstrated a lasting commitment to
diversity and inclusion
The HEED application process consists of various critical steps, such as monitoring the programming and events at
a university. EU proudly passed all the requirements in the rigorous application process to finish as one of the best
institutions in the country at celebrating and promoting diversity. Diversity and inclusion do not happen on a
campus without hard work and strategic planning. Even then, dedication from all faculty, staff, and students is
crucial to building a healthy and diverse community. EU exemplifies this commitment through various initiatives
including the PASSHE Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative, President’s Commissions and a Center for
Diversity and Inclusion.
The Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative (FDI) is committed to creating inclusive university communities and
transformative connections among historically underrepresented students and faculty. As a network of scholars
who deliver forward-thinking initiatives that promote inclusive excellence and enhance access and success, the
Institute seeks to advance the state of knowledge and practice around educational engagement and achievement
for historically underserved and underrepresented students.  The FDI at EU is a campus organization, serving
individuals of all backgrounds by providing information and opportunities for the promotion of equity and diversity
on the campus. Its purpose is to create and nurture “academic communities” that will support the growth,
development, and success of all students, staff, and faculty at Edinboro University.   One example of how Edinboro
continues to celebrate diversity is through the Institute’s Fredrick Douglass Teaching Scholar Fellowship program.  
The Douglass Teaching Scholar’s Fellowship is a professional mentorship program for graduate students entering
their final year of doctoral education or terminal degree programs. The Fellowship was created to provide
professional experience in teaching in higher education and to assist in networking for future employment
opportunities, as well as to provide the opportunity to experience a university culture and community. Applicants
from places all over the world are encouraged to apply for this fellowship, but those from a historically
underrepresented group are strongly encouraged to apply to increase the diversity of the workforce in higher
education. 

Another program developed through FDI is The Douglass Debate Society, which began in September of 2015 and
has become an annual event.  EU participates in the System-wide debate competition, which provides
undergraduate students with an opportunity to develop public speaking, critical thinking, and leadership skills.
  Edinboro is also involved in the Douglass Collaborative Undergraduate Researchers Program, providing an
opportunity for students to apply to the Yale Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) in which they
are paired with seasoned researchers to engage in research and prepare for entry into masters level educational
programs. As a member of the Collaborative, Edinboro students participate in the Frederick Douglass Collaborative
conferences and colloquia throughout the school year.  Also, FDI develops working relationships with other
university committees to pursue opportunities that address faculty and staff diversity issues.  
EU’s commitment aims to encompass the entire community; the Office of the President has established three
commissions to aid in supporting inclusivity and diversity on campus. The University Diversity Commission is just
one of many organizations on campus dedicated to advancing diversity. This commission functions as an advisor to
the President and the Director of Social Equity regarding initiatives, procedures, and policies on campus climate
and culture to foster an environment that values diversity, inclusiveness, and multiculturalism. The second
commission is the President’s Commission on the Status of LGBTQIA community. The LGBTQIA Commission is
striving to ensure the improvement of the university’s inclusion of all sexual orientations and gender expressions.
The final commission, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, acknowledges the unique challenges
of women in a university setting and works to create an equitable, just, and supportive campus environment for
female students, faculty, and staff.
The university also has a Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which catalyzes creating a climate that promotes
civility, respect and sensitivity through educational programming, social events, and services that support diversity,
student success and provide leadership opportunities. The Center includes extracurricular, co-curricular and
curricular programs that foster multicultural education and provide venues for social action, service, and
collaboration.
EU continues to demonstrate its commitment to diversity through strategic policies, university committees that
address diversity as well as academic and cultural programs that promote inclusion. As a university, we are proud
of the accomplishment in receiving the HEED award and strive to build upon that foundation, providing high-
quality education in a diverse and inclusive campus community.

Sources: 
1.     Edinboro University Fact Sheet 2016-17. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from
http://www.edinboro.edu/about/fact%20sheet%20one-pager%2012-16.pdf
 
 
2.     Our Mission, Values, and Vision. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from
http://www.edinboro.edu/about/mission/
 
 
3.     Frederick Douglass Quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from
BrainyQuote.com Web site: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/frederickd377775.html
 
 
4.     Frederick Douglass. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from
http://www.edinboro.edu/directory/offices-services/social-equity/university-
commitments/frederick-douglass-institute.html
 
 
5.     Diversity Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from
http://www.edinboro.edu/directory/offices-services/social-equity/university-
commitments/diversity-council.html

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