Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Definitions

Related to Yakima Valley College’s 2021-2025 Mission and Strategic Plan

The following terms can be found throughout Yakima Valley College’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. The definitions are provided to facilitate mutual understanding. The use of language evolves over time, this list and these definitions are not considered comprehensive or complete; they will be reviewed and updated each spring.

Inclusion Definitions


To be antiracist is to think nothing is behaviorally wrong or right — inferior or superior — with any of the racial groups. Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist sees exactly that: individuals behaving positively or negatively, not representatives of whole races. To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body. Behavior is something humans do, not races do. 14


Prejudice or preference toward a group over another group. Implicit or Unconscious Bias are associations we hold about groups of people without realizing it affects our attitudes and actions. Explicit or Conscious Bias are biases we know we have and may use purposefully.8

Communities of Color

Is a term used primarily in the United States to describe communities of people who are not identified as White, emphasizing common experiences of racism.20

Community Organizations

Social work concentrating upon the organized development of community social welfare through coordination of public and private agencies.6


The languages, customs, beliefs, rules, arts, knowledge, and collective identities and memories developed by members of all social groups that make their social environments meaningful.3

Culturally Appropriate

Responsive to a client’s cultural beliefs and values, ethic norms, language needs, religion, and individual differences.6

Culturally Competent

An ability to interact effectively with people of all cultures and understand many cultural frameworks, values, and norms. Cultural competence comprises four components: Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, attitude towards cultural differences, knowledge of diverse cultural practices and worldviews, and cross-cultural skills.⁸

Collective Impact

A network of community members, organizations, and institutions who advance equity by learning together, aligning, and integrating their actions to achieve population and system-level change.12

Disaggregated Data

The presentation of data broken into segments instead of in the aggregate.2 Data are disaggregated by different demographic categories that include, but are not limited to, race/ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, first-generation status, and gender.


An understanding of how individual and group differences contribute to the diverse thoughts, knowledge and experiences that are the foundation of a high-quality liberal education.17

Economic Mobility

Economic mobility refers to changes in an individual’s economic status over a lifetime and across generations—usually measured in income.²⁷


1) the act or action of empowering someone or something: the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or; 2) the state of being empowered to do something: the power, right, or authority to do something.18


Fairness, justice, and the focus on outcomes appropriate for a given group that considers the group’s unique characteristics and experiences such as challenges, needs, knowledges, and histories.21

Equity Framework/Lens

An equity lens is a process for analyzing or diagnosing the impact of the design and implementation of policies on under-served and marginalized individuals and groups, and to identify and potentially eliminate barriers.11


Examining why inequities exist and understanding how the racialization of institutional practices sustains those inequities.17

Evidence-Based Practices

Practices that have been shown to positively impact student outcomes through empirically validated research methods supported by data.7

Experiential Learning

Experiential [learning] is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with students in direct experience and focused reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values.10

Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI)

A Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) is defined as a non-profit institution that has at least 25% Hispanic full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment. White House Initiative.²³


1) of or relating to holism; 2) relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.18

Historically Marginalized Communities

Historically marginalized communities are groups relegated to the lower or peripheral edge of society. Many groups were (and some continue to be) denied full participation in mainstream cultural, social, political, and economic activities. Marginalized communities can include people of color, women, LGBTQ+, low-income individuals, prisoners, the disabled, senior citizens, and many more. Many of these communities were ignored or misrepresented in traditional historical sources.⁶


Intentional efforts and sets of actions to ensure authentic participation of traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups in processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power and creates a true sense of belonging and full access to opportunities.²¹


Indigenous Peoples are distinct social and cultural groups that share collective ancestral ties to the lands and natural resources where they live, occupy or from which they have been displaced. The land and natural resources on which they depend are inextricably linked to their identities, cultures, livelihoods, as well as their physical and spiritual well-being.¹³


The creation of relationships, societies, communities, organizations, and collective spaces characterized by equity, fairness, and the implementation of systems for the allocation of goods, services, benefits, and rewards that support the full participation of each human and the promotion of their full being.¹⁶


This term is an expanded version of the LGBT acronym we are most familiar with. It typically stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and everyone else who may not identify with one of these other banners being represented by the +.²⁴

Low-income Communities

Generally, a Low-Income Community (LIC) is defined by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a census tract with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent or a median family income 80 percent or less than the area it is benchmarked against (metropolitan area for metropolitan tracts, state for rural tracts).⁵


A social group that is devalued in society and given less access to its resources. This devaluing encompasses how the group is represented, what degree of access to resources it is granted, and how unequal access is rationalized. Traditionally, a group in this position has been called the minority group. However, this language has been replaced with the term minoritized to capture the active dynamics that create the lower status in society, and to signal that a group’s status is not necessarily related to how many or few of them there are in the population at large.²⁶

Professional Development

The process whereby an individual acquires or enhances the skills, knowledge, and/or attitude for improved practice.19

Racial Equity

The vision or existence of a community, society, or world in which race or color does not predict the amount and quality of opportunities, services, and benefits. The condition where one’s race identity has no influence on how one fares in society.⁸

Racialized (Racialization)

Racialization is the complex and contradictory process through which groups come to be designated as being of a particular “race” and on that basis subjected to differential and/or unequal treatment. Put simply, “racialization [is] the process of manufacturing and utilizing the notion of race in any capacity.” ¹


Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.⁴

 Social Justice

A practice within a society based on principles of equality and solidarity that understands and values human rights and recognizes the dignity of every human being. Such a practice would strive to provide basic human needs and comforts to all members of the society regardless of class, race, religion, or any other characteristic.⁸

Sociocultural Engagement

The leadership, staff, and faculty at YVC, through our norms and processes, at all levels of the institution, strive to honor and affirm the various cultural/ethnic, socioeconomic, and gendered differences that characterize our students’ lives and enrich our local community. For example, we are mindful of our students balancing multiple familial, economic, and educational responsibilities and strive to create an educational environment where their educational performance will not be compromised by those other obligations.

