Statement from Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann
We will make our campus one where everyone can thrive.
The values of inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity (IDBE) have been fundamental to NYU Abu Dhabi since its inception, reflected in our mission and vision.
All university community members are expected to uphold these values through the active work and ongoing pursuit of education, engagement, self-reflection, and a willingness to advance practices that lead to a more inclusive institution; Vice Chancellor Westermann has outlined her own commitment to IDBE. Provost Arlie Petters, Chief Administrative and Business Office Peter Christensen, and Chief of Staff Jessica Sederquist have developed an Inclusion and Equity Accountability Framework to ensure that these commitments are enacted in a tangible and sustainable manner that contributes to long-lasting cultural change across all university constituencies.
Spearheaded by the Office of Inclusion and Equity, many offices across the university offer programming and resources to support the NYUAD community as we all work together to build an environment in which all are empowered and enabled to belong.
The following definitions are shared across the NYU Global Network and were developed by the Office of Global Inclusion. See a more expansive list of terminology.
NYU Definition: The degree to which diversity is embedded, integrated, and involved.
Inclusion is an active process in which diversity is viewed as an important resource, and where we value ourselves and others because of and not despite our differences (or similarities). In an inclusive system, everyone — across multiple types of differences — should be empowered as a full participant and contributor who feels and is connected to the larger collective without having to give up individual uniqueness, cherished identities, or vital qualities. This is achieved through a combination of individual behaviors and attitudes, group norms, leadership approaches, and organizational policies and practices (Ferdman, 2014; Ferdman, 2017).
A number of committees across the University contribute to IDBE, either as part of their direct purview or through support and dialogue.
The Inclusion, Equity and Action Committee (IEAC) is the action-oriented body that assists and guides the NYUAD administration in implementing commitments and recommendations to achieve a greater state of transparency in discussing race, diversity, belonging and equity on our campus.
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Campus Life is deeply committed to IDBE across the division, and has undertaken a series of initiatives, training, and capacity building exercises for both students and staff that will collectively deepen awareness, empathy, cultural competence, and flexibility.
A key part of this is the Campus Life Inclusion and Belonging Coalition which began in January 2020, and focuses on curriculum-based capacity building, immersive learning and relationship building, and campus climate, among other aspects. Four subcommittees help guide its work:
The Student Government Diversity Committee seeks to create a more inclusive, cohesive, and safe community. It facilitates dialogue on campus climate, advocates for more inclusive campus-wide policies and it promotes mutual understanding and respect among the community members through programming and facilitation of connections between students, student groups, and Administration. Some of the past initiatives include dialogue on issues affecting low-income students and the organization of Solidarity Week.
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The Staff Council engages with staff to understand their needs and concerns, and addresses them with NYUAD leadership. As such, the Council serves as the main channel of communication between staff and the NYUAD leadership.
Staff Council is invested in pursuing a healthy working environment and fulfilling staff experience for all. To this end, the Staff Council structure includes a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer who liaises with relevant stakeholders on behalf of our staff, and has recently established a Working Group on Race and Racism which will focus on the representation of the BIPOC staff experience, and facilitation of programming which will aim to increase awareness, develop allyship, and strengthen our staff community.
The Faculty Council Steering Committee (FCSC) serves as the main channel between NYU Abu Dhabi's leadership and faculty. Diversity and inclusion are core values of our faculty and of our community, and the faculty body is proud to teach and mentor a diverse student body and to deliver an ambitious, global liberal arts curriculum. The FCSC and the wider faculty body aim to be — and to become better — allies to all of our students and are committed to upholding the values of IDBE in and beyond the classroom.
The Cross-Council Committee is an advisory committee to the University leadership comprising representatives from the various constituencies: faculty, staff, students (undergraduate and graduate), postdoctoral associates, and contract staff. The committee leverages its diverse membership to facilitate the flow of pertinent information amongst constituencies and to ensure concerns and recommendations are referred to the appropriate council or university committee. In doing so, the committee seeks to serve as an inclusive platform of the NYUAD community with the aim of highlighting shared challenges and visions based on our core institutional values.
The data points below demonstrate some of NYU Abu Dhabi’s diversity. Measuring our campus population in more properly nuanced ways is a priority of the Vice Chancellor’s as we seek to make our community more diverse and representative of our values. Vice Chancellor Westermann has previously demonstrated the importance of and her commitment to baseline data and measurable progress.
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