Inclusive Higher Education in Virginia Tech
Inclusive education aims at promoting respect and equity for all groups of students. While normal education may focus on particular student groups with a single characteristics, e.g. gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, inclusive education covers a wide range of differences and also provide valuable information on their effects on individual learning. In inclusive education, university admits students from various social classes and backgrounds, offering high-quality education to both full- and part-time student with different admission quantifications, life experiences, and even life styles. To meet the needs of all students, inclusive education offers flexible academic and extracurricular options, for example online classes for part-time students and supportive learning environment for intellectual disabled students. However, within inclusive education, the unique features in every individual will not be lost but rather enriched and even sparkling during the learning experience.
In virginia tech, the student-centered inclusive education is well developed. President Sands encourages a more inclusive and diverse VT community during his first State of University address on Sept. 30th. Since then, a series of activities and events have been carries out towards a inclusive campus, including the latest workshops offered by Lee Mun Wah, a famous filmmaker and diversity trainer. VT also takes advantage of social media (e.g. #VTUnfinished) to convey the inclusive concept to whole students, faculty, and staff, encouraging all people to share their valuable thoughts on related topics. Up to now, #VTUnfinished really offers a great platform to start unfinished conversations about difference and identity through a “gathering for sharing.”
In the end, I will share some words from Dr. Pratt, the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity.
We recognize that we cannot meet the mandate of preparing students for service without equipping them with the tools and strategies they will need to work, live, and learn In a diverse and complex world. Today’s world is a world of many ideas, thoughts, perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, philosophies, and beliefs. It is a world of individuals with multiple identities – race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, language, and ability. It is a world where some are privileged to serve and others are in positions to be in need of service, services, assistance, and support. It is a world that needs courageous and compassionate leaders who are committed to Ut Prosim (that I may serve), in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. With InclusiveVT and the Principles of Community as our core values, Virginia Tech is preparing leaders for the world.