Kimberly Freeman serves as the associate dean and chief diversity officer for the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, managing the office for diversity and strategic initiatives. We asked her a few questions about the Culture Journey, and her thoughts around our unifying value “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”.
- What is your favorite part about the culture of USC?
My favorite part about the culture of USC the pursuit of academic excellence. Being on a college campus, surrounded by so much knowledge creation, is very intellectually rewarding. I like knowing I work at a place where the big ideas are being generated.
- What made you want to be part of the Culture Network?
As a leader, I am always looking for clues about what makes people want to come to work each day and make a contribution towards achieving common purpose. I am also curious about how all of our different perspectives as individuals make us better as an institution. Lastly, to me, if you can’t get the culture right, then all of the other things that supposedly make an organization effective don’t matter. Being a part of the Culture Network give me access to a community comprised of many different stakeholders across campus who have the same issues and concerns.
- In March we highlighted “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” one of our Unifying Values. What does that value mean for you?
Individually and collectively, each of these words matter. Although certainly important and the one word of the three that gets the most attention, diversity as a standalone concept will only take you so far. Yes, representation matters, and so do putting an end to systemic barriers and given people opportunities to fully participate. Having diversity, equity, and inclusion as a unifying value sends a strong signal to our community that representation without full and fair participation is insufficient.
- What gets you excited about being part of the Culture Journey?
I am excited about being part of the Culture Journey because just as we are experiencing profound shifts from outside forces and events, we are witnessing some of the same forces shaping our institution on the inside. Our unifying values help us to align and connect with a common purpose for why we are all here. Without the alignment and connection, that real talk and trust generate, none of us can, or will, achieve education’s true purpose. These values give us that starting point.