Diversity does not come without its challenges, and it is essential to minimize the challenges and derive maximum benefits from intentional planning. The first step is to establish a common language, as it is important in sharing the understanding and concept of diversity and inclusion. As a starting point, we will be using the following terms as identified by Tufts Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Institutional Planning Guide.

Read the Guide Pronoun Primer

Pink flowers in the foreground, brick building in the background


Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).

Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)


The word asks the following questions:

  • Who does not have access to the resources and materials within this space?
  • What conditions have we created to maintain certain groups as the perpetual majority?
  • What are people experiencing on campus that they don't feel safe when isolated from others like themselves?

Source: Language of Appeasement, Inside Higher Ed


The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.

Source: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU)


An active and ongoing process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes in a way that redistributes power, policy, and structures to be more equitable, while drawing attention to the lived experiences of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. 

Source: Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution