ALISE Diversity Statement 

  • submitted by Clara M. Chu, Chair, ALISE Diversity Statement Task Force
  • approved by the ALISE Board, September 30, 2012; adopted at the ALISE Business Meeting, January 24, 2013

Preamble

The Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) believes that diversity is central to its mission and values. ALISE is committed to the active recruitment and equitable and full participation of members of all backgrounds, the promotion of diversity and its benefits in library and information science education, research and service by its personal and institutional members, and their full participation in the profession. ALISE’s commitment to diversity is grounded on principles and motivated by benefits that result in the wellness of the organization, and the work of its membership. The strength of the Association is promoted with this statement, which outlines diversity principles (what), benefits (why) and competencies (how).

Diversity Principles

ALISE has an ethical compass that points to equity, inclusion and social responsibility. By definition, diversity “is the difference among us” (Lee, Shari and Chancellor, Renate. January 18, 2011). Diversity refers to the representation of the wide variety of backgrounds (including racial, cultural, linguistic, gender, religious, international, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, differently-abled, age among others) that people possess and is often used to address quantitative requirements/agendas/goals, whereas inclusion refers to what happens to people once they are in an organization, institution or social context.

Recognizing and valuing diversity means recognizing that as LIS educators and students, we are all shaped by numerous and varied factors, making each of us uniquely qualified to contribute to the collective mission of ALISE, the field of library and information science, and our respective institutions in a multicultural, multilingual and globalized society.

ALISE promotes true inclusion which calls for (1) the full representation, participation, value, and empowerment of all kinds of LIS educators and students throughout all levels and aspects of organizational and professional life, and (2) a commitment to challenging all forms of discrimination (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, etc.) through teaching, research and service. Actions that impact both the library and information field and society at-large are essential in addressing equity and social responsibility.

ALISE recognizes that achieving diversity is an evolutionary process that requires our ongoing commitment to strategies of inclusion. It acknowledges that diversity is not about quotas or different standards. Rather, it instills in its members the notion that increasing diversity is critical in decision-making and beneficial across all aspects of professional work. With greater diversity, LIS educators and students can be more creative, effective and agents of social change, bringing more varied perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, talents and interests to bear on a socially responsible library and information field.

Diversity Benefits

Achieving diversity is challenging work requiring change and resources from individuals as well as organizations. The complex work of diversity is not measured by what one has to give up or alter, but by the possibilities of enriching library and information research, teaching and service. The educational benefits are unmistakable as described in the following example of qualitative benefits and outcomes-oriented rationale:

In an opinion by Justice Sandra O'Connor (joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer), the US Supreme Court explicitly adopted Justice Powell's view from Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), finding that "student body diversity is a compelling state interest that can justify the use of race in university admissions."

The Court found that the educational benefits of diversity "are not theoretical but real," and had been substantiated by the University of Michigan and its amice in supporting briefs. Those benefits included "cross-racial understanding" and the breaking down of racial stereotypes. The Supreme Court cited social science research showing that "student body diversity promotes learning outcomes,..better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society, and better prepares them as professionals." It acknowledged that "major American businesses have made clear that the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas, and viewpoints," and that high -ranking former military leaders have asserted that "a highly qualified, racially divers officer corps," is essential to national security. The Court concluded that "[e] effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life of our Nation is essential if the dream of one Nation, indivisible, is to be realized." Jonathan R. Alger, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. (Source: http://oied.ncsu.edu/oied/diversity.php, viewed 12/23/2011)

Benefits - Advances in diversity mean that any action will have implication throughout the Association and beyond. We are all in this together and the Association and its members will experience the many benefits of diversity, including the following (Chu, Clara M. September 19, 2012):

  1. enhances access, attracts and retains a diverse membership/personnel
  2. promotes equity and equal opportunity in the organization that lead to better membership satisfaction
  3. facilitates engagement among diverse people that enhances the educational, organizational and scholarly experiences
  4. promotes personal growth and enriches the organization and community
  5. introduces diverse ideas, perspectives, experiences and expertise that lead to improved, informed, creative and innovative problem solving and decision making
  6. opens up new opportunities and modes of discovery, pedagogy and practice
  7. fosters mutual respect by recognizing and valuing differences and commonalities, resulting in cross-cultural understanding 
  8. creates an environment in which bias and inequities are not tolerated and compels change
  9. prepares professionals and leaders to work in an expanding, competitive global society
  10. makes for a robust and relevant organization in a diverse society

Diversity ABCs

Diversity informs and guides the way we think, act and know as individuals or collectively as communities and organizations. Diversity is being modeled by following these Affective, Behavioral and Cognitive (ABC) characteristics:


THINK (Affective) ACT (Behavioral) KNOW (Cognitive)
  • accept diversity
  • respect difference
  • recognize commonalities
  • question cultural assumptions
  • be open-minded
  • acknowledge culture shapes worldview
  • accept change
  • foster inclusivity
  • Make diversity a priority
  • Invest in diversity
  • Develop cultural awareness of self and others
  • Shift the diversity paradigm from quantity to quality
  • Audit curricula for diversity and apply pedagogy that addresses diverse learning styles
  • Implement mechanisms to recognize and address biases and inequities
  • Measure institutional impact of diversity, e.g., Diversity Return on Investment 
  • Incorporate diversity in the hiring, retention and promotion of faculty and staff
  • Recruit, graduate and place underrepresented students 
  • Exhibit cross-cultural leadership
  • Recognize and adopt diversity in research: using culturally respectful and relevant methods, acknowledging the contributions of participants, especially those from minority and/or developing communities, and creating opportunities for them to speak in their own voice
  • cross-cultural practices and skills
  • Language diversity and its cultural implications
  • Inequities stem from structural differences and power


Last updated 11/19/2013