Inclusion and Diversity Requirement

In April 2018, The Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies (CGS&P) approved a new requirement for graduate students: an inclusion and diversity component. This requirement aligns with the Graduate School's goal of providing all students with an affirming, inclusive, and diverse education program that helps prepare students to face the complex challenges they will meet in their post-graduation careers.

CGS&P Resolution 2017-18A states:

All degree seeking students must participate in inclusion and diversity educational programs as part of their graduate studies. The particular inclusion and diversity educational program for each program, department, or college must be approved by the Graduate School after submission by the unit's Graduate Program Director or its equivalent.

Implementation will begin in Fall 2019 with some departments for incoming graduate students, followed by a continuous process of review and expanded implementation, with full adoption by Spring 2022.  

Process for submission and procedure for implementation

  • Submit plan to the Graduate School for approval
    • Send proposed plans to Dean Karen P. DePauw at kpdepauw@vt.edu
  • Graduate School will review and approve the plan
  • The requirement will be included on students' Plan of Study
    • Student completion of the requirement will be verified by department; requirement must be met for degree completion
  • Plans will be reviewed every three years.

Required topics to be included in the study programs:

  • The University's Principles of Community
    • valuing human diversity and inclusion and creating a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect
  • Impact of personal actions and words
    • Understanding difference, bias, and micro-aggressions
  • Avenues of redress and shared responsibility as active bystanders
    • Recognizing and disrupting academic bullying
  • Process of individual introspection to create inclusive environments
    • Awareness of words and language, especially micro-aggressions

Additional topics that may be included:

  • Inclusion and diversity in a global context
  • Historical perspectives on diversity and its impact on traditions
  • Effective strategies of inter- or intra personal conflict resolution

The requirement may be met through some or all of these activities and/or programs:

  • Orientation sessions
  • Workshops
  • Graduate course (department or college, GRAD 5214)
  • Inclusion within course(s)
  • Seminar series
  • Guest speakers
  • Certificate
  • Employment requirement
  • Or other activity or course that meets the requirements established in the resolution

The Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences has developed an inclusion and diversity plan for its graduate students in response to the CGS&P Resolution. Its program can be used as a model for other programs and departments. 

You can access a copy of the CGS&P resolution via this link.

If you have questions, please contact Dean DePauw or Director of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion, Dr. Shernita Lee (shernita@vt.edu). Dean DePauw and Dr. Lee are happy to meet with departments and provide assistance in developing inclusion and diversity plans. The Graduate School also will hold workshops for Graduate Program Directors.