Leaders in Kinesiology must understand that the greater challenge in the recruitment and retention of minority faculty relates to the internal culture of the environment. An intentional effort toward a culture of inclusion and full participation provides a working platform to transform existing practices and to cultivate policies from which emerging practices will offer opportunities for success.
Specifically, an inclusive climate requires inclusive leadership; respect for the multiple identities of the full community; an understanding of the value of the collective demographics; and a willingness and commitment to engaging in the educational process of learning about self, others, and the system in which the community exist. It is essential to gain a broader perspective by which to understand the campus environment; learn how to use the institutional mission to expand the agenda; identify personal learning edges and how to use them as guideposts; and gain a greater understanding about multicultural alliance building. The inclusive leader understands that strong, responsive organizations encourage the anticipation of everyone in that community by recognizing the value of multiple perspectives, successfully tapping into the skills and talents present, and striving to create socially just environments.
More importantly, an inclusive leader must also recognize that their own interpretation of inclusion is influenced significantly by their own set of identities, characteristics and experiences. To illustrate, if one identifies as White, male, middle class, Christian, heterosexual, and from the US east coast—to identify only a few characteristics, then the lenses through which the world is interpreted originates from the associated experiences of each as well as compounded traits. For example, a White male born and raised from the west coast has certainly experienced “others” differently than one from the southeast. Conversely, “others,” through their lens, have treated or reacted to these men differently.
Finally, being inclusive does not simply refer to:
· introducing concepts of inclusion,
· increasing student enrollment, or faculty and staff demographic representation,
· expanding the curriculum to be diversity inclusive,
· or changing the “pictures on the wall”.
Being inclusive requires the institutional communities to change: their thinking and the thought processes; the talk and the construction of the lexicon; the walk and the practice of ambulation or the alternative for movement and action; the policies and the policies that shape governance; the governance that both addresses the issues and includes the voices of others.
To read more about this topic, refer to: Lowrie, P. M. & †Robinson, L. E. (2013). Creating an inclusive culture and climate that supports excellence in kinesiology. Kinesiology Review, 2, 170 – 180.