Climate describes how it feels to exist in the university community. Is the climate welcoming, open, inclusive? Members of different demographic groups may feel quite differently about the university climate. The objective of the Academy is to help the university develop a climate that is welcoming and inclusive to all members of the university community.
Culture can be defined as “how we do things around here.” Because policies, processes, and practices have such an impact on outcomes, examining and improving the university culture is a key element in making the university more equitable and inclusive. Policies, processes, and practices such as how decisions are made, how budgets are allocated, and who is involved in those decisions should be considered as we work toward a more inclusive culture.
Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels and gives advantages, favors, and benefits to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. Privilege is characteristically invisible to people who have it. People in dominant groups often believe they have earned the privileges they enjoy, or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them. In fact, privileges are unearned and granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, regardless of their stated intent.