University of Illinois System


System Office Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

System HR provides Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action services for System Office units, which includes EEO oversight of the Academic Professional search process and maintenance of System Office affirmative action plans. This unit serves as the hearing officer on behalf of the President of the University of Illinois System for system-level grievances. 

The University of Illinois System Offices embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion as foundational to excellence. We recognize as core to our guiding principles a responsibility to foster an open, welcoming environment where individuals of all backgrounds can collaboratively learn, work and serve. We pledge to proactively cultivate and sustain an environment that encourages a safe and robust exchange of viewpoints. We value shared responsibility, mutual respect, and cooperation. We are intentional and deliberate in our actions to ensure integrity and excellence. Our commitment recognizes and nurtures talent and achievement by supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our education, services, and administration.


Diversity is the unique set of experiences, skills, talents, perspectives, and cultures that each employee brings to the System Office.  It is how we create a dynamic work and business environment to serve our customers.

Key Elements of Diversity

  • Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
  • Understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
  • Diversity is the exploration of differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
  • Diversity is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.


Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all employees can thrive. Equity means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities, both current and historical, that advantage some and disadvantage others. Equal treatment results in equity only if everyone starts with equal access to opportunities.

Key Elements of Equity:

  • Equity is “justice according to natural law or right; freedom from bias or favoritism.” 
  • While equality means treating everyone the same, equity means making sure everyone has the support they need to be successful.
  • Achieving equity is closely tied to personal experiences: it requires understanding each individual’s needs and designing experiences that will help everyone achieve success.
  • Equity requires attention to disparate impact, differential access and opportunities afforded to various communities, as well as structural and systemic barriers that limit potential and possibilities.


Inclusion is a set of behaviors that leverage and honor the uniqueness of people’s different talents, beliefs, and ways of living. Inclusive behavior transcends all differences among people by acknowledging and honoring the group identities we all possess while at the same time not being restricted by those identities.

Key Elements of Inclusion:

  • Inclusion is about respecting and valuing the unique dimension that each employee adds to the organization.Recognizing that employees are at their creative and productive best when they work in an inclusive work environment.
  • Inclusion is engaging diversity in a common endeavor.
  • Inclusion is engaging diversity to create a culture of belonging in which people are valued and honored for the improvement of our society, world, and enterprises.
  • Actively including others in collaboration and co-creation processes to maximize individual and collective contributions.
  • Promoting values and practices that demonstrate openness, respect, collaboration and appreciation of the validity of different points of view.
  • Recognizing and supporting the intrinsic value of all human beings by creating and sustaining conditions that foster equity, empowerment, awareness and competence at the personal, group and organizational levels.