Composition and Rhetoric Diversity Statement

Statement of Values: Writing, Rhetoric, and Diversity

Writing and teaching are social practices that are both shaped by and shape identity, politics, and culture. For this reason, we view human difference in all its forms as intrinsic to the study, practice, and teaching of writing and rhetoric. ‘Diversity,’ then, is not merely a topic for our classrooms; it is a central component of all the work we do in the Composition and Rhetoric program.

Our vision of a just community is one in which all forms of oppression—sexism, racism, homophobia, classism and ableism—are confronted and discussed. We believe responsible, ethical inquiry and argument can occur only in contexts that actively support, and not merely include, members of and ideas from marginalized groups. We strive to create teaching and learning spaces in which differences are seriously and meaningfully engaged.

We seek to enact our commitment to these principles through the following practices:

  • a rhetorically-based curriculum that calls for the study and practice of writing as an epistemic and socio-political act involving nuanced attention to purposes, audiences, and situations
  • meaningful engagement of diverse course materials and pedagogical methodologies that purposefully and attentively include the voices and ideas of writers of color, LGBTQA+ writers, feminist writers, writers with disabilites, and writers from various cultures
  • classroom teaching and Writing Center consulting that encourages students to recognize the complexity and richness of human difference (according to language, gender, sexuality, race, class, ability, religion, politics) as they read and compose texts of various kinds
  • respect for the various languages (including varieties of World Englishes) that are in use inside and beyond our program
  • efforts to recruit and hire a diverse staff
  • the development of a dynamic learning community for teachers that values differences among individual teacher-scholars

We understand these principles and practices as interrelated and ongoing, as is the struggle for justice itself.

(UNL Composition Faculty 2008, revised 2021)