“Our Constitution, above all, is an essay in the acceptance of diversity. It is founded on a vision of an inclusive society which accommodates plural ways of life.”
- Justice DY Chandrachud
(Navtej Johar judgment, 2018: para 148)
- Going by the pronouncement by Justice Chandrachud, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) is the very essence of the Indian Constitution. Faculty, students and staff at the IITD come from very diverse backgrounds. There is regional and linguistic diversity on the one hand, and social and economic diversity based on class, caste, gender and religion, on the other hand. Besides this, we have community members with disabilities of various kinds. The Institute is also working towards enhancing international diversity on campus.
Besides being desirable as an end in itself, research suggests that diversity has instrumental value in terms of enhancing academic outcomes and experience among faculty and students. Diversity can throw up challenges related to inclusion/ exclusion too. Given this, a conscious effort is required to ensure that all IIT Delhi community members feel welcome, and to enable them to achieve their full potential.
The Dean, Office of Diversity and Inclusion will work on the following:
- Identify and monitor services and facilities for diversity and inclusion among faculty, student and staff.
- Learning support for community members (persons with disabilities, students from reserved categories, etc.)
- Orientation, talks, trainings and workshops for awareness and sensitivity
- Creating a safer, more accessible and welcoming campus for all
OBJECTIVES AND FUNCTIONS OF ODI
- The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will seek to celebrate existing diversity on campus, to document its benefits to the community and to create a more inclusive environment. To reap the fruits of a diverse campus, we need to make everyone feel welcome and included.
1. Proactive measures to create awareness: Put in place systems and processes to conduct awareness trainings for entire IIT Delhi community on caste, gender, race, sexuality, unconscious bias, among others, and to help the community value diversity.
2. Enhancing diversity on campus: Currently, IIT Delhi conducts counselling for female students and their parents, who qualify JEE (Advanced), to seek admission to the IITs). Such activities could be extended to a broader set of people.
3. Learning support: Diversity requires creation of institutional capacity for providing assistance to persons with disabilities, through pedagogical and assistive technologies, and legal compliance for them. Similarly, for students from SC/ST/OBC communities and minorities academic support including, but not confined, to remedial classes will be provided.
4. Mental Health services: Mental health issues are very widespread and need to be treated as a public health issue. Counselling and therapy for those who seek it and training sessions for parents and community members regarding mental health issues to reduce stigma associated with it.
5. Grievance redressal:> Diversity also brings challenges, including feeling included/ excluded. The Office can provide an informal and safe space to discuss grievances and guidance on redressal mechanisms.
6. Language support:> Language is an important axis for inclusion/exclusion. The Institute will provide language training to students who need it. For non-Hindi speakers (Indian and foreign) on campus, providing Hindi language support. And enlisting a professional agency such as British Council for those who need English support.
The Dean (Diversity and Inclusion) will work with other offices such as with Dean (Faculty) to facilitate new faculty on campus, Dean (Academics) and Dean (Student Affairs) for students to adapt to IIT Delhi, Dean (International Programmes) to fulfil their mandate and to help international students adjust to IIT Delhi’s academic system and culture.