Welcome to the School of Social Work’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI)!

In alignment with the overarching missions and goals of the School of Social Work, the ODEI is charged with providing strategic leadership, supporting the DEI efforts of units across the School of Social Work, DEI programming and initiative, and promoting accountability.

DEI Statement and Guiding Principles:

Social Work holds a longstanding value of upholding and working toward social justice for all peoples. We are a welcoming community working for social justice on campus and in the world. We must examine racism and other forms of oppression beyond the actions of individuals, for it is embedded in the very fabric of our society.

We acknowledge that racism and many forms of oppression exists. As we move towards being an anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization, we vow to purposefully identify, discuss, and challenge issues of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms oppression and interrogate how the impact(s) they have on our organization, its systems,

and its people. We will also challenge ourselves to understand and correct any inequities we may discover and gain a better understanding of ourselves during this purposeful process.

We are resolved to explicitly and publicly affirm our transformation into an anti-racist and anti-oppressive academic department.

We are resolved that our commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression be reflected in the life and culture of the department through our policies, programs, and practices as we continue to learn about racism.

We resolve to develop and work to implement strategies that dismantle racism and oppression within all aspects of our department, college, university, and society.


Strategic Leadership

ODEI provides strategic leadership and expertise and supports the efforts of units across the school to achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. .

DEI Programs and Initiatives

ODEI collaborates with units across the school to develop student, faculty and staff programs and initiatives focused on social justice, anti-racism, anti-discrimination, racial healing, and culturally humble conduct.

DEI Training and Consultation

ODEI provides training and consultation to units across SSW on diversity, equity and inclusion related matters.

Accountability, Data and Assessment

ODEI collects and analyzes data to ensure accountability on strategic priorities as well as to evaluate DEI trends and needs

Defining J.E.D.I. & Other Key Definitions:

At the School of Social Work, we believe that Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion IS Social Work!

J.E.D.I. stands for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

Key DEI Definitions

Justice: Dismantling barriers to resources and opportunities in society so that all individuals & communities can live a full & dignified life. These barriers are essentially the “isms” in society: racism, classism, sexism, etc. It is also the systematic fair treatment of people of all backgrounds that results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone. Justice is fundamentally fairness, and that looks different for everyone because they come with different intersections and identities, challenges, and privileges.

Equity: While equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities, equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. Equity is about acknowledging and addressing historical and situational barriers that have created an unfair playing field and removing them.

“The route to achieving equity will not be accomplished through treating everyone equally. It will be achieved by treating everyone justly according to their circumstances.”—Paula Dressel, Race Matters Institute

Diversity: Includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, it also includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also includes diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives, and values.

Inclusion: 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. It’s important to note that a diverse group isn’t always inclusive. We cannot assume that simply because we feel all are welcome that everyone feels welcomed.

In sum, Diversity refers to representation; Inclusion refers to behaviors; Equity relates to systems; and Justice relates to results.

Other Key Definitions

Access: Eliminating barriers to ensure that every individual has equal and equitable opportunities to engage and thrive.

Affirming: Validating and celebrating individuals’ beliefs, cultures, and identities and how they choose to express their authentic selves.

Anti-Blackness: the beliefs, attitudes, actions, practices, and behaviors of individuals and institutions that devalue, minimize, and marginalize the full participation of Black people —visibly (or perceived to be) of African descent. It is the systematic denial of Black humanity and dignity, which makes Black people effectively ineligible for full citizenship. The Anti-Blackness paradigm positions Blackness as inherently problematic, rather than recognizing the long, rich, and diverse history of Black people throughout the African diaspora and acknowledging that Black communities across the United States (and the world) have been severely disadvantaged as a result of historical and contemporary systemic racism.

Anti-Racism: The work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life.

Belonging: Belonging is the quality or state of being connected as an essential part of one’s community and culture and having a meaningful role. Belonging is an experience of feeling accepted, safe, and supported to show up as their authentic self.

Community: A group of people typically with common goals, attitudes, and interests actively engaged in working and existing together. Community recognizes the varying ways that people are interrelated to each other and must collaborate to achieve shared goals.

Healing: The process of recuperating and restoring from the effects of systems of oppression. Healing includes unlearning internalized oppression, prejudices, and biases, and constructing a new sense of self, beliefs, and behaviors. Healing can occur on the individual and community level.

Humanity: Having compassion and empathy for the complexity of the human experience. Regardless of race, sex, gender, religion, and other aspects of identity, every person deserves dignity and respect.

Liberation: The ultimate outcome of justice and anti-oppression work that leads to greater equity in the distribution of resources and power, greater freedom for individual choices, and the ability to define new structures and systems that build a new world. True liberation will only occur once all oppressed groups are free because liberation is collective.

“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lilla Watson, Indigenous Australian activist, and scholar

Sources: The follow definitions were formulated from multiple sources, including the National Education Association, Racial Equity Tools Glossary, and

DEI Report Forms:

The School's DEI Support Form is for members of the SSW community to use whenever a DEI Concern arises. DEI concerns are incidents related to equity, inclusion, and belonging that occur in and outside of the classroom, work units, and field placements. These may involve students, faculty, and staff. This is not a form to report discrimination. If you believe that you have experienced discrimination, please contact the University's Office of Accountability and Compliance.

Upcoming Events

10:00 AM | TBA Save the date and join us for food, fun, and community-building. 
10:00 AM Join the School of Social Work community as we break ground on our new building.



  • See Our Collection of J.E.D.I. Is Social Work Posters

    View and download custom posters used at the SSW that speak on our JEDI is Social Work Initiative.

    JEDI Posters

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