Mission, Vision, & Values


We increase access to higher education by advocating for members of our community and emphasizing the importance of diversity in promoting learning and development at the University of Minnesota. Our commitment to equity and diversity is the shared responsibility of students, staff, and faculty, and must be supported and guided by all levels of leadership.


We envision a University where:

  1. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are recognized as core institutional values that drive decision-making, resource allocation, and the development of all policies and practices.
  2. Diverse students, staff, and faculty are recruited, retained, and supported.
  3. Collaborative internal and external partnerships support the emerging needs of students, staff, faculty, and the communities in which we live and work.


Our commitment to social justice drives and grounds our work so that everything we do continuously fosters excellence through shared responsibility for:

  1. Access and Inclusion: continuously preparing, inviting, and welcoming people to an environment where all have the opportunity to thrive at the University and beyond.
  2. Community: creating equitable and collaborative partnerships to better work together within and outside the University towards shared goals.
  3. Education and Learning: actively and intentionally using models and practices that incorporate content that reflects diverse ways of knowing, being and experiencing the world.
  4. Sustainable Transformation: engaging in continuous individual and institutional reflection and collaboration to build capacity and integrate what we learn into our culture and infrastructure.
  5. Accountability: evaluating and assessing progress towards realization of the University’s vision for equity and diversity.

Strategic Priorities

The Office for Equity and Diversity's work advances three strategic priorities:

1. Increase Representational Diversity
We provide resources, education, and equitable processes to support the recruitment and retention of diverse students, staff, and faculty.

What we mean by diversity:
We employ an expanded definition of diversity, recognizing the importance of ensuring that all members of our community have equitable access to the University and its resources. We center underrepresented populations who face systemic barriers that impact their experiences on campus. Our goal is to reduce or remove barriers for all members of our community.

It is our responsibility as an institution—as part of our commitment to creating a welcoming and affirming climate—to serve and support the following individuals and groups at the University of Minnesota:

  • American Indians and other indigenous populations
  • People of color, including underrepresented groups and new immigrant populations
  • People with both apparent and non-apparent disabilities
  • People who identify as women
  • People of various gender and sexual identities and expressions
  • First-generation students

We also address issues of access and climate for individuals who might encounter barriers based on their religious expression, age, national origin, ethnicity, or veteran status. Furthermore, we recognize the importance of working with people who claim more than one of the above identities.

 2. Improve Campus Climate
We create programs, opportunities for engagement, and capacity-building initiatives that contribute to a welcoming campus environment.

What we mean by campus climate:
Campus climate typically refers to the experiences of individuals and groups on campus and the quality and extent of the interactions between those groups and individuals. Two interrelated factors contribute to a welcoming climate: a sense of belonging and a sense of autonomy. A sense of belonging stems from having spaces and groups of people where one feels respected, liked, and able to contribute. A sense of autonomy comes from feeling a sense of belonging without compromising core aspects of one’s identities and experiences. [1]

3. Build, Support, and Align Partnerships
We work with University and community partners to identify, implement, and sustain efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the University system.

By working together, we can better leverage strengths and capabilities across our large, complex system and in our communities. Partnerships allow us to operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and lead to sustainable efforts that improve outcomes for students, staff, faculty, and community members.

[1] See, e.g., Arthur Chickering’s Seven Vectors of College Student Development (Chickering 1969, Chickering & Reisser 1993) and Martela & Rieki, Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness and Beneficence: A multicultural comparison of the four pathways to meaningful work. Published online 2018 Jul 10. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01157


More Info & Resources

Reimagining Equity and Diversity: A Framework for Transforming the University of Minnesota

This nationally recognized diversity, equity, and inclusion framework, created in 2007, informs and anchors much of our office’s work today. In 2014, after seeking systemwide community feedback on the framework, we identified and refined three strategic priorities that now guide the work of our units and initiatives.