Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

HDS is committed to diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIB) as an expression of our shared community values, and attends to the needs of our vibrant, pluralistic community of faculty, students, staff, and alumni. We carry out these values through our authentic embrace of diverse religious and non-religious traditions, and other dimensions of diversity.


Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging, Melissa Bartholomew, is a leader in this community-wide effort. Dean Bartholomew collaborates with the Racial Justice & Healing Committee and the Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (both comprised of faculty, students, and staff—see lists below) to build a restorative, anti-racist and anti-oppressive Harvard Divinity School. Our intentional focus on the multiple and intersectional dimensions of DIB will help to ensure that HDS is an institution where all members of its community can flourish and feel a deep sense of belonging.

Building a Restorative Anti-racist & Anti-oppressive Harvard Divinity School

This vision expresses our explicit commitment to dismantling racism and other systems of oppression at HDS. It envisions a school actively engaged in examining policies, systems, and practices, and implementing changes where necessary to ensure the institution is in alignment with this vision. Particular attention will be paid to identifying explicit and implicit racism, white supremacy, and other systems of oppression in the classroom, curricula, and pedagogy, and to working towards their eradication.

The work also requires that members of the school community personally engage in the ongoing self-examination needed to unlearn and heal from internalized racism, oppression, and unconscious and conscious bias. Individual, interpersonal, and institutional commitments to anti-racist and anti-oppressive work are all necessary to confront and redress racist and oppressive systems. These commitments are foundational to cultivating healthy relationships for a vibrant learning community. This will further strengthen our study of religion in service of a just world at peace across religious and cultural divides.  

See a message from DIB Associate Dean Bartholomew

Restorative Anti-racist and Anti-oppressive Initiatives

Reorientation & Common Conversation

The HDS Reorientation and Common Read program was launched in 2020-2021. It is a community-wide, year-long series of engagements help us reorient ourselves around our shared HDS values and commitments—respect, dignity, mutual understanding, and trust—with a particular focus on dismantling and healing from racism and oppression. In 2021-2022 we reframe our program as Reorientation and Common Conversation, to include a broader range of experiences that engage us in the movement of building a restorative, anti-racist and anti-oppressive HDS.

The Common Read program will continue to be our anchor initiative. This year, our community will read Red Nation Rising: From Bordertown Violence to Native Liberation by Nick Estes, Melanie K. Yazzie, Jennifer Nez Denetdale, and David Correia. We hope that through reading this text, and our personal and community engagement with it, we will individually and collectively deepen our understanding of the historical roots and manifestations of systemic racism and oppression in the United States. This book will help us to build on the work we began last year with our Common Read book, The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation by Fania E. Davis. We hope it will strengthen our capacity to dismantle and heal from racism and oppression within the HDS community and beyond.

DIB @ Divinity

DIB @ Divinity reflects our intention to harness our diverse religious and spiritual resources and bring them to bear on our diversity, inclusion, and belonging and restorative anti-racism and anti-oppression work at Harvard Divinity School. Watch this space for more details soon!

Red Nation Rising book cover   

Belonging is deeply ethical, transformatively human, connected to social justice, rooted in a universal longing, and is something which every one of us must take responsibility for. Belonging is a beautiful word. It is worth striving for. It should be who we are.

- David N. Hempton, Dean of Harvard Divinity School

A group of people sit on the floor having a discussion


Join in the conversation and work toward our vision of building an anti-racist & anti-oppressive HDS through book discussions, committee meetings, and small group settings facilitated through a restorative approach. 

The Harvard Diversity Inclusion and Belonging Logo

Harvard-Wide DIB Resources

Harvard University is committed to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Explore more DIB work across Harvard. 

We cannot flourish in our humanity unless we acknowledge the full humanity of others. This is the way of being that we embody here [at HDS], and one that we must carry out into the world, in whatever place we inhabit, and in whatever work we do.

- Melissa Wood Bartholomew, MDiv ’15, Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging


Related Policies

Learn more about HDS's Nondiscrimination Policy 

Committee Members

Standing Committee on Diversity & Inclusion: 

  • Anna Anctil (staff) 
  • Melissa Wood Bartholomew (staff)  
  • Jessica Young Chang (student) 
  • Steph Grayson Gauchel (staff) 
  • Janet Gyatso (faculty) 
  • Ousmane Oumar Kane (faculty)
  • Teddy Hickman-Maynard (faculty)
  • Diane Moore (faculty) 
  • Rebecca Mendoza Nunziato (student) 
  • Jacob Olupona (faculty) 
  • Mayra Rivera (faculty)
  • Xavier Isaiah Sayeed (student)
  • Teren Sevea (faculty) 
  • Odeviz Soto (staff) 
  • Timothy Whelsky (staff)

Racial Justice & Healing Committee: 

  • Anna Anctil (staff) 
  • Melissa Wood Bartholomew (staff) 
  • Ann Braude (faculty) 
  • Katie Caponera (staff) 
  • Davíd Carrasco (faculty) 
  • Steph Grayson Gauchel (staff) 
  • Janet Gyatso (faculty) 
  • David Holland (faculty) 
  • Amos Jackson (student) 
  • Jamie Johnson-Riley (staff) 
  • Karen King (faculty) 
  • Kerry Maloney (staff) 
  • Diane Moore (faculty) 
  • John Markham O’Connor (student) 
  • Jacob Olupona (faculty) 
  • Stephanie Paulsell (faculty)
  • Teren Sevea
  • Laura Tuach
  • Mayra Rivera (faculty) 
  • Timothy Whelsky (staff)