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Inclusive Excellence

A Mission Imperative

Inclusive Excellence is the recognition that a college or university’s ability to successfully advance its mission is dependent on how fully it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, trustees, alumni, institutional partners and guests. Operationalizing Inclusive Excellence leads to infusing diversity into the institution’s recruiting, admissions, hiring and promotion processes; into its curriculum and co-curriculum, and into its administrative structures and practices. Informed by and responsive to UD’s Catholic and Marianist mission, Inclusive Excellence requires a fundamental transformation of the institution calling for it to embrace and implement means for the comprehensive, cohesive, coherent and collaborative amalgamation of diversity and inclusion into the university’s understanding and pursuit of excellence.

The definition of Inclusive Excellence is intended to be flexible enough to be “localized” by a campus while also retaining basic principles to guide a national movement and to connect campuses in these efforts. The definition consists of four primary elements1

  1. A focus on student intellectual and social development. Academically, it means offering the best possible course of study for the context in which the education is offered.
  2. A purposeful development and utilization of organizational resources to enhance student learning. Organizationally, it means establishing an environment that challenges each student to achieve academically at high levels and each member of the campus to contribute to learning and knowledge development.
  3. Attention to the cultural differences learners bring to the educational experience and that enhance the enterprise.
  4. A welcoming community that engages all of its diversity in the service of student and organizational learning.

[1] Adopted from Damon Williams’ Strategic Diversity Leadership Approach, 2013, and Insight Into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award Criteria, 2017. 


Achieving Equitable Educational Outcomes

Discusses the responsibility that institutions have to examine the impact that traditional higher education practices have on those students historically underserved by higher education.

Making Diversity Work on Campus

Discusses the conception of diversity as a process toward better learning rather than as an outcome—a certain percentage of students of color, a certain number of programs—to be checked off a list.

Toward a Model of Inclusive Excellence

Discusses a framework for comprehensive organizational change to help campuses achieve inclusive excellence; the “big picture”—an academy that systematically leverages diversity for student learning and institutional excellence.

Additional Resources

Making Excellence Inclusive is AAC&U’s guiding principle for access, student success, and high-quality learning. It is designed to help colleges and universities integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations.


Office of Diversity and Inclusion

St. Mary's Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1626