Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
Rutgers University’s mission is to create “an inclusive community that embodies, reflects, and respects the complexities of all our parts.” To accomplish these Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals and extend them upon the entire Rutgers Community, the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement was established at the New Brunswick campus. Rutgers is firmly committed to providing unique experiences for its diverse community through a consistent and comprehensive university wide Diversity Strategic Plan. The Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services (RCAAS) has incorporated these guidelines, values, and goals as the foundation for our own DEI commitments.
As a part of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP), the RCAAS is also in full alignment with GSAPP’s commitment to individual and cultural diversity. To assess its own climate of Diversity and Inclusion, GSAPP has created a Committee on Diversity (COD), ensuring that both efforts are aligned with the University Strategic Plan. GSAPP's efforts to implement the plan include devising an audit to analyze the school’s cultural diversity and establish best practices for improving its organizational culture, and engaging with the entire community. Respecting individual student, faculty, and community member needs and values remains a top priority for supporting positive experiences and success at the University. Through joint collaboration of GSAPP faculty and students, COD – a student-focused committee – addresses issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and equity in the practice of professional psychology. The committee uses community-based approaches to offer opportunities for outreach and diversity training, education, and amplification of the practice of multicultural psychology. The RCAAS maintains active participation in these efforts as a subsidiary of GSAPP and reflects many of these actions in our daily governance and operations.
By definition, the RCAAS exists to support a neurodiverse population – adults on the autism spectrum. Our mission is to build a safe and resourceful environment that celebrates diversity and fosters inclusivity for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We want our staff, students, program participants, and families to feel supported and valued regardless of their race, religion, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or any other protected category under federal, state, and local law. As a one-of-a-kind comprehensive support program for adults with ASD, we combat prejudice and discrimination and strive to reduce stigma against those with ASD. We aim to accomplish this by educating our communities about these issues, serving as a leader in ASD research, and empowering our program participants with the necessary resources and tools to lead independent and fulfilling lives. Our innovation lies in our unique approach to neurodiversity across our four units: SCALE, CSP, PSC, and IOC. We are committed to hold difficult, yet critical, conversations in a safe and open space, and are proud to lead in this way with authenticity and transparency. The 2020 inception of the RCAAS e-newsletter, On The Spectrum in Adulthood, sparked many of these discussions, including a special edition issue on Social Injustice. Please help us continue to foster an understanding of and respect for cultural and individual diversity. We welcome your feedback and ongoing dialogue about these critical issues.