Recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in higher education

The desire to learn and grow one’s own understanding of the world and its wonders is an innately human urge. All people should have the chance to attend a supportive and welcoming school. Yet throughout its history, the American school system has failed to provide this opportunity to students from marginalized communities.

Recently, the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in all spaces — including higher education — has been pushed to the forefront of the national consciousness. Institutions and organizations of all kinds have started new D&I initiatives and/or doubled down on existing efforts.

To better understand this critical work and why it is an essential part of a college education, we spoke with Hugo Yepez, director of strategic plan evaluation and assessment, and Dr. Jalin B. Johnson, vice chancellor of equity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and professor. Yepez and Dr. Johnson serve students through their work in the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) at University of Massachusetts Global.

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