College and university administrators realize the importance of increasing diversity, promoting equity, and creating an inclusive campus environment — but are they adequately prepared to address these critical issues in a way that will let their campus flourish, not flounder, when difficult matters arise? That’s the question examined and answered by “Mapping Your Strategy: Guideposts for an Inclusive Leadership Approach to Critical Issues in Higher Education,” a whitepaper co-authored by Sheree M. Ohen, chief officer of diversity and inclusion at Clark University, and published by educational technology company EVERFI.
“Institutions of higher education have a deep responsibility to uphold an institutional mission that allows all members of their community to thrive,” the authors write. “The importance of navigating the higher education landscape through an inclusive lens has never been more critical.” The paper’s sections address topics including sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, freedom of expression and community values, racist acts and symbols, and the power of communication.
“Mapping Your Strategy” was co-authored by members of EVERFI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Board, of which Ohen served as chair. The authors concluded that institutional leaders, to ensure they are ready to handle the most difficult concerns, must intentionally integrate diversity and inclusion efforts into all aspects of the campus community, and do so in a way that acknowledges and respects the ever-changing social, cultural, and legal landscape, the whitepaper concludes. It provides insights to help leaders adopt or strengthen a commitment to inclusive excellence, and to embed diversity-related efforts across the campus — from day-to-day operations to leadership priorities and institutional culture.
Sheree Ohen, who joined Clark in 2016, leads the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and is responsible for the advancement and implementation of a strategic vision and initiatives that demonstrate Clark’s commitment to maintaining a welcoming, inclusive environment for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Under her leadership, Clark received a 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the only national award that recognizes colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts on their campuses.