Our Terms Defined

Our Terms Defined

Our Terms Defined

Social Justice

Social justice refers to a concept in which equity or justice is achieved in every aspect of society rather than in only some aspects or for some people. It includes a vision of a society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are physically and psychologically safe and secure. Social justice involves social actors who have a sense of their own agency as well as a sense of social responsibility toward and with others and the society as a whole (Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice – Adams, Bell, Griffin, 2nd ed., Routledge 2007).


Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions. (AAC&U)

Conflict Resolution 

The Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution’s concept of conflict resolution will encompass the identification and implementation of dialogic tools that are grounded in:

  • Self-awareness
  • Local and global diversity and its impact on conflicting ideologies and expression
  • Constructive and collaborative strategies that promote individual and group coalitions
  • Theoretical constructs to enhance cultural competence and literacy
  • Models that stress leaning into conflict and using conflict to grow and transform
  • Bridging difference through dialogic processes

Social Identity

Social Identities are group-based identities that are not personal in that they refer to a part of ourselves that we value or are evaluated on based on social categories we belong to. Social identities are shaped by common history, shared experiences, legal and historical decisions, and day-to-day interactions. These identities are socially constructed and are multiple and intersecting in how they are lived; e.g., race, gender, age, religion, nationality, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, physical/developmental/psychological ability, and ethnicity (Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice – Adams, Bell, Griffin, 2nd ed., Routledge 2007).

Cultural Competence

Cultural Competency means having the capacity to understand and competently navigate the systems that define another culture. To be Multicultural Competent, one must be able to traverse one’s self-awareness to realize the experiences of persons and communities that are different from the self to be fluent in more than one culture. This would entail being able to communicate cross-culturally and have a sense of empathy, a deeper understanding and respect for and ability to work with others as an ally despite the contrasting ethnic, religious, political, gender, historical, and personal constructs that define how a person views and experiences the world (Kivel, 2007).