Is there a need to consider diversity and inclusion strategies in the faith community? Diversity and inclusion has increasingly become a focal point for businesses, educational institutions and service organizations.  It represents the various combinations of human difference, e.g., learning styles, life experiences, race/ethnicity, gender, political, national origin and other factors.  Inclusion describes the active, intentional on going engagement with diversity, i.e., employment, service, other systems.  Regardless of the definition of faith community –denomination, church, synagogue, mosque or some other format or expression of faith – diversity and inclusion factors play a critical role.  Organizations are made up of a diverse group of individuals from different cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, educational levels, abilities, etc.  The spiritual leader of the organization along with other leaders/workers and the  individual members of the organization carry a set of conscious and unconscious biases, thoughts and feelings about others within the group and outside of the group.  This can impact the organization as well as the life experiences of individuals within that faith community in a positive and or negative manner.

Diversity and inclusion is an important element in the success and experiences of all faith communities.

Reverend Burris will be the speaker at the June 14th for the Pathways to Promise Engage, Learn and Network Leadership forum. Click this link to register Webinar

About Rev. Deborah Burris, M. Div.

Rev. Deborah J. Burris earned her Master Divinity from Eden Seminary and is the Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

In this capacity, she provides administrative leadership for equal opportunity and diversity for UMSL and counsels the chancellor, senior administrators, faculty, staff and students concerning equal opportunity issues.

She brings to her position over 30 years of higher education experience working in student development, human resources and equal opportunity/diversity administration. Advancing opportunities for women and other underrepresented groups has been at the core of her career.

She currently serves as co-chair of the Chancellor’s Cultural Diversity Council. Ms. Burris earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri Columbia and an undergraduate degree from St. Louis University in Organizational Development.