Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. Building a culture of equity is a commitment.
In an academic setting, this belief enables our students to bring their whole selves to Marshall University, allowing us to better understand and serve our community and society in more meaningful ways. This commitment makes us stronger.
At Marshall, our values and our Creed codify our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The evidence has shown that diverse perspectives and experiences lead to better decisions, stronger teams and improved outcomes. The Human Genome Study revealed that 99.9% of human DNA is identical, yet we tend to focus on the one-tenth of a percent that makes us different. There is power in recognizing our similarities while embracing our differences.
There are five pillars of action that I’ve found to be useful to strengthening a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion:
- Role model what is expected, ensuring a diverse leadership team and pipeline of talent.
- Set goals. If it matters, it should be measured.
- Align incentives, building accountability and commitment into your rewards and recognition system.
- Engage in courageous conversations, seeking first to understand, then to be understood.
- And finally, listen and act.
As Marshall University’s 38th President, I am committed to advancing our institution’s strong tradition of fostering understanding and appreciation of rich diversity, alternative thoughts, varying perspectives, sharing of cultures and encouraging differing points of view. As we endeavor to build a better Marshall University and community, I will strive to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table and that their voices are heard.
My pledge is to continue the inspiring legacy that Marshall University has built, while looking for new ways to advance our culture of diversity, inclusion and equity for generations to come. Our rally cry says it all. WE ARE … MARSHALL!
Brad D. Smith, President