Diversity in action requires love but it must be love in action – the type of love that is fierce and tenacious. The type of love that performs like an atlas during times of crisis and peril. A love that shelters during a storm. A love that nurtures and cultivates without imposing.
For the past few years, I've been thinking about love as a pedagogy. That's especially important in institutions such as CMU where we're inspired to learn, share, and grow. And that growth mustn't be limited to the classroom -- there are countless opportunities for growth around us at every moment if we only choose to embrace them.
I realize actualizing love as a pedagogy may be idealistic, but it's the optimist and academic in me that believes love can be a catalyst for achieving inclusive excellence. In recognizing that we are always learning and seeking new ways to share information, I understand we can create a community where everyone feels they belong.
Still, I am reminded that even at our best, we can always reach higher. Diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and belonging aren't destinations. They are ideals we must constantly strive toward. This work is a commitment we make to ourselves and each other, and one we reaffirm every day through our actions to ensure we have cultivated an inclusive learning environment. We accomplish this vision by offering love and support, by sharing ourselves and our experiences, and by building communities that truly embrace diversity.
I thank you in advance for joining us in realizing our vision for inclusion and belonging at Central Michigan University. Please feel encouraged to utilize the ample resources and services available within the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as we pursue our goals together.
Shawna Patterson-Stephens, Ph.D.