NCAN’s DEI Vision, Principles, and Work Plan
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Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are fundamental elements of NCAN’s mission to advance equity in postsecondary access and attainment. We take an active role in dismantling unjust policies and practices that are excluding students due to their race, ethnicity, wealth and income, geography, social capital, or other identities.

We define diversity, inclusion, and equity as follows:

Diversity is the representation of multiple identities, cultures, and life experiences within a group. Achieving diversity requires examining and questioning the makeup of a group to ensure that multiple perspectives are represented.

Adapted from Ferdman, B. M. (2014). The practice of inclusion in diverse organizations: Toward a systemic and inclusive framework. In B. M. Ferdman & B. R. Deane (Eds.), Diversity at work: The practice of inclusion (pp. 3-54). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Inclusion is the intentional process of creating a safe and supportive environment that encourages the authentic engagement of each individual and where the richness of ideas, backgrounds, and perspectives is harnessed to create value.

Adapted from Padamsee, X., Crowe, B., et al. (2017). Unrealized Impact: The Case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Equity is the process of interrogating systems of power and removing the predictability of success or failure that correlates with any social or cultural characteristic to ensure equally high outcomes for all.

Adapted from Padamsee, X., Crowe, B., et al. (2017). Unrealized Impact: The Case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

DEI Vision

When we have fully embraced and integrated DEI as fundamental to our work, NCAN will fulfill these conditions.

  1. NCAN staff and members are aware of and value the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. NCAN has a culture that promotes, embraces, and supports systems, structures, policies, practices, and internal processes that reflect the core principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. NCAN is intentional in creating an inclusive environment that cultivates respect, authenticity, a sense of safety, encouragement to voice one’s views and needs, and recognition of and value for diversity (cultures and personal values).
  4. NCAN is a model agency for DEI. We encourage, inspire, support, and engage with our members and constituents to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into their work.
  5. NCAN staff are empowered and committed to actively engage in closing equity gaps in postsecondary education and to dismantle barriers to social justice, to racial/ethnic and socioeconomic equity, and to inclusion.
  6. NCAN staff engage in ongoing efforts to advance DEI by challenging and supporting one another.


DEI Principles

In undertaking an organizational exploration of DEI, NCAN staff discussed and developed these guiding assumptions and principles.

  1. Diversity benefits the work of NCAN. The diverse experiences, voices, ideas, and skill sets that staff and members bring to their work help NCAN to better serve students.
  2. Diversity is about everyone’s differences and is not always visible. We are different in many ways, and each of us has multiple identities. It is important to acknowledge and address intersectionality and multiplicity.
  3. Conversations and work on diversity, equity, and inclusion may be complicated. Engaging in DEI work requires courage, openness, listening skills, patience, honesty, inquiry, acknowledging bias (whether unconscious or not), and challenging assumptions.
  4. The rationale behind DEI work should be communicated so that everyone can see it as a key asset to NCAN.
  5. It is crucial to develop individual and collective understanding of DEI and their importance as it relates to NCAN’s mission.
  6. DEI is a collective and ongoing process; however, it is also important to acknowledge individuals’ experience with DEI and efforts in advancing DEI work.
  7. NCAN values, prioritizes, and strives to model DEI, and provides tools to support staff and members to advance their own DEI work.
  8. Inclusion is about everyone; it means creating an environment where diversity and interpersonal relationships are valued and where people can be their authentic self.


DEI Work Plan

To inform and inspire our members and stakeholders, NCAN is pleased to share the first draft of our DEI work plan developed by staff during 2020. A staff DEI committee guides the plan’s implementation with all NCAN staff members taking on specific responsibilities related to their roles and experiences.

We will post periodic updates and revisions and welcome questions and feedback from our members and partners.

đź“‹ Download NCAN's DEI work plan.