Diversity can be defined as all the characteristics which differentiate us as individuals as well as all the characteristics which make us alike. There are many dimensions to diversity that go well beyond obvious differences such as race, gender, age, physical ability, and marital status. The less obvious dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to: veteran status, education, sexual orientation, lifestyle, national origin, religious or political affiliation, departmental or organizational "culture", and employee status - unskilled, skilled, professional, etc.
Understanding the dynamics of diversity allows people to respect and value differences. When people feel valued, respected, and empowered, they are more motivated to work together for the common good of all.
The Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs seeks to develop and implement programs and services that will increase the engagement of students in activities that promote and foster an inclusive living and learning community.
Students will obtain a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice through participation and celebration in a variety of activities.
The office works with student organizations, faculty, and other University offices to further integrate diversity into developmental and social programs for students. As a result, the office establishes meaningful relationships with students in order to effectively address their needs, interests, and concerns.
Barone Campus Center, Room 100
Main Number: (203) 254-4000 ext. 2806
Fax Number: (203) 254-4127
Ophelie Rowe-Allen, EdD
Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Assistant Director of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Program Coordinator of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Program Coordinator of Cura Personalis Mentoring Program
Other Links and Resources
At Fairfield, we believe that no matter what's going on in the world, more unites us than divides us. When we respect and value each other, we find the common good rooted in us all, and work together to bring out each other's potential.
We're committed to community - an inclusive, welcoming community that represents the ever-changing global populace. To that end, we offer initiatives like Upward Bound, a tuition-free program for deserving college bound high school seniors, plus a number of clubs and organizations that promote diversity, like the Ally Network. Our academic offerings include programs such as Black Studies, Asian Studies, Judaic Studies, and International Studies.
By encouraging better communication and understanding, we're fostering better students, and a better world.
Embracing diversity has always been a distinguishing hallmark of Jesuit education. Since the first Jesuit school was founded in 1548, it has been the mission of the Society of Jesus to make a first-class education available to any student who desires to learn.
Fairfield is no exception. Established in 1949, the University's first generation of students were largely young men returning from the country's Armed Services. Fairfield provided a University education to many who were the first in their families to attend college.
This tradition continues in Fairfield's commitment to build a community of learners from a diversity of social, economic, racial, cultural, national, and religious backgrounds. The express purpose of a Fairfield education is the development of global citizens, young men and women who are at home in the world, able to confidently engage in any cultural circumstance, with an open mind and the capacity to empathize with the perspectives of others.
Students choose Fairfield because they recognize the importance of learning about, and living in, an increasingly dynamic and intercultural world. Fairfield University reflects this by striving to become a microcosm of the global community.
In recent years, Fairfield's commitment to diversity has been made a significant priority. In 1990, students of African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Island ethnicities made up only 6.7 percent of enrolled students. Through active recruitment and outreach, this percentage has increased every year, so that in 2009 almost 17 percent of the undergraduate student body identify themselves as students of color. There are 54 countries represented by Fairfield's student body as a whole, and the class of 2013 comes from 24 states, and a variety of backgrounds. More than 20 percent of the incoming class students are the first in their families to attend college.
Fairfield has broadened the socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic diversity of our student body dramatically in recent years. This has been matched by a significant increase in our financial aid to students. In 2009, we increased our total financial aid offerings for our students to $43.2 million, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year, and 65 percent from just four years ago. We anticipate that our financial aid will continue to increase as we strive to make Fairfield accessible to every worthy student who desires what Fairfield has to offer.
Fairfield's commitment to global diversity is also reflected in the make-up of our faculty. Since 2003, our international faculty has increased dramatically so that now 10 percent of our full-time teaching faculty are natives of countries the world over. Over 12 percent of our faculty identify themselves as being of African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Pacific Island descent, and 48.6 percent of our full-time faculty are women.
