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Being the Change: The IFSA Diversity & Inclusion Update

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October 15, 2021

What did we do this summer? Lots of work on diversity and inclusion! It matters to us, just like we know it matters to you and your students. That’s why we’d like to share the significant progress we’ve made with our You Belong Here Initiative, an organization-wide effort that reflects the depth of our commitment to making everyone feel valued and welcome at IFSA.

Shaping the student experience. Striving for inclusive excellence means we’re working hard to make sure all students in every IFSA program feel like they have a place with us. Our latest efforts focus on making this concrete and measurable.

  • Inclusive excellence is now tracked in our Student Learning Outcomes, providing information to inform every aspect of our programs, from classes to excursions to housing.
  •  We can now segment data by demographic groups, so we’ll know for sure if we’re hitting the mark for students of all identities.

More than half of the IFSA team volunteered to help with this important work.

Changing from the inside out. The more every person on the IFSA team feels worthy and at home, the more we can help our students feel the same. That’s why this summer, we zeroed in on changes that promote equity and inclusion for our staff. Here are some highlights:

  • Surveyed staff to see what identities we represent and where we have gaps.
  • Introduced a new floating holiday schedule so staff can celebrate the events that matter to each of us.
  • Adjusted hiring practices, including how we describe jobs and where we post them, to draw a broader pool of candidates (it’s already working).
  • Updated our professional development program and budget.
  • Completed a series of discussions called Dialogues on Difference, focusing on power, privilege, and marginalization in the United States. Next, we’ll continue with a focus on the global locations where we host programs.

We’re not done yet! The many working groups that have made these changes happen are still at it, and we’ll continue to share our progress as it happens.