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Liberal Studies DEI Requirement

The Liberal Studies Committee is working with the campus community towards development and implementation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Liberal Studies Requirement. It is anticipated that this requirement would go into effect for first-time, full-time Freshmen beginning Fall 2023.

WCU is committed to creating a campus reflective of our core values. We offer curricular and co-curricular educational programs designed to prepare our students for the diverse world in which they live. As part of WCU’s commitment to Inclusive Excellence and in response to calls from students and the Faculty Senate to embed Inclusive Excellence into the required curriculum, the Liberal Studies (LS) Program proposes adoption of new “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI),” requirement, similar to the ULP requirement, within the Liberal Studies curriculum. The DEI requirement will ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational aspects of the university’s educational offerings. A course must teach to one of the following conceptualizations to qualify as a DEI designated course:

  • Diversity acknowledges, accepts, and celebrates the inevitably wide variety of shared and different personal and group characteristics that include, but are not limited to age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nationality, cultural norms, religions, belief systems, ideologies, socio-economic status, education, marital status, language and linguistic differences, physical appearance and abilities, and the values contained in these identity-forming characteristics of individuals.
  • Equity is defined as fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people through identification and elimination of social, institutional, and/or individual barriers that disadvantage some groups while advantaging others.
  • Inclusion acknowledges, accepts, and celebrates intentional efforts to create environments where all individuals feel welcome, supported, respected, and able to participate fully.

WCU acknowledges the history of passive and intentional discrimination, including within higher education and is committed to developing a richer understanding of diversity and equity in the pursuit of justice and inclusion for all.

No one DEI-designated course will be expected to address all areas of inclusive excellence, and each instructor will be free to determine the best means by which the selected outcome is taught. Instructors will also be expected to document the ways in which learning outcomes in the selected learning outcome will be assessed. This designation will not add any additional hours to a student’s liberal studies degree requirements but will ensure that all WCU students have taken at least one liberal studies course with a focus on diversity, equity, or inclusion.

The designation of a DEI Liberal Studies requirement provides a visible marker for the student on WCU’s stance on the importance of inclusive excellence. By naming it as such on student degree audits in addition to listing it among Liberal Studies SLOs or even “P6” etc. labels, we are encouraging students to recognize the important role that understanding and embracing DEI has on their education, on their participation as a democratically-engaged citizen and in their future careers.

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