Glossary of Terms

Climate
The atmosphere or ambience of an organization as perceived by its members that can influence whether an individual feels personally safe, listened to, valued, and treated fairly and with respect. An organization's climate is reflected in its structures, policies, and practices; the demographics of its membership; the attitudes and values of its members and leaders; and the quality of personal interactions.

Full participation in higher education
Creating and maintaining a campus climate that will enable students from all walks of life to maximize their educational opportunities; have equal access to all programs and services; and be free from harassment, a hostile environment, and discrimination.

Identity group
Identification with the members of different social groups to which each person belongs such as ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic class, occupation, disability status, religion, and nationality.

People of color
A collective term for men and women of Asian and Pacific Islander, Black/African-American, Latin/Hispanic and Native American backgrounds; as opposed to the collective "White" for those of European ancestry. The term "people" may be replaced by "students," "staff," or "faculty" to designate membership in a specific campus group.

Social diversity
Characteristics that could cause groups or individuals to be systematically excluded from full participation in higher education, including age, disability, gender, race/ethnicity, religion/spiritual tradition, sexual orientation, job status or socioeconomic class, personal appearance, and political beliefs.

Underrepresented minority
Racial or ethnic groups that have been historically or are typically underrepresented in American higher education including people of Black/African-American, Latin/Hispanic, and Native American heritage.