Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.74
Liaison Jennifer Lamy
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Emerson College
PA-4: Diversity and Equity Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.44 / 2.00 Sylvia Spears
Vice President for the Social Justice Center
Social Justice Center
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Does the institution have a diversity and equity committee, office, and/or officer tasked to advise on and implement policies, programs, and trainings related to diversity, equity, inclusion and human rights on campus?:

Does the committee, office and/or officer focus on students, employees, or both?:
Both students and employees

A brief description of the diversity and equity committee, office and/or officer, including purview and activities:

The Social Justice Center works to uplift and support individuals and communities.
Our work is centered around four intersecting practice areas: Advocacy and Support, Community and Movement Building, Knowledge (Re)Creation and Sharing, and Access and Equity.
At the heart of our work lies praxis -- the practice of reflection and action - engaging new ideas and posing questions for which we don't have an answer, being comfortable with the discomfort of not knowing, and challenging ourselves to be active learners and agents of change. Our work also requires the ongoing unveiling of a changing reality for the purpose of deeper understanding of the self and the environment in which we live. We hope to inspire others to do their own work, to begin their own practice, and to build a community of committed people who will work side-by-side for social change.

The Social Justice Center includes the following offices: Violence Prevention and Response, Bias Reporting Program, Title IX, Advocacy & Support, Community & Movement Buildings, Knowledge Re(Creation) & Sharing, Access & Equity.


In the fall of 2012, as part of his inaugural address, President Lee Pelton asserted that the College would redouble its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Within days of that address, he announced the launch of a new initiative for Inclusive Excellence at Emerson. Inclusive Excellence is the active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities (AAC&U, 2012). Work in these areas is achieved across campus, both academically and administratively.

Access & Success: Increase access to Emerson College for prospective students, faculty, and staff while also enhancing our support for the academic and professional success of members of our community.

Climate & Human Relations: Develop a more inclusive campus environment, build community, and enhance human relations.

Teaching, Learning, & Scholarship: Innovate in teaching, learning, and scholarship to enhance student intercultural development. Grow scholarly work focusing on diversity and inclusion.

Civic & Global Engagement: Develop local and global relationships and partnerships that address pressing problems and serve the common good.

Recognition & Accountability: Recognize and reward innovative practices toward inclusion and establish measures of accountability for the achievement of goals related to diversity and inclusion.

Infrastructure: Build the infrastructure necessary for the achievement of Inclusive Excellence.

Estimated proportion of students that has participated in cultural competence trainings and activities (All, Most, Some, or None):

Estimated proportion of staff (including administrators) that has participated in cultural competence trainings and activities (All, Most, Some, or None):

Estimated proportion of faculty that has participated in cultural competence trainings and activities (All, Most, Some, or None):

A brief description of the institution’s cultural competence trainings and activities for each of the groups identified above:


The goal of the Emerson College Inclusive Excellence Vision Statement is “to be known as the leading institution for Inclusive Excellence among our peers in the arts and communication.” This page addresses the values and competencies relative to Inclusive Excellence. View the Human Resources page for full Staff Values and Competencies.

Culture and Competency

Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Competence have been identified as a value and performance indicator to continually move us toward the realization of this vision. Culture broadly defines people with similar characteristics or backgrounds who have a shared history that influences their values, beliefs, and behavior. A few examples of culture include ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, religion, or geographic region. While culture provides a broad understanding of a group of people, within each culture there are individual differences between and among people. Competency refers to the combination of knowledge, skills, and behaviors a person needs to be effective in a particular role, situation, or work environment.

Inclusive Excellence

Works to increase effectiveness in all interactions, recognizing that personal perspectives and assumptions can impact interactions with others, consciously or unconsciously. Seeks out and learns from different viewpoints, values, and communication styles as a way to enhance access to Emerson and successes for students, faculty, and staff. Includes a wide range of opinions and suggestions in decision-making and policy-formulation.

Intercultural Competence

Includes learning about the impact of cultural norms and values on individuals and teams, and adapts behavior, as needed. Works effectively with others with diverse backgrounds and communication styles. Avoids stereotypical actions or responses by examining one’s own assumptions and behaviors. Resolves conflicts in ways that are as mutually beneficial as possible for all involved. Seeks out and uses ideas, opinions, and insights from diverse and various sources and individuals in decision-making and policy formulation (as relevant given job responsibilities).

The knowledge, skills, and behaviors that are needed by each staff member to ensure Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Competence are:

Knowledge: An understanding of how:

Personal biases and assumptions may impact interactions with others, consciously or unconsciously, leading to stereotypical actions or responses.
Differences in cultural background (of self and of others), viewpoints, experiences, and communication styles affect decision-making and policy-formulation.
Individual and group values and norms shape an environment.
Dynamics of difference impact interactions at work.
Intercultural competency can be developed and enhanced.
Skills: The ability to:

Increase understanding of self and others in an intercultural context through continual professional development.
Demonstrate flexibility in a changing work environment.
Bridge differences between and among self and others.
Learn new patterns of effective behavior and interactions.
Create an inclusive and welcoming environment.
Behaviors: (putting knowledge and skills into action):

Adapt behavior due to increased intercultural knowledge to create strong and effective working relationships across differences.
Contribute to an inclusive work environment by being welcoming and respectful to others.
Seek out and use ideas, opinions, and insights from diverse and various sources and individuals.
Include a variety of people and perspectives in initiatives or on committees.
Resolve conflicts in ways that take into account the differing perspectives of those involved in creating solutions that are as mutually beneficial as possible.
Work effectively with others of diverse style, ability, or motivation.
Develop and implement policies and practices that broaden access and success at Emerson for individuals who bring a variety of skills and talents influenced by many characteristics including, but not limited to, gender identity, socioeconomic level, education, ability, sexual orientation, or international experience.
Communicate the importance of Inclusive Excellence to others within your department.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.