Inclusion

Virginia Tech has developed an initiative called InclusiveVT which now serves an umbrella for inclusion and diversity efforts.  VT President Timothy Sands has publicly stated that inclusion is the goal and with inclusion will come diversity.  For more information, see the InclusiveVT website and blog.

Most of us would say that we understand and would be able to define inclusion. And we would commonly define inclusion as the “action of including or being included within a group or structure”.  Although accurate, inclusion is and has to be more.

From my perspective, inclusion thus is not simply about including individuals of diverse backgrounds into existing groups or structures (society).  It has to be about changing the culture of the group or structure (institution) as well so that individuals could be and are included.   Without such change, individuals might be “present” in the structure but might and often do feel excluded.  With cultural change, the modified structure would then be more inclusive and less representative of the status quo. Institutions of higher education have been very slow to change but they must.  To do less is to fall short of the transformational change toward inclusivity needed in higher education.

1 thought on “Inclusion

  1. Hallo Karen, I fully agree with your view on inclusion: it is indeed not a particular technical subject but a general change in thinking and acting. Employed by the State of Baden-Württemberg in Germany and acting as a schools inspector (yes, I`ve come along way from being an undergrad student of adapted PE at Cal State LA in 1978/79 – where we met for the first time – for special education schools and responsible for inclusion in all schools of the school district, we struggle very hard to find adequate means, methods and ways to change peoples`minds and attitudes. After having dug a little deeper into your papers on InclusiveTV, I want to look at your action plan to find some cues for the development in our school district.
    I`m full of joy to have found you on the go and fully focussed on change and improvement – like in the months back then.
    Thomas Buttendorf

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