Definitions and Terminology
Strategic Plan


Diversity Defined

Purdue University’s Institutional Definition of Diversity 

Diversity is excellence expressing itself through the intersections of perspectives and lived experiences

Operational Definition of Diversity

Diversity embraces all human differences while building on the commonalities that bind us together. It serves to eliminate discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, religion, national origin, and military status, among other identity characteristics. Diversity also includes the diversity of thought, political ideologies, educational attainment, geographic background, beliefs, and values.

Diversity focuses on building community through: 

  • A diverse faculty, staff and student body
  • Curricula and learning experiences that prepare students to live and work in a diverse and global society
  • Climate of inclusiveness with values of mutual respect, fairness and social justice that allow for everyone to develop to their fullest potential
  • Mentorship that allows faculty, staff, and students to excel in all areas
  • Environmental inclusion - equal access and fair treatment embedded in workplace culture 

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) Definition of Underrepresented Groups in Veterinary Medicine

The AAVMC has defined underrepresented groups in veterinary medicine as populations of individuals whose advancement in the veterinary medical profession has been historically disproportionately impacted by six specific aspects of diversity (gender, race, ethnicity, and geographic, socioeconomic and educational disadvantages) due to legal, cultural and social climate impediments.



The brief summary of terms below is not intended to be an exhaustive list of every word or term used in the work of diversity and inclusion practices. These are working definitions used in this document to advance conversations of diversity and inclusion.


Cultural Competence- is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competence is comprised of four components: (a) Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) Cross-cultural skills.

Equity- is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while also striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.

Inclusion- are the acts 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. While diversity is essential, it is not sufficient. An institution can be both diverse and non-inclusive at the same time, thus a sustained practice of creating inclusive environments is necessary for success.

Inclusive Excellence- is the recognition that a college or university’s ability to successfully advance its mission is dependent on how fully it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, institutional partners, and guests.

Intercultural competence- is the ability to develop targeted knowledge, skills and attitudes that lead to visible behavior and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interactions.


Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, 765-494-7607

© 2024 Purdue University All Rights Reserved | EA/EO University | DOE Degree Scorecards | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Purdue Veterinary Medicine Communications

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact us at