Diversity Statement Workshop

Things You CAN Address in a Statement

1) Diverse students in the classroom

2) Diversity of teaching materials and methods

3) Personal background helps you interact with students who are diverse

4) How you can add to campus/college/department diversity on an administrative level

5) Diversity of your own writing and research

Things to Consider

1) The diversity statement tells a story: the institution/committee wants to hear about your personal experiences, whether they were a series of challenges or privileges.

2) InsideHigherEd talks about sticking to a commonly accepted form of diversity: "race, gender, social class, and sexual orientation" - oppression recognized broadly.

3) Avoid paralleling a form of one kind of oppression with another. Also, avoid generalizing about types of oppression.

4) Make sure you modify your statement based on the university or lab specifics: where is it located and what are the challenges they face specifically? How can you add to those?


1) If you don't have significant past experience, focus on plans for future, but try to have at least one or two specific connections

2) Any personal experiences, briefly described, as it applies to underrepresented populations and challenges they may encounter

3) This part seems more narrative than others...


1) Mentoring Activities (any kind, especially underrepresented groups) - detail context, objective, and personal effort. Identify if your experience dovetails with the institution’s mission or your professional organization(s) outreach mission.

2) Use specific details: number of people who benefited, specific benefits to those people, duration of mentoring, and specific outcomes (e.g. "this resulted in x publication in y journal")

3) Committee Service - any service that included diversity, equity, environment, and/or inclusion

4) Include position, duration, goals, objectives

5) Research - If you research has had any specific impacts or relates to diversity, what is the connection?

6) Other - recruitment, retention, teaching, community: describe the details of the activity and the context, focus on your role and effort and how they filled a need or gap

Future Plans

1) Research the university and department - what kinds of programs have they already implemented? Talk to people there - what kinds of resources are available? What kinds of resources are missing?

2) You can explain how you will add to current activities or programs, or how you will fill a gap you find necessary.

3) What are your plans if you're filling a gap? Articulate specific goals and plans, but be realistic.

Addressing Challenges

1) Negative experiences can always be phrased in terms of results and overcoming challenges. For example, phrases like "this was a problem" or "this person caused an issue" do not necessarily provide insight into YOUR ability to handle difficult situations. Be positive and truthful:

"Our lab created tension by making students of specific backgrounds feel unwelcome."

"I was able to organize writing groups in order to facilitate the development of social relationships between graduate students from disparate backgrounds. This enhanced our working environment by creating connections and encouraging congeniality between colleagues."

Resources and Works Cited: