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Learning, Inclusion & Access

A Welcoming, Inclusive Environment:
Our Commitment to Learning Through Dialogue

We are committed to establishing and maintaining an environment that enables each of us to learn through inquiry, especially by asking questions and exploring our own ideas as well as those from others. Being vulnerable and taking risks is the essence of learning, and we know that most ideas will not be well expressed or fully thought out. Essential ingredients for successful dialogue and inquiry are respect and confidentiality: what is said stays and what is learned may leave with you. We have a commitment to shared brave spaces - places where each of us willingly takes risks through dialogue and we have a shared agreement about the ground rules for the expression of ideas (Arao & Clemens). To do so, we cultivate learning that asks each of us to –
  • Assume the best about each person: student, staff and faculty.
  • Give others the same respect and benefit of the doubt that you would want for yourself as we each seek to understand and learn.
  • Know that words and actions have impact. Be open to offering and embracing feedback that promotes awareness, growth and mutual understanding.
  • Foster dialogue. Helping and challenging one another to understand experiences, ideas and perspectives is a responsibility we share. Doing so encourages each of us toward greater clarity and depth by interrogating our own thinking. Take time to ask questions and sincerely engage with ideas that might be inconsistent with your own understanding or experience. Discomfort is where learning happens.
  • Suspend judgement as you consider others’ ideas. Be particularly careful about assessing the character of those whose ideas conflict with your own.
  • Be kind to one another, taking extra care with those with whom you might disagree, so that each of us openly and confidently brings our own talents to the work we share without worry.

Access

We are committed to equity by providing each student with the opportunities and resources they need to fully participate in our courses and other offerings. We understand that backgrounds vary and each person navigates the world and its resources with different levels of ease. We also understand that talking about these matters can be uncomfortable for students facing a barrier. We are committed to you and honor your confidentiality. Northwestern has resources to help every student succeed and we want to ensure that you have access to them. Let a faculty or staff member know if you have financial barriers, difficulty accessing course materials, or other hindrances that may prevent you from fully participating in Center activities. At the Center for Leadership, we know that access is essential for excellence.

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