Diversity and Inclusion at Duke

Author name
Zoila Airall, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Campus Life

Diversity and Inclusion are values critical to Duke University. We are a community of students, faculty and staff of different demographic backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, income level, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.  As educators we understand the importance of preparing our students to become members of a global citizenry whose workforce becomes more interconnected and interdependent with each new generation.  In Student Affairs, one of our four strategic goals is to provide education in cultural competency so that students gain a consciousness, information and knowledge about world-views and perspectives different from their own.  The opportunity to develop what many refer to as cultural fluency enables students to communicate, interact and engage effectively with people different from themselves.

In Student Affairs we are very fortunate to have an amazing team of skilled educators who staff our cultural centers to provide an array of educational, cultural and social programs and services that help foster healthy community engagement among an incredibly diverse student population.  Located across the three campuses, students typically connect to these cultural centers through interest or identity.  The seven centers are:  Center for Multicultural Affairs, International House, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, Center for Jewish Life, Center for Muslim Life, Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and the Women’s Center.

Students have the opportunity to sharpen their cultural fluency skills in their residential communities, classrooms, athletic competitions and musical ensembles on campus, as well as study abroad and Duke Engage opportunities around the world.  As educators we see the ways in which students are more willing to collaborate across differences and the ways in which these collaborations promote greater capacity for creative thinking and numerous possibilities for exploration and innovation.  We know that Duke students will be among the world’s most culturally competent leaders because they will know how to excel and thrive in a fast paced world of new ideas with interesting people in locales here and abroad.

 Zoila Airall
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Campus Life