Diversity Vision Statement
As a Jesuit and Catholic institution, Fairfield University’s commitment to the God–given dignity of the human person requires that we create an environment that promotes justice and fosters a deep understanding of human and cultural diversity. Fairfield is committed to encouraging dialogue among those with differing points of view in order to realize an integral understanding of what it means to be human. The University recognizes that transcending the nation’s political and social divisions is a matter of valuing diversity and learning respect for individuals, in their similarities and their differences. Fairfield will continue to integrate diversity in all facets of University life – academic, administrative, social, and spiritual – as together, the community seeks to realize a vision of common good that is rooted in genuine human solidarity.
Fairfield University defines diversity in the broadest sense, reflecting its commitment to creating a more inclusive community that is reflective of the richly diverse global community of which we are part. Diversity encompasses not only racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, but also diversity of socioeconomic contexts, cultural perspectives, national origins, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, abilities, and educational backgrounds.
Fairfield University's mandate is to prepare all members of its community to reflect humbly on our privileges, to use creative means to connect with others, to seek experiences that allow for the application and expansion of knowledge gained in the classroom, and to recognize the value inherent in striving to transform society for the greater good. In order to connect the individual to the collective, to identify social injustice, and to define the tools necessary to redress it, Fairfield has begun to explicitly orient itself toward a global vision - the education and formation of global citizens.
As a Jesuit institution, Fairfield University's adherence to Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy involves developing a vision of the world that is holistic and balances intellectual, emotional, and spiritual understandings and responses. By drawing on all of these rich resources, one seeks the essential value in everything and cultivates a passion for justice. Arguably the first step in this process is having the ability to recognize the humanity in all people and cultures. It is essential to seek a common humanity if one is to commit to social justice through service to and with others. Thus, Fairfield's mission is to produce students whose academic, cultural, and aesthetic acumen equips them to recognize the value of others - those both similar to and different from themselves - and the importance of community building. As lifelong learners who are "morally and socially responsible," Fairfield graduates should be capable of navigating a wide variety of unfamiliar social situations, both domestic and international.
Fairfield University is at an exciting juncture concerning global education and social justice. As the University strategic plan makes clear, Fairfield is integrating the vision of globalization at every level of the institution and is undertaking new and exciting initiatives to satisfy all of the goals in the strategic plan in order to reflect and share this vision of global social justice.
Core Pathways: Global Citizenship
Global Citizenship is also one of six core pathways underlying Fairfield's core curriculum. Learn more
Events Focus 2010-12: Global Citizenship
During 2010-12, Fairfield adopted its first singular area of focus as Global Citizenship. Learn more
Fairfield’s vibrant community welcomes all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability/disability status, religion, and tradition. Fostering inclusion and understanding across the many human differences that often divide and marginalize, the Fairfield community is united in its reverence for the human dignity of every person. We recognize that viable solutions to enduring problems emerge when people with diverse backgrounds and skills work together with mutual respect, toward common goals.
The Diversity Council was appointed by President Jeffrey von Arx, S.J. in 2005. The Council was organized to evaluate, review, and assess the institution's progress as it strengthens its multicultural education curricula and human diversity foundation and goals. The Council membership is drawn from all sectors of the University community.
The issue of diversity has taken on a greater and more prominent role at Fairfield University and in higher education across America. Diversity in all its human forms and varieties, along with the Jesuit mission and identity, is a basic tenet which under girds all three prongs of Fairfield University's Strategic Plan.
Fairfield University Office of Student Engagement offers a number of programs and services to students including Safe Space Program, Ally Network, Veteran Support, Academic Immersion and Cura Personalis Mentoring Program.
The Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs supports a wide variety of diverse and affinity clubs that allow students to be engaged outside of the classroom. Students who are involved in these co-curricular activities gain leadership skills and make the most out of their collegiate experience.
Staff and Contact Information
Main Phone, ext. 2806
Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Ophelie Rowe-Allen, director of Student Diversity and Muliticutural Affairs
Carrie Robinson, assistant director of Student Diversity and Muliticutural Affairs
Marisabel Santiago, program coordinator of Student Diversity and Muliticutural Affairs
Sharon Daly, operations assistant of Student Diversity and Muliticutural Affairs