Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Accent Global Learning's Commitment
Diverse life experiences, cultural backgrounds, and identities enhance our community, so we embrace individual differences, and welcome the unique contributions that each student, faculty, and staff member can bring in terms of our ages, education, opinions, cultures, races, ethnicities, religious beliefs, gender identities, sexual orientations, national origins, socioeconomic backgrounds, and abilities/disabilities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Defined
Accent joins our partners as well as the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), NAFSA, and the Forum on Education Abroad in addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as key to the advancement of our field and our societies, and takes as a point of departure, the definitions of these concepts as described by the AAC&U:
- Diversity: Individual differences (e.g. personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g. race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).
- Equity: The creation of opportunities for historically underserved populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.
- Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.
Accent Global Learning's DEI Roadmap
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been at the core of our daily actions and procedures since our foundation, even though it is now when a Roadmap is formally outlined to frame and focus our present and future practices. Our DEI Roadmap rests on three fundamental pillars that are woven into our mission and core values:
- A team effort is crucial in order to strengthen our diverse, inclusive, and equal opportunity environment. DEI Officers per Study Center are appointed on an annual basis at the beginning of the academic year to coordinate all actions related to identity concerns. Upon being appointed, officers are provided a shared email address—email@example.com—to collect all reported concerns, and hold an initial meeting to decide on their preferred organizational structure and the main goals and initiatives for their term. Officers should also meet to discuss any reported concern to provide cohesive and consistent responses across all sites. This cyclical and fluid configuration fosters feelings of inclusion and belonging, and ensures that every staff member has the opportunity to actively participate in the Roadmap during their employment at Accent.
- Awareness – We acknowledge that structural inequalities exist in our societies, so it is our endeavor to critically evaluate and update our own practices, and expose the discriminatory actions within the current system of privileges that prevent equal access to global education.
- Commitment – Our work starts with raising awareness, but continues with a strong commitment towards eliminating barriers and creating accessible learning opportunities for faculty, students, and staff from underrepresented groups by designing affordable, discipline-specific programs, and offering a variety of learning opportunities (e.g. internships, service learning, research, field work, etc.).
- Courage – Discussing and implementing policies on diversity, equity, and inclusion onsite may pose some intercultural challenges, so courage and determination are crucial when initiating critical conversations with local partners from faculty and host families to local universities and third-party collaborators. Our approach is to become allies to advance together instead of imposing measures or judging behaviors.
- Engagement – Interaction and active collaboration among all community members fosters a respectful learning and working environment, so input from the entire Accent community is to be sought and considered when establishing annual goals and initiatives and participation in all events should be open to all community members.
- Nurturing – We value merit, talent, and achievement, so we will work on creating tools and resources for every member of our community—student, faculty, employee, host family, or any third-party collaborator—to feel empowered to succeed and comfortable bringing up their opinions on any matters that would promote access, opportunity, and justice for all.
- Transformation – Our ultimate goal is to create meaningful changes, which require a sustained team effort, the implementation of intentional measures and policies, and a transparent system to keep the community accountable and motivated.
Measurable Goals & Initiatives
- It is our nature to always establish SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound), conduct detailed reviews from different points of view, and constantly evaluate our tools and procedures in every area of our activity from hiring to communication tools, and especially faculty and student support services.
- Thus, we believe that small, but constant and well-defined actions will have a long-term impact on creating more diverse, inclusive, and egalitarian communities at Accent and worldwide, and choose a step-by-step approach that builds on our current strengths and multiple points of view to outline our goals and initiatives and grow as a community.
- Status of all projects will be internally discussed and published on our website in an attempt to be transparent, support global DEI efforts, and track our progress.