Frequently Asked Questions

There is so much to learn about Wichita State University's diversity and inclusion initiatives. Some of the more frequently asked questions are answered here. Feel free to contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with any further questions that you think we should consider adding.

What is diversity?

Diversity in its most simple form can be defined as "all the similarities and differences amongst people." In other words, it is a combination of all the characteristics that make us individuals such as age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, status as a veteran and so on. A culture of diversity embodies understanding ourselves and each other, moving beyond tolerance to acceptance and wholly embracing the richness of each individual. The power of diversity is unleashed when we respect and value differences.

I often see the word "inclusion" with the word diversity. What is inclusion?

Inclusion is a state of being valued, respected and supported. It is about focusing on the essential needs of every individual and ensuring suitable settings are in place for each person to achieve their full potential. Inclusion should be reflected in an organization's culture, practices and relationships that are in place to support a diverse workforce.

Why should I be concerned with diversity?

Because you are diverse! If we work with people from different backgrounds, experiences and working styles, we learn and acquire an alternative outlook that may aid us in making a well-rounded decision in our own lives. Diversity on campuses enables learning with people from a variety of experiences that encourages collaboration and fosters innovation, which benefits all.

How important is diversity and inclusion to Wichita State University?

Inclusive excellence - "Be a campus that reflects and promotes — in all community members — the evolving diversity of society." is goal five of the University's Strategic Plan, Forward Together. The strategic plan is a management tool to assist everyone at the university in administration, academic programs, student services, support services and other operational departments to evaluate initiatives and allocate resources to reach the university's goals.

Integrity, transparency, personal responsibility, collaboration, access and equity are core values that have always underlined the culture at Wichita State; however, to accomplish the goals set forth by the strategic plan, the following distinctive values have been identified as integral to its ultimate success.

  • Seizing opportunities
  • Adaptive approaches
  • Positive risk-taking
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Knowledge creation and dynamic educational opportunities

Outside of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's programs and services, the President's Diversity Council is an advisory and leadership team responsible for developing, overseeing and monitoring University-wide efforts to achieve Wichita State University's commitment to diversity as a core institutional and educational value.

Wichita State University has several student organizations, such as Asian Student Conference, Black Student Union, Hispanic American Leadership Organization, Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies, multicultural Greek organizations and affinity groups that provide support and community for a broad range of diverse students.

We have made progress as an institution, but we have much more work to do. Toward that end, we have set ambitious and specific goals related to recruiting students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.

What do I do if I have concerns regarding D & I in my department/organization?

While the preference is for such concerns to be taken to one's supervisor for immediate resolution, we recognize that this option may not always be available. In those circumstances, please feel free to contact our office and we will be more than happy to talk with you to discuss an appropriate course of action. In addition, we offer numerous diversity training programs and workshops to faculty, staff, students and the community who wish to learn more about becoming allies for members of our diverse community.

What is a chief diversity officer (CDO)?

At Wichita State, the chief diversity officer (CDO) provides leadership and vision for initiatives that align with the principles and goals of inclusive excellence at Wichita State. Learn more about our current chief diversity officer.