Equity with Social Justice: These terms highlight concerns about the relative impact of social institutions and structures on the choices, actions, and opportunities of the persons and groups situated in them; involves concerns about equity and fairness with regard to how persons are treated, the opportunities they enjoy, and their access to resources. Equity with social justice means that the focus is two-fold: aims at both accessibility to resources and services within a society (equity) and the systemic outcomes of that society (social justice). Equity with social justice means that both access and the systemic outcomes are attended to simultaneously. This is an important distinction to make because, for example, a society where greed dominates ultimately make efforts of equitability moot since the overall outcomes employ exploitation. Therefore, both equity and social justice need to be examined together.

Inclusion: A recognition that goes beyond tolerance to inclusion of all histories, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds. Learning and teaching that addresses the norms, values, and practices in our institutions that have systematically advantaged white/men/cis/able bodied people to the exclusion and oppression of all others. Avoids trying to change some students (or faculty or staff) to fit our institution or to reduce tensions. Instead, challenges, critically examines, and seeks to change the institution to be more inclusive.

Diversity: dissimilarities of persons/groups’ characteristics (such as traits, qualities, characteristics, beliefs, values, and mannerisms) that result from differences in backgrounds or group memberships. Key sources of diversity in the US are: ethno-cultural background, racial identity, citizenship, language, religious background, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, and others. Seeks to embrace these differences and recognize their ability to transform society in powerfully positive ways.

Inclusive Pedagogy: aims to ensure equity and social justice in education; of primary importance is the need for equitable learning environments in which all students, regardless of social or cultural identity, are able to participate equally in and have their needs and interests met through the educational process; recognizes the need for critical attention to all aspects of education—curriculum, classroom climate, pedagogy, and context—in order to ensure equitable learning.

Structural Violence: the systematic, and often invisible ways, that our structure harms those disadvantaged in our society. Recognition that race, class, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, among many other categories, make physical, emotional, and health differences in the life experiences of people in our society.

Social Identity: how persons are identified and positioned within society relative to systems of power and privilege, such as those of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, age, ability, class, and others.

Intersectionality: the interconnectedness of the social categories we all have (especially race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity, and ecological identities), on an individual or group level, that create overlapping and interdependent systems of advantage and disadvantage.

Contact Information

Beth Frankel Merenstein
Interim Associate Vice President
Center for Community Engagement and Social Research
Lawrence J. Davidson Hall