The following guide provides definitions and points of reference to create a common understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion work as it relates to action planning at the unit level to create a more inclusive campus for all members of the CU Boulder community.


Diversity refers to the numerical representation of faculty, staff and students who hold individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, ability, and cultural, political, religious or other affiliations) with special focus on historically minoritized identities (adapted from AAC&U).


Equity requires attention to disparate impact, differential access, opportunities afforded to various communities, and structural and systemic barriers that limit potential and possibilities (DeLuca Fernández & Wong, 2020).


Inclusion refers to the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity––in decision-making, sense-making, curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural and geographical) with which individuals might connect––in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions (adapted from AAC&U).


Intersectional addresses the complex, systemic and cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism and classism) combine, overlap or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups (Merriam-Webster, 2022).

Organizational Development

Organizational Development is a critical and science-based process that helps organizations build their capacity to change and achieve greater effectiveness by developing, improving, and reinforcing strategies, structures and processes (adapted from Cummings & Worley, 2009).

Social Justice

Social Justice “... is both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable, and all members are psychologically and physically safe and secure.” (Bell, 2013, p. 21