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Our Framework

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion embraces and upholds the values of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability (IDEA) as fundamental principles. With the goal of establishing a shared understanding IDEA, we define these terms in the following ways:


  • Definition: Inclusion refers to creating a welcoming and supportive environment where Northwestern community members of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives feel valued, respected, and empowered.
  • Implementation: We develop a supportive university climate that values well-being by identifying strategies, rules, and policies that foster an inclusive working and learning environment.


  • Definition: Diversity is the recognition and celebration of the wide array of identities and experiences represented within our community.
  • Implementation: We facilitate collaboration and celebrate differences to aid in creating thoughtful leaders, broadening perspectives, and inspire innovation.


  • Definition: Equity is the principle of ensuring fair treatment, access, and opportunity for all members of our community.
  • Implementation: We redress the persistence of inequality and promote policies, procedures, and practices that mitigate structural inequities.


  • Definition: Accountability refers to taking responsibility for our actions, continuously evaluating our progress, and holding ourselves accountable to our priorities of inclusion, diversity, and equity.
  • Implementation: We establish accountability at Northwestern by developing benchmarks to evaluate and assess the impact of our diversity and inclusion efforts.