Guidance for Candidates in Writing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statements

Welcome to the College of Arts & Letters! To understand more fully the College’s dedication to this diversity, equity, and inclusion work look to the College values, which include equity, openness, and community and our ongoing commitment to practice inclusion as a matter of institutional habit. Combined with this, the Culture of Care initiative works to sustain inclusive practices as part of the core goals across all areas of endeavor in intellectual leadership through sharing knowledge, expanding opportunities, and mentorship and stewardship. This includes in the areas of teaching/curriculum development, research and creative activities, service/outreach, governance, professional development, and administration. Its goal is to support full participation in the activities of the college by a diverse cohort of faculty, staff, and students, where diversity encompasses, but is not limited to: rank or appointment type; area of artistic or scholarly endeavor within the arts and letters; identity and individual characteristics noted in the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy. Through this effort, the College seeks to reach full human potential through the practice of equity and inclusive excellence.

Recently, Michigan State University also completed its Strategic Plan, which includes diversity, equity, and inclusion as one of its guiding principles, as well as releasing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Framework and Plan.

All candidates for positions in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University are asked to submit a 1-page DEI Statement. The requested language is the following:

A 1-page summary of the candidate’s philosophy of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it pertains their intellectual leadership in the areas of teaching/curriculum development, research/creative activities, service, outreach, advising, and/or administration. The statement should also include an explanation of related past or planned activities/endeavors as well as how the candidate will advance our goals of inclusive excellence.

For those who are unfamiliar with the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion, refer to the following definitions as provided for in the MSU Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report and Plan 2021 and referred to in the MSU Strategic Plan 2021.

  • Diversity represents our varied collective and individual identities and differences. We recognize that diversity is a central component of inclusive excellence in research, teaching, service, and outreach and engagement. We are committed to engaging, understanding, promoting and fostering a variety of perspectives. We affirm our similarities and value our differences. We uphold that to truly be excellent, a university must support diversity.
  • Equity goes beyond fair treatment, opportunity and access to information and resources for all, although these are crucial to the success of the university. Rather, equity can only be achieved in an environment built on respect and dignity that acknowledges historic and contemporary injustices. We are committed to intentionally and actively redressing barriers, challenging discrimination and bias, and institutionalizing access and resources that address historical and contemporary social inequalities.
  • Inclusion actively invites all to contribute and participate. In the face of exclusive differential power, we strive to create balance. Every person’s voice is valuable, and no one person is expected to represent an entire community. We are committed to an open environment and campus where student, alumni staff, faculty and community voices are equally respected and contribute to the overall institutional mission.

Below you will find some ideas for areas to address when writing a DEI statement. Note that these ideas are presented as examples only and do not indicate limits on a field where the work being done is as broad and varied as it is deep. Note that statements should focus on professional activities across multiple and intersecting categories of equity and inclusion, rather than be based on observations from personal experience or identity. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the designated search committee chair in the relevant job description.

Teaching/Curriculum Development

  • Incorporating diversity-related scholarship in courses, readings, programs, engaged learning activities to share knowledge and expand opportunities.
  • Incorporating pedagogical techniques that promote inclusion and greater access to learning.
  • Mentorship of underrepresented students or colleagues in areas related to teaching and learning.

Research/Creative Activity

  • Promoting the scholarship, collaborating with underrepresented faculty or students in scholarly and creative projects.
  • Engaging in diversity and inclusion-related subjects in research or creative activity.

Professional Service/Outreach/Advising/Mentoring

  • Self-education, increasing your own awareness, or organizing/leading initiatives that share such knowledge with others.
  • Committee leadership, Unit, University or Professional Service
  • Work in mentoring, advising, or counseling student organizations.


  • Special faculty, student, or staff recruitment initiatives
  • Outreach or pipeline initiatives
  • Work that makes visible and/or addresses structural inequities or barriers.