Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rasmussen University
Transformative Education for All
We believe higher education is about more than taking courses and earning a degree; it is about being challenged by different perspectives and learning to communicate with respect. It is about opportunities that could change your life—and the support to make it possible. Diversity, equity and inclusion are not just abstract goals for Rasmussen University. They are critical to our purpose.
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Our DEI Purpose Statement
Rasmussen University promotes diversity awareness; respect for multiple perspectives; equity for all students, staff and faculty; and inclusion among all University stakeholders in and out of the classroom.
Where We Started
During the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s, Rasmussen University offered career-driven courses that allowed women to join the workforce. While there was—and still is—more to be done for other minorities, it is this spirit of equality that has helped steer our school over the past 120+ years.
Where We Are Now
We are proud to serve a diverse student body—made up of different genders, ages, races and ethnicities. By offering flexible, affordable programs and step-by-step support, we aim to make education more accessible for everyone.
of students are women
of students are over the age of 25
of students are of color3
Teaching Diversity and Teamwork in Every Program
Working on a diverse team is something every student should be able to do—regardless of their degree. That’s why diversity and teamwork, along with five other transferable skills, are integrated into every program at Rasmussen University. Not only do we focus on the core technical skills that employers value, but the core qualities that are essential to being successful in society and the workforce.Learn more about transferable skills at Rasmussen
Increasing Access through Empowered Learning™ and Knowledge Credit™
With jobs, families and other responsibilities, traditional education doesn't work for everyone. But it doesn’t have to. We are dedicated to offering alternative paths to a degree. Empowered Learning™ offers flexible course schedules, and Knowledge Credit™ allows students to get credit for what they already know, saving them time and money on their education.
Listening and Learning through Rasmussen Real Talk
In 2020, after the murder of George Floyd in an area close to home for many of our Minnesota campuses, it became clear that we needed an outlet for honest conversation. In an on-going discussion series called Rasmussen Real Talk, students and faculty come together to listen, seek community and talk about topics including community policing, anti-Asian hate and more.
Celebrating First-Generation College Students
One in four students at Rasmussen University tell us they are the first in their families to attend college.1 You can read some of their stories in our News Center, including that of Pang Houa Vang-Yang, a first-generation Rasmussen alum. Read more
Another way to understand this community is through the results of a 2020 survey sent to all first-gen students at Rasmussen:2
- 95% of respondents pursued higher education to fulfill a personal goal
- 33% of respondents already had some college experience
- 25% of respondents were between the ages of 26 and 30
- 63% of respondents chose Rasmussen University because of flexible course schedules
As we learn more about the strengths and needs of first-gen students, we are dedicated to making sure they feel uniquely seen and supported.
Recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day
In our January 2021 discussion, “His Dream Deferred: The State of Dr. King's Dream and How We can Advance it Together,” a panel of community leaders came together to discuss the significance of Dr. King’s legacy and how it affects civil rights today.
Pride Month Series
June 08, 2022 at 2:00 PM
Celebrate Pride Month with Rasmussen University. Join us for our first Pride Month virtual event featuring Marshall Turner, Director of Operations for The Center Orlando, for a timely presentation about Gender Identity on June 8 at 2:00 PM (Central).
Pride Month Series
June 15, 2022 at 2:00 PM
Celebrate Pride Month with Rasmussen University. Join us for our second Pride Month virtual event featuring a moderated discussion on Allyship & Promoting a Safe Learning Community on June 15 at 2:00 PM (Central).
Check back soon for more events!
Autism Acceptance Month Lunch and Learn
April 20, 2022
The Rasmussen University DEI Council hosted an Autism Acceptance Month Lunch and Learn, featuring guest speaker John Mindiola. John is the department chair for the School of Design and General Education at Rasmussen. He shared his personal story of his life with an autistic son, as well as helped attendees learn how to continue to build an inclusive community where people with autism are embraced and supported to achieve their best life.
Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day
January 14, 2022
The DEI Council hosted a panel discussion featuring community leaders who talked about what it means to be a member of a beloved community.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
October 04, 2021
Among many other events for Hispanic Heritage Month, Rasmussen University hosted a discussion centered around the 2021 theme of “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.”
Our DEI Leaders
MaNesha Stiff, PhD
Dr. MaNesha Stiff currently serves as the director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rasmussen University. In addition to this role, Dr. Stiff is the principal DEI consultant at Metanoia Solutions Consulting, LLC and is president of the Illinois chapter of the Association of Black Women in Higher Education (ABWHE). She holds many credentials, including a Master’s degree of Management in Higher Education Administration from North Park University and a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Capella University.
In her spare time, Dr. Stiff enjoys spending time with her family, making her friends laugh uncontrollably and playing with her Yorkie (Honeychild) and schnauzer (Velvet). She also enjoys working with her mentoring group “NE.R.DY (No Exceptions. Represent. Do You.) Brown Girls.”
DEI Council Leadership
With over 70 members, this council is focused on institutional DEI training and critical conversations as well as DEI-related holidays, recognition and awareness.
DEI Steering Committee
This committee is responsible for strategic planning, decision making and accountability regarding DEI initiatives at Rasmussen University.
Statements to the Community
As an institution of higher education, it’s important that we speak out on events that affect our students, faculty and community. To cultivate a space where people feel safe to express themselves, we are dedicated to getting the conversation started.
- This figure represents data that was volunteered by active and "temporary out" students during the application process between August 2016 and October 2021. A first-generation student is defined by neither parent having attended a postsecondary institution.
- This survey was conducted by Rasmussen University in November 2020.
- Rasmussen University Current Enrollment Demographics, March 2021