To better reflect the scope of its work, the GSAS Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs will now be known as the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, or GSAS EDIB.
“This change signals GSAS’s commitment to ensuring that all students feel welcome here,” said Dr. Sheila Thomas, GSAS dean for academic programs and diversity, “and to working with our many partners across the University in helping our students succeed.”
The decision to change the office’s name arose from a desire to better reflect the team’s mission. “Each word represents a different and important way that the EDIB team engages with students and with the broader Harvard community,” said Thomas.
Equity is defined as the provision of resources, opportunities, and support in accordance with the historical and present need of the diverse students served. The concept is at the core of all the diversity, inclusion, and belonging work the EDIB team does—from student support to partnerships with GSAS staff and faculty, to advocating for resources that enable GSAS students to navigate evolving challenges and leverage new opportunities. EDIB’s equity work includes the dismantling of institutional and structural barriers that stand in the way of students’ success.
Diversity reflects the undeniable abundance of representation in the GSAS community of individuals and groups who have been marginalized, excluded, or under-resourced. This includes a broad spectrum of identities, experiences, and backgrounds, including ability, belief system, citizenship and nationality, educational background, ethnicity, gender, race, sex, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. GSAS promotes diversity across all our campuses through EDIB’s recruitment efforts, outreach initiatives, and pipeline programs.
Inclusion supports, elevates, amplifies, integrates, and celebrates the diverse individuals and groups who make up the GSAS community. EDIB promotes inclusion through support and advising of student affinity groups, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, community building activities, Diversity and Inclusion Fellows, and training and education efforts—and by connecting students with resources to promote their academic success and personal wellbeing.
Belonging represents the way that students feel when they are welcomed in their full authenticity into the GSAS community. This includes representation in leadership at all levels. When students experience belonging as a result of full inclusion, they can thrive in their academic, scholarly, and personal endeavors, living up to their fullest potential. GSAS’s mission of shaping students into visionary scholars, innovative educators, and creative leaders is only possible when all students experience belonging.