Diversity and Inclusion Committee Mission Statement
In concert with Sam Houston State University’s (SHSU) mission to foster educational excellence and community engagement, as well as with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ (CHSS) mission to foster understanding among human beings in their diversity, the CHSS Diversity and Inclusion Committee is dedicated to facilitating the recruitment, retention, and support of diverse students, faculty, and staff, as well as to broader action towards increasing diversity across our university community. The committee seeks to promote understanding and facilitate dialogue and scholarship intended to inform its constituents about the diversity characterizing members of our campus community and beyond, thereby combating racism, sexism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of prejudice and discrimination.
We acknowledge that locally, nationally, and internationally recognized scholarship and teaching thrives when all the members of the institution and community feel welcomed, engaged, and represented. The committee thus seeks to support cultural and institutional programming and initiatives facilitating empathy across lines of difference to encourage collaboration and professional relationships at all levels.
There are four areas upon which the committee’s mission is based:
The committee seeks to involve the student body in robust dialogue about the importance of diversity to our campus community and how this diversity relates to our worldview and society. It recognizes the importance of exposing students to critical language, which will help them recognize and combat discrimination and prejudice in all forms. To this end, the committee will organize and promote programming and initiatives at the college and university level, which offer spaces for students, faculty, and staff to learn from one another.
The committee recognizes that robust recruitment and retention programming is necessary to ensure a maximally diverse student population and to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds are fully supported by the institution. To this end and as part of a community-engaged university, the committee recognizes its ethical obligation to local-area students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds in elementary, intermediate, and high schools. Students at these levels often face significant educational challenges that SHSU and CHSS are well poised to meet. The committee calls for broad involvement in local schools to create new programming and assist with the implementation of existing programming related to the areas of college access and college readiness, multicultural education, and related social justice initiatives.
The committee recognizes that faculty teaching, research, and service can only thrive in an environment that welcomes and nurtures diversity of opinion and ways of being. A plurality of intellectual backgrounds, viewpoints, and ways of being will enrich all faculty activities, while promoting civil exchange as well as community members’ ability to encounter the difference in others.
Faculty, like students and staff, are at the core of university operations and centrally influence curricular and operative decisions. The committee calls for the consideration of diversity broadly in all official decisions taken at department, college, and university levels, in order to foster mutual understanding and create a better learning, research, and work community. Inter-college collaboration belongs to this commitment to foster community engagement and the committee calls for increased partnerships with diversity initiatives and programming across the university.
The committee recognizes the need to recruit and retain faculty from diverse backgrounds and seeks to foster robust policy awareness about existing diversity hiring initiatives and capabilities and the need to establish new ones.
The professional staff coordinating college, department, and program operations are at the center of institutional life. Staff interact with administrators, faculty, students, and visitors. In this light, it is integral that staff represent and address the needs of an increasingly diverse university community.
The committee recognizes the need to recruit and retain staff from diverse backgrounds. It seeks to integrate staff in vital diversity dialogues fostered through committee or broader university programs that encourage understanding and respect among past, current, and future university community members.
The committee calls on faculty, staff, and students to sponsor, promote, and participate in community programs that foster understanding and respect for diverse ways of being. Where possible, faculty, staff, and students should harness the vast resources of the university to lead community events and interactions that encourage diversity and inclusion in the community. In addition, faculty, staff, and students should support ongoing diversity and inclusion-related efforts within Huntsville, Walker County, and Texas. In order to achieve these goals, the committee will promote the formalization of partnerships with community organizations that center around diversity and inclusion.