Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Research and Learning

The events of 2020 have sparked an awakening to long-standing inequalities in our society. As a result, students and researchers are looking to their libraries and universities for insights and information from a wider variety of perspectives, including those of people who have been historically marginalized.


The events of 2020 have sparked an awakening to long-standing inequalities in our society. As a result, students and researchers are looking to their libraries and universities for insights and information from a wider variety of perspectives, including those of people who have been historically marginalized.

It’s an awakening that’s long overdue. In a recent interview, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, professor of African American history at Ohio State University, explained most us have been taught a version of history that doesn’t adequately explain the role of slavery in the foundation of the U.S. and its ongoing impact on race relations. So, according to Jeffries, it becomes necessary to teach “hard history” by looking truthfully at the past from the perspectives of people who have traditionally been overlooked or intentionally ignored.

Teaching hard history means re-centering the historical narrative to include the humanity – the lives and experiences – of those who were under represented, such as those who were enslaved.

“Ultimately, we are talking about the story of this nation, which includes all of us,” he said. “We need to stop solely identifying with whiteness in the past which leads us to identify with enslavers rather than the enslaved.”

According to Jeffries, “No young person today is responsible for anything that happened in the past, but they are responsible for tomorrow, and we have to prepare them for the challenges ahead. And the way to prepare for tomorrow is by helping students understand how they got there,” he said. “That’s why we have to teach the truth.”

Supporting students’ and researchers’ search for “truth” means providing resources that represent diverse users and exposing perspectives regardless of race – or gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, class and political and religious belief.

But finding such content can be challenging and labor-intensive. And as libraries struggle to expand collections and services to make them more diverse and inclusive, budgets continue to tighten.

ProQuest Can Help

At ProQuest, we believe knowledge and trusted information leads to progress and change, and we are committed (and continuously learning how) to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable in the products and services we provide. We’re committed to doing so in ways that are authentic, authoritative and affordable.

ProQuest’s goal has long been to make marginalized voices heard. We provide dynamic, multi-format databases curated in alignment with diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in research and learning. We offer one-of-a-kind, multi-format collections developed in collaboration with faculty and librarian advisors, as well as prestigious publishers and production companies. Our partnerships with organizations like the NAACP, Chicago Defender and so many others enable students to experience content with authentic voices. Such topics as politics, immigration, Indigenous rights, disability studies, women’s history, LGBTQ/gender studies and the Black Freedom Struggle can be explored in multiple different formats.

Video, newspapers, books, magazines, scholarly journals, dissertations, historical documents and organizational records provide students and researchers with extraordinary opportunities to piece together insights and information from a variety of perspectives, over different periods of time, so they can draw their own conclusions about historical people and events – based on facts and evidence.

To help libraries provide access to these critical resources, ProQuest offers special pricing, unique access models, purchasing plans, user analytics and other features that can support spending decisions in alignment with the unique needs of your institution.

Our Dedication to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

ProQuest’s commitment extends beyond the content we provide. We are continuously challenging ourselves and deepening our own understanding of what diversity, equity and inclusion mean in research and learning via internal guest speaker presentations, training sessions, discussions with members of our advisory boards and on-going conversations with faculty, librarians, students and researchers.

These partnerships inform how we build our collections and we share what we learn with our users through webinars, blog posts, case studies, video presentations and resource guides that are free and available to anyone who is looking for inspiration and ideas.

Of course, while words are important, actions are needed for change to happen. ProQuest recognizes and embraces our responsibility to help create a better, more equitable and more compassionate future. Some of our efforts include:

  • We made a $25,000 donation to support the important work of the Legal Defense and Education Fund at the NAACP, a group whose partnership has been very meaningful to ProQuest.
  • We are continuing our long-standing alliance with the American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholarship program, making another three-year commitment totaling $173,000 to support the education of librarians who represent the under-represented in the library community.
  • We’re soon launching our open Black Struggle website featuring primary source materials related to civil rights, available and free of charge to anyone interested in learning more about African-American freedom movements in the U.S.

Let us be your partner for solutions that will meet the needs of your institution and its unique community of students, scholars and educators. Explore how we can work together to support diversity, equity and inclusion in teaching, research and learning.





Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing