DEI Statement

The Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University affirms its strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion so that everyone—students, faculty, and staff— has the chance to explore ideas and foster knowledge, regardless of background, identity, beliefs, abilities, or needs.

We strive particularly to amplify and engage with the perspectives of students, staff, and faculty who have historically been excluded from full access to the opportunities and rewards of our discipline because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexuality, economic or educational background, dis/abilities, and learning needs.

We believe our commitment to diversity is best achieved when all individuals within our community feel seen, heard, valued, and welcomed. To fully realize this vision, we must always reflect on our past, evaluate our present, and aspire for our future. 

We seek to provide students with the critical, expressive, and cultural skills necessary to negotiate life both within and outside the academy. This goal requires that all students and faculty recognize how our identities and experiences inform our reading, writing, and interactions in the classroom.

We pledge to create a department composed of faculty with diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. Together, we seek to overcome long-standing inequities in our disciplinary areas by fostering a faculty attentive to both historical and current forms of exclusion and privilege. As teachers, we strive to be sensitive to the complex, lived realities of students’ lives, as well as to respond to those realities with compassion and flexibility.

We commit ourselves to create intellectually challenging learning environments where inequities of power and opportunity are openly recognized, and where meaningful engagement with matters of identity—whether of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age, dis/ability, religion, or nation-status—are not only welcomed but also warmly encouraged.