Understanding DEI

Understanding the uniqueness of each person based on a collection of human attributes, cultures, traditions, learning styles, etc. As an institution of higher education with a military foundation, we also adopt the definition of diversity from the Military Leadership Diversity Commission- Diversity is recognizing, appreciating, respecting, and utilizing various human attributes. Diversity creates performance advantages through the synergy of diverse ideas. The following are the most common individual differences referenced when assessing diversity; Age, Ethnicity, Gender/Gender Identity, Physical Ability, Race, Religion/Spiritual Beliefs, Sexual Orientation, and Socio-Economic Status. 

Equity refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality: Whereas equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to address historical and existing discrimination. Inequities happen when unfair or biased practices, policies, or situations contribute to a lack of equality. Equity must permeate all practices, policies, and procedures for every constituent.

Inclusion means valuing all members of a community. Inclusion is manifested by bringing traditionally excluded individuals and groups into activities, policies, and decision-making processes in a fashion that shares power, privilege, and affirms one's culture. The result of inclusion is an institution that promotes belonging and values the knowledge of all people.

How institutions and organizations ethically and effectively participate in affirming the values of worth and preserving individuals' dignity. Cultural competence requires an understanding of one's own cultural values and worldview.


icon of documentsGlossary: In addition to these significant, overarching terms, we also encourage cadets, faculty, staff, and members of the VMI community to familiarize themselves with the VMI Inclusive Excellence Glossary of Terms. Proper terminology is one of the first steps to understanding and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.

icon of charts and informationCadet Diversity Dashboard: The VMI Office of Assessment and Institutional Research also provides current and historical information about various aspects of VMI on their Data Dashboard page. The enrollment dashboard contains detailed tabular summaries of enrollment information with demographic breakdowns by race/ethnicity, gender, and state.


Three photos of smiling cadets. Left and right at Ring Supper, middle at the top of House Mountain.