Building Stronger Institutions: Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important? 
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6 min read
April 5, 2024

Building Stronger Institutions: Why is Diversity and Inclusion Important? 

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Student Success
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If you’ve been part of any campus-wide conversation recently, you might have heard more about diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus. And it may have left you wondering, “Why is diversity and inclusion important?”

Diversity and inclusion is more than just a trendy topic. It’s a critical aspect of any college campus. Let’s look at why diversity and inclusion is important and go over a few strategies you can use to ensure your diversity and inclusion initiatives are effective.

Why Is Diversity and Inclusion Important?

Diversity and inclusion, commonly referred to as DEI (with the “E” meaning “equity”), is an important consideration for any organization, especially in higher education. DEI initiatives are policies and practices that higher education institutions put into place to ensure students, staff, and faculty are granted equal opportunities, regardless of their background. 

Diversity and inclusion are important for various reasons, including enhancing the learning experience of all students, expanding students’ worldviews, and making a commitment to social justice. In other words, DEI initiatives provide opportunities for students and staff to learn and work alongside people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, creating a positive learning environment.

The Impact and Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Diversity and inclusion affect nearly every aspect of a college campus, from students’ college life to workforce development. 

When DEI initiatives are implemented, the impact is profound. It’s helpful to think of DEI initiatives as interconnected links, all working together for the same goal. For example, when you hire diverse staff and faculty, the diversity will likely attract students from various backgrounds who see themselves in the people tasked with shaping their futures. 

This not only creates a diverse student population but also impacts the learning environment. Students learn how to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, which positively impacts their worldview, prepares them for a global workforce, and fosters a sense of community.

While most colleges and universities strive for diversity and inclusion, it often takes an active effort to ensure DEI initiatives are successful and needs are met. 

Strategies for Ensuring Diversity and Inclusion on Campus 

If you’ve asked, “Why is diversity and inclusion important?” you might also wonder how to implement strategies to ensure diversity and inclusion is front and center on campus. Thankfully, incorporating DEI initiatives into the policies and procedures your campus already has in place is not a difficult task.

Most likely, your campus already places a high focus on recruiting, retaining, and engaging students. To ensure diversity and inclusion, there are a few things your campus recruiters can do to help create a supportive, welcoming campus for all students of various backgrounds and cultures. Here are a few strategies to couple with your DEI initiatives.

Recruitment Strategies

Targeted Outreach

Targeted outreach is a great way to recruit new students to campus. Knowing that only 9.2% of students from lower economic backgrounds enroll in college, creating initiatives to reach these students is an excellent idea. Your campus can provide financial aid workshops, offer scholarships, and provide support services. Plus, using communication technology like Cadence makes it even easier to stay in touch with these prospective students and inform them of your recruitment initiatives.

Focus on Inclusive Marketing 

While it may seem insignificant at first glance, inclusive marketing strategies have a significant impact on students’ decisions to enroll at your campus. Think about it: 55% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 want to see more racial diversity in advertisements. So, showcasing your diverse students, faculty, and staff in your campus’s marketing efforts can help foster connections with prospective students.

Revising Admission Policies and Practices

Whether your campus requires the SAT or has opted to do away with the SAT requirement, there are several initiatives your campus can take to ensure your admission policies and practices focus on diversity and inclusion. DEI initiatives help level the playing field for all students, and when that’s applied to admissions, it sometimes involves providing extra support for students who need help completing required admission documents. Help make your admission counselors available by implementing a chatbot on your website. That way, prospective students can ask for extra support when they need it.

Retention and Student Engagement Strategies

Offer Support Services

No two students are alike; each student comes from a diverse background that can impact their educational needs. To help increase your retention rates, consider offering students a wide range of support services. These support services might include mentorship programs with leaders in various industries, homework or tutoring services, and cultural and resource centers. Not sure which kinds of support services to offer your students? Use Cadence to analyze your student data and gain insight into your students’ needs and concerns.

Promote Student Organizations

Students often have various interests, making student-led organizations a great way for students (and faculty and staff!) to connect with others on campus. Allowing students to explore their other interests that might not be a core part of their chosen curriculum provides an excellent opportunity for students to broaden their learning experiences. You can help students promote their student-led organizations by using Cadence’s SMS texting feature to reach students on and off campus and remind them of planned enrichment activities.

Focus on Students’ Well-being 

It’s no secret that more and more college students encounter a decline in their mental health. For some students, depending on their unique needs, socioeconomic backgrounds, and varying personal situations, their mental health can quickly fall by the wayside, leaving them vulnerable to dropping out of college.

You can help your students stay enrolled and thrive by placing a focus on students’ well-being and offering support. Consider creating support groups or providing workshops, like financial literacy and mental health, to give students a helping hand in their overall well-being. You can use Cadence to quickly and easily check in with students and invite them to your support groups and workshops. 

Keep Diversity and Inclusion a Focus with Cadence

By now, you should have a good understanding of “Why is diversity and inclusion important?” As DEI becomes a larger part of the conversation, take the time to ensure your campus’s enrollment, retention, and student engagement strategies reflect your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Stay committed to your DEI initiatives by choosing to partner with Cadence. Ready to learn more about Cadence? Book a demo with our team today.