UIC: Guiding Values for Diversity with a Focus on Identity

In the UIC Diversity Strategic Thinking document, diversity was defined as “the totality of the ways that people are similar and different — including by race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and identity, disability, national origin and citizenship status, age, language, culture, religion, and economic status, particularly when those similarities and differences are used as a basis for unfair advantage and inequity.” In moving beyond demographic measures of inclusion, we focus on the word “identity” as embodying a central, organizing principle. While personal and collective identities reside at the intersection of demographic and other attributes, the concept of identity certainly transcends those attributes and the categories to which they belong. Indeed, the self-made choice of identifying attributes is a fundamental part of the identity being expressed by an individual or group. Because harmony or disagreement can hinge on respect for or challenges to identity, it behooves our institution to continually monitor the demographic and other categories used to assess diversity and inclusion in relation to the voices of identity expressed by our members and stakeholders. This is part of the ongoing process of inclusion and engagement that the COE Diversity Strategic Plan aims to achieve.

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