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Definitions

The University’s inclusive excellence efforts are grounded in the below terms and definitions. These definitions resulted from the efforts of the Planning Committee for a Thriving and Inclusive Community in 2015, which informed the Thriving and Inclusive University Community pillar of the strategic plan, Forging Our Future, Building from Strength, and from the work of the President’s Advisory Committee on Making Excellence Inclusive.

Diversity: A state of having many forms of difference present in a community, often including a wide range of human differences. At its most basic, diversity refers to demographic difference, especially with respect to those demographic groups that have been historically restrained, excluded, or oppressed.

Equity: The ability of historically underrepresented populations to achieve results consistent with full participation. This includes the creation of opportunities for such populations to have equal access to and participate in professional and educational programs that close the achievement and outcomes gaps between populations. In higher education, equity can be achieved by eliminating disparities of opportunity, resources, and outcomes for historically underrepresented populations in ways that are consistent with the institutional commitment to full participation.

Inclusion: What a community does to demonstrate its commitment to diversity; how a community honors, values, and accepts diversity among its community members. Inclusivity is observable in the extent to which (a) community members feel a sense of belonging and (b) the community is equitable in its provision and distribution of opportunities among its members.

Intercultural Community: One in which there is a deep respect for, and practice of, the mutual exchange of ideas and cultural norms and the development of meaningful relationships. Listening, understanding, and empathy leave no one unchanged because we learn from each other and grow together.

Making Excellence Inclusive: An active process through which institutions identify inequities in the experiences and outcomes of students, faculty, and staff in order to address them systematically and ensure all members of our community can fully participate in the life of the institution.

Thriving: When a community fosters wellbeing among all its members, enables individuals to reach their full potential, and intentionally eliminates barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential, community members thrive. Thriving does not equate to happiness or being comfortable; resilience, stretching one’s potential, making decisions about a balanced and fulfilling life, and giving oneself permission to fail are all dimensions of thriving.