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Local Universities Helping to Advance Equity and Inclusion Across Academia

In the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” This sentiment includes academia, which does not have the best history of inclusion.

To acknowledge the mistakes of the past while working toward a more equitable future for all is on the agenda for most colleges and universities these days. Pittsburgh-region institutions of higher education are no exception, with many of them hiring diversity and inclusion officers to help tackle this monumental task.

It is hardly a secret that higher education is a pathway to social mobility in the United States. Over the last 50 years, racial and ethnic disparities in higher education enrollment and attainment have grown throughout the U.S. Locally, colleges and universities are prioritizing not only encouraging diversity in their student populations but are also going the extra mile to ensure that ethnic minorities are successful once they are on board.

At La Roche University, there is a strategy designed to enroll students from diverse religious, ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. In July 2020, the university’s Executive Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Sarah White, was appointed to a cabinet-level position. Additionally, the Office of Accessibility Services joined her department.