Student Achievement

Attainment of educational outcomes such as college-level credit accumulation, term to term retention, completion of communication and quantitative requirements, and completion of certificates and degrees.¹⁵

Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes that are based on what students can do after engaging in the teaching and learning process that usually cover the knowledge areas and skillsets that are needed by students that can be applied to personal, educational, and professional experiences.25 In higher education, student learning outcomes are measured at the course, program, and institutional level.


Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.⁹


  1. Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, “Racialization” (2018) / Calgary Anti-Racism Education, “CARED Glossary” (2020).
  2. Allen, J. (2018, May 3). Disaggregated Data. EdSource. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://edsource.org/glossary/disaggregated-data
  3. American Sociological Association (n.d.). Retrieved on December 3, 2021, from https://www.asanet.org/topics/culture
  4. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Resilience. American Psychological Association. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience
  5. Benzow, A., Fikri, K., & Newman, D. (2022, March 21). Meet the low-income communities eligible for powerful new small business relief in the Rubio-Collins Phase IV proposal. Economic Innovation Group. Retrieved November 3, 2022, from
  6. Common Language Glossary: Tacoma Community College. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2022, from https://www.tacomacc.edu/about/common-language-glossary
  7. Cook, B. G., Tankersley, M., & Landrum, T. J. (2013). Evidence-based practices.  [electronic resource] (1st ed.). Emerald Insight.
  8. Diversity, equity, and inclusion – glossary of equity – Washington. (n.d.). RetrievedOctober 27, 2022, from https://ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/shr/Diversity/SubCommit/DEIGlossaryofEquityRelatedTerms.pdf
  9. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). EPA. Retrieved November 13, 2022, from https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/learn-about-sustainability#what
  10. What is Experiential Education – Association for Experiential Education. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://www.aee.org/what-is-experiential-education
  11. Equity lens. Equity Lens | University Policy Library. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2022, from https://policy.umn.edu/resources/equity-lens
  12. Graybeal, F. (2022, April 14). What is collective impact. Collective Impact Forum. Retrieved October 27, 2022, from https://collectiveimpactforum.org/what-is-collective-impact/
  13. Indigenous peoples. World Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/indigenouspeoples
  14. Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to be an antiracist. One World.
  15. Kwakye, I., Kibort-Crocker, E., Pasion, S., & Washington Student Achievement Council.(2020). Equity Landscape Report: Exploring Equity Gaps in Washington Postsecondary Education. Higher Education and the Labor Market. Washington Student Achievement Council.
  16. Critical Liberation Theory, Barbara J. Love, Keri DeJong, and Christopher Hughbanks (UMASS, Amherst, 2007).
  17. McNair, T. B., Bensimon, E. M., Malcom-Piqueux, L. (2020). From equity walk to equity talk: Expanding practitioner knowledge for racial justice in higher education. Jossey-Bass by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., St. Hoboken, NJ.
  18. Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holistic; https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empowerment
  19. Mitchell, R. (2013). What is professional development, how does it occur in individuals, and how may it be used by educational leaders and managers for the purpose of school improvement? Professional Development in Education, 39. DOI: 10.1080/19415257.2012.762721 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263654313_What_is_professional_development_how_does_it_occur_in_individuals_and_how_may_it_be_used_by_educational_leaders_and_managers_for_the_purpose_of_school_improvement
  20. Office of equity and human rights. (2016, June 23). Shared city-wide definitions of racial equity terms. News RSS. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/581553
  21. Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation (2015). Race reporting guide.Retrieved on December 3, 2021, from Race Forward
  22. Racial Equity Tools. (n.d.). Glossary. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://www.racialequitytools.org/glossary
  23. White House initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics. White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2022, from https://sites.ed.gov/hispanic-initiative/hispanic-serving-institutions-hsis/
  24. (2022, May 17). An introduction to LGBTQIA+ terminology. VMIAC. Retrieved October 29, 2022, from https://www.vmiac.org.au/an-introduction-to-lgbtqia-terminology/
  25. Sababha, B. H., Al-Qaralleh, E., & Al-Daher, N. (2021). A New Student Learning Outcome to Strengthen Entrepreneurship and Business Skills and Mindset in Engineering Curricula. 2021 Innovation and New Trends in Engineering, Science and Technology Education Conference (IETSEC), Engineering, Science and Technology Education Conference (IETSEC), 2021 Innovation and New Trends In, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1109/IETSEC51476.2021.9440489
  26. Sensoy, Ozlem, and Robin DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, first edition. Teachers College Press: New York, 2012, p. 5
  27. Staff. Economic mobility and inequality | Urban Institute. (2022, May 19). Retrieved November 2, 2022, from https://www.urban.org/research-area/economic-mobility-and-inequality