Diversity Statements

Diversity statements are a relatively new genre, but they’re increasingly being requested or required for those seeking jobs in academia. While job ads might provide a variety of prompts for the diversity statement, the overall purpose of this text is to show that you are committed to contributing to the institution’s goals surrounding diversity and inclusion.

When writing your diversity statement, you may think about how you might contribute to a university’s goals surrounding diversity and inclusion through your research, teaching, and service. You might also address how you have met and will continue to meet the needs of diverse populations on campus, including staff and students.

Preparing to Write Your Diversity Statement:

Remember to carefully read the job ad and look at that university’s website for resources on diversity and inclusion, (e.g. do they have a specific office or administrative body related to diversity and inclusion?). These might provide good jumping off points and some vocabulary you can use.

A few topics you might write about include race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, immigration status, national origin, and how these connect to your teaching, research, mentorship, administrative work, and other professional positions.

Visit Developing and Writing a Diversity Statement from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching. This page includes more information about the genre, sample diversity statement prompts, deciding whether to self-disclose, and writing prompts to help you get started. Inside Higher Ed also has an article titled The Effective Diversity Statement, which provides additional writing tips that you might find useful.

Writing Your Diversity Statement:

  • Think of the diversity statement as a professional development opportunity. Use it as an opportunity to learn about the topics listed above and to think about how you have engaged with them in the past and how you might do so in the future in a way that will positively impact the students and others within the institution you’re applying to.
  • Play around with organization and content.
  • Include specific examples.
  • Demonstrate how you will make a positive impact as a faculty member.

Revising Your Diversity Statement:

  • Share your drafts with the Writers Workshop, the Grad College’s Career Development Office, your mentors, and colleagues.
  • Be prepared to write multiple drafts and to revise based on feedback you receive.
  • Return to the prompt to make sure you’re answering it fully.

Related Links:

Some of the content on this page is adapted slightly from materials from the UIUC Graduate College’s Career Development Office.