UNE signs CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion coalition pledge
The University of New England has joined the growing CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion coalition, pledging to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In signing the pledge, UNE President James D. Herbert has made UNE the first institution of higher education in Maine to take part in the initiative.
The largest national initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace, CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion was founded in 2017 on a shared belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a societal issue, and that collaboration and bold action from the business community, especially CEOs, is vital to driving change at scale.
As a signatory of the pledge, UNE joins 2,400 businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations in vowing to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds are welcomed and respected and where employees feel encouraged to discuss issues related to diversity and inclusion.
President Herbert remarked that the pledge directly reflects UNE’s mission of supporting an inclusive, welcoming environment for all people, supported by a commitment to freedom of expression and open inquiry.
“This pledge further solidifies UNE’s commitment to being a place where people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints are represented and supported across our campuses,” Herbert stated. “It also serves as a reminder that UNE is committed to fostering a diverse marketplace of ideas, where knowledge is built upon open expression and sometimes difficult conversations among people from different backgrounds and perspectives. These principles are crucial to building innovative, effective solutions in a troubled world.”
The pledge aims to accelerate progress on pressing societal issues by cultivating environments that support open dialogue on complex, and often difficult, conversations around DEI; implementing and expanding bias education and training; sharing best-known DEI programs and initiatives, as well as those that have been unsuccessful; and engaging boards of directors when developing and evaluating DEI strategies.
Many of the pledge’s goals are already outlined in UNE’s “Our World, Our Future” Strategic Plan. UNE’s Assistant Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Shannon Zlotkowski, M.S., remarked that UNE’s signing of the pledge reflects a shared commitment among other colleges, universities, and businesses to more transparent discussions around DEI and to drive effective change.
“In addition to making UNE's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion more widely known, joining the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion campaign connects UNE with a large network of other educational institutions and companies who are transparent about their DEI work and willing to share resources and best practices to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Zlotkowski said.