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Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging

Frederick Douglass Square

Our Commitment

As a policy school dedicated to the public good and producing civically engaged and socially responsible leaders, the School is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for its faculty, staff, students and surrounding communities; increasing the availability of effective public leaders of underrepresented communities, and equipping its graduates to promote diversity and inclusion in their own careers. See SPP Diversity Plan.

The School is dedicated to producing civically engaged and socially responsible leaders who will tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems; as such, we are committed to providing quality education that is inclusive of the views, experiences and opinions of all underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, as well as gender, religious and other identities. We do this in several ways:

  • Recruit and retain a diverse and inclusive student body.
  • Ensure course pedagogy and delivery is responsive to the needs of all students and reflective of our commitment to teach students to value diversity and to be informed about the world around them. Students should be able to make responsible decisions and to take action that is inclusive and just.
  • Require all public policy undergraduates to take PLCY 302: Examining Pluralism in Public Policy, which will examine the ways in which the diverse experiences of race, gender, ethnicity, class, orientation, identity and religion impact the understanding of and equitable delivery of public policy.

Dear SPP Community,

Our country continues to mourn the passing of Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon who is leaving behind a legacy of activism and service that will echo for generations to come. As he shared in his last words written: 

“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe…Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”

As a public policy school and as policymakers, we play a critical role in answering his call and working tirelessly to let freedom ring.

In that spirit, we want to share what we have been working on this past month.  In our last message we shared that the DIB Taskforce, along with support from Black Students in Public Policy and community input, were developing actions SPP will take to build a more antiracist school and nation.  

We identified the following nine actions specifically to signify the almost nine minutes that resulted in the horrific murder of George Floyd.  The same nine minutes that catapulted our nation into a long overdue racial reckoning and momentum building, in our streets and institutions across the nation.  

SPP: Nine Actions to Becoming More Antiracist

  1. Hold faculty accountable who compromise the safety and learning of students.

  2. Increase recruitment, promotion and retention efforts directed toward faculty of color, particularly black faculty.

  3. Recruit more students of color; and increase support and resources for current students of color, student affinity groups, especially black students and BSiPP.

  4. Provide ongoing antiracism and inclusion training for faculty, staff, and senior leadership.

  5. Make the Social Identity and Public Policy (PLCY 699D) a required graduate course and develop more course offerings focused on racism/antiracism and social policy.

  6. Create more inclusive classrooms and course content, especially prioritizing more antiracism content into existing courses.

  7. Develop and strengthen relationships with grassroots racial justice organizations; and invite more black policy experts, and experts of color to school sponsored events and classes.

  8. Develop more antiracist public policy research and resources.

  9. Use SPP’s platform to denounce anti-black racism and publicly commit to building a more antiracist school.

We are currently in the process of identifying DIB taskforce members to lead the actions, with the support of SPP senior leadership. We have begun work on several of these actions this summer, and our aim is to continue that work into the fall and spring. We will develop concrete outcomes for each action to be achieved by the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.  As promised we will continue to provide monthly updates, including more details on this initiative, and other DIB efforts more broadly.

I would like to end by thanking the almost 100 people who registered for the SPP Summer Antiracism Discussion Group!  We launched this week and robust discussions were had among students, and faculty and staff.  We look forward to the next one on August 13th. 

Sending lots of positive energy and good health to you and your families through the reminder of the summer. Please stay safe.  


The Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) Taskforce

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Equity Officer

Courses You Might be Interested In

3 Credit(s)

Understanding pluralism and how groups and individuals coexist in society is an essential part of the public policy process. This course will examine the ways in which the diverse experiences of race, gender, ethnicity, class, orientation, identity, and religion impact the understanding of and equitable delivery of public policy. The examination of how identity development shapes our understanding of society and influences the decision-making process is central to students’ shaping policy that is truly for the people. This course will equip students with the skills needed to analyze pluralism and draw conclusions about the application of various theories to public policy issues. Restricted to students in the Rawlings Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program.
Schedule of Classes

3 Credit(s)

Understanding how groups and individuals develop and coexist in society is an essential part of public policy. Using the classroom as a laboratory, students will explore identity development and how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities shape perceptions that inform decision-making and policy development. From historical scholars to current day movement leaders, this course equips students with tools necessary to critically analyze pluralism, power, and identity; and the skills needed to shape meaningful and equitable public policy and working and civic environments for all.
Schedule of Classes