Writing an Effective Diversity Statement

The resources below were designed by the University of California system to support efforts to write and analyze diversity statements in a faculty search process. Diversity statements typically do one or more of the following: 1) give examples of a candidate’s past contributions to diversity, 2) demonstrate an understanding of the particular diversity and equity related issues and needs in a candidate’s field, or in higher education more generally, and/or 3) discuss the candidate’s vision for how they might make contributions to diversity in the future.

If a candidate has not yet made substantial past contributions, we recommend focusing on demonstrating an understanding of issues and/or future vision. In terms of the latter, a good first step is to gather information on activities—on campus or beyond— they would like to pursue while at Brandeis, and then to describe how and in what ways they might participate in these. Please reference our Rubric for Evaluating Diversity Statements and Example DEI Interview Questions webpages for additional insights. 

Examples of what might be included

The University of California system has created the following examples of what “contributions to diversity” might mean for applicants preparing diversity statements. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather is intended to illustrate how wide-ranging these contributions might be.
1. Context and broader understanding

Prior to discussing one’s particular contribution to diversity, or future vision, it can be helpful for candidates to provide some context, and ‘state the problem’ these contributions aim to address. Thus we encourage candidates to use the opening of their statement to demonstrate an understanding of the broader issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their own field, and/or in higher education more broadly. This could include, for instance, discussing the particular barriers facing women, under-represented groups, and first generation college students in their field.

Such context can be particularly helpful if the candidate will be describing work with numbers of people from particular demographic groups. Such numbers are most meaningful after establishing the degree to which these groups are underrepresented in a given field, and/or their degree of underrepresentation at particular levels or ranks (graduate student, assistant professor, etc.)

2. Service-related contributions
Candidates might engage in multiple types of service to increase participation in higher education by historically under-represented groups and/or first generation college students. For instance:
3. Teaching-related contributions
Candidates might engage in a range of teaching activities that enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom and on campus. This may include:
4. Research-related contributions
Candidates might conduct theoretical or applied research that addresses questions of equity, diversity, and/or inclusion. This may include:
5. Other contributions: outside experience and competencies

Candidates may have life and educational experience, outside work experience, and/or cultural competencies and communication skills that can contribute to broader diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. For example, a candidate may have or display:

Candidates may have participated as students, postdocs or faculty in academic preparation, trainings, or other programs designed to remove barriers facing women, veterans, people with disabilities, first generation students, etc., and thus have first-hand knowledge of the challenges for groups who are particularly underrepresented in a candidate’s field on in higher education.