Glossary of Terms

The creation of an inclusive environment begins with collaborative conversations so all members of the campus community not only participate, but share an understanding of the terms most often used in the articulation of goals and strategies. With this in mind, below is a list of definitions that aim to put all Titans “on the same page,” further ensuring the type of collegial discourse necessary to achieve our highest goals.

University of California, Berkeley. Pathway to Excellence: University of California, Berkeley Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 2009.



Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values. Titans Together Website


Inclusion is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. Inclusion integrates diversity and embeds it into the core academic mission and institutional functioning. It is the “active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in (intellectual, social, cultural, and geographical) communities with which individuals might connect — in ways that increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.” (Clayton-Pedersen, O’Neil, and Musil: 2007)

As defined by the 2008 Leadership Development Program Inclusiveness Project Team, [inclusion] is a respectful way of creating value from the differences of all members of our community, in order to leverage talent and foster both individual and organizational excellence. Titans Together Website


Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups. Titans Together Website


Connotes sameness in treatment by asserting fundamental or natural equality for all persons (Espinosa, 2008)

Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is a set of academic and interpersonal skills that allow individuals to increase their understanding, sensitivity, appreciation, and responsiveness to cultural differences and the interactions resulting from them. The particulars of acquiring cultural competency vary among different groups, and they involve an ongoing relational process tending to inclusion and trust-building. Titans Together Website


A special advantage that is granted not earned through a conscious or unconscious preferred status or rank and is exercised for the benefit of the recipient to the exclusion or detriment of others. (Black and Stone, 2011)


Everyday verbal, nonverbal and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based sonly on their marginalized group membership (Sue, 2010).


Groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, such has skin tone, eye color, hair color, etc. These biological traits are inherited and not learned.

Racialized Individuals/Groups

Because the concept of race is (1) socially constructed and has interactional consequences; (2) it is time and space contingent; (3) these contingent constructs are attributed/attached with status and means, many sociologist believe that it is more precise to refer to “racialized individuals.”  (York University, 2006)


Shared cultural practices, perspectives, and distinctions that set apart one group of people from another. That is, ethnicity is a shared cultural heritage. The most common characteristics distinguishing various ethnic groups are ancestry, a sense of history, language, religion, and forms of dress. Ethnic differences are not inherited; they are learned.

Historically Underrepresented

“Historically underrepresented” is a limited term that refers to groups who have been denied access and/or suffered past institutional discrimination in the United States and, according to the Census and other federal measuring tools, includes African Americans, Pacific Islanders, Southeast Asians, Hispanics or Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans. This is revealed by an imbalance in the representation of different groups in common pursuits such as education, jobs, housing, etc., resulting in marginalization for some groups and individuals and not for others, relative to the number of individuals who are members of the population involved.

Other groups in the United States have been marginalized and are currently underrepresented. These groups may include but are not limited to other ethnicities, adult learners, veterans, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, different religious groups, and different economic backgrounds. Titans Together Website


Groups that exist in the lower or outer limits of social desirability and consciousness in our social, cultural, political and economic systems (Sue, 2010).


The act of imposing on another or others an object, label, role, experience, or set of living conditions that is unwanted, needlessly painful, and detracts from physical and psychological well-being (Black and Stone, 2011).

Social Justice

Social justice is defined as full participation in society and the balancing of benefits and burdens by all citizens, resulting in equitable living and a just ordering of society.

Attributes of social justice include: (1) fairness; (2) equity in the distribution of power, resources, and processes that affect the sufficiency of the social determinants of health; (3) just institutions, systems, structures, policies, and processes; (4) equity in human development, rights, and sustainability; and (5) sufficiency of well‐being.

Consequences of social justice are peace, liberty, equity, the just ordering of society, sufficiency of social determinants of health, and health, safety and security for all of society’s members. (Buettner-Schmidt and Lobo, 2014)


Our view of the world is supplied by our experiences and portions of experiences. Pluralism is an openness to possibilities and an embracing of diversity of thought. Pluralism not only values experiences, but the diversity of experiences from each person. Pluralism is the view that the world consists of independent things. Each thing relates to other things, but the relations depend on where you start. (Novakowski, 2018)