An Update on Making Excellence Inclusive  

As the semester continues following our observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Dr. King’s words, life and example remain on our minds. In the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE), we strive to act with commitment and the passion embodied by Dr. King in our work to create new approaches, partnerships, policies, and procedures that advance diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels. I would like to provide you with an update on where that work stands at the moment, and where we are going.

First, let me begin by answering a question I receive frequently: “what has happened to our inclusive excellence narratives?” As many of you are aware, 90+ inclusive excellence narratives were submitted to ODECE from across campus. They define how academic and administrative units intend to make the practice of achieving excellence more inclusive.

Our initial concept was to work with each of these units, separately and together, to create a CU Boulder definition of Inclusive Excellence based on the narratives. Once we reviewed and synthesized these narratives – a lengthy process – we determined it was more important to create and develop new programs to support what the units described and requested.

For example, it became clear to us that many on campus want 1) to highlight and expand resources to help units achieve inclusive excellence; 2) to cultivate cultural change across campus so that all people feel a sense of “fit” at CU Boulder and 3) to support promising practices for hiring and retaining people from underrepresented groups at our institution. We worked with a variety of partners to provide responses to those themes.

In 2017, we expanded resources for inclusive pedagogy and created a series of ongoing professional development workshops. Faculty from more than 20 departments participated in these workshops and more workshops are planned, all with the goal of responding to issues of concern within the classroom that can make the learning experience better for students and faculty alike. We also developed an inclusive pedagogy community of practice for faculty, staff and students, designed to facilitate honest conversations about how to respond to tensions around differences as part of the process of authentic teaching and learning. We had strong participation in each of these “brave space” conversations, and they provide strategies and techniques for diffusing tense situations in real time.

To foster a sense of belonging for all students and respond to results of the most recent campus climate survey, the Division of Student Affairs has embarked on initiatives to create supportive and educational spaces for students to engage in dialogue through Living and Learning Communities. Student Affairs also initiated and invested in intercultural competence development for faculty and staff, as well as pilot programs for students, using the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) model.  After launching IDI, the Student Affairs partnered with Human Resources to further develop and implement the program across campus.

In addition, Chief Human Resources Officer Katherine Erwin has over the last year added three key positions:  a diversity search and outreach program manager, a diversity education and training program manager, and a staff career development advisor and program manager. Together, the team will implement new campus protocols to increase the recruiting, hiring and professional development of a diverse faculty and staff workforce, and further educate the campus on how to create a more inclusive workplace.

Looking ahead, these partners and others such as the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) and the Office of Data Analytics (in the Division of Strategic Resources and Support) will launch the new Campus Climate Survey for 2019, compiling data on how individuals and communities view life and learning at CU Boulder, leading to new programs and actions that build inclusive excellence and strengthen communities on campus.

Moreover, we collaborated with the Provost, CFO, and Deans to develop the Strategic, Targeted, and Accelerated Recruitment Program (STAR), designed to incentivize the hiring and retaining of faculty whose scholarship, teaching, or service contribute to CU’s diversity and inclusion missions. We have made three hires under this program this year and the Provost and CFO have committed a minimum of $2M over the next five years to continue the program. You may find additional information on the website, and an announcement regarding 2018 STAR proposals will occur later this semester.

Moving ahead, we are focused on hosting the Spring Diversity and Inclusion Summit Feb. 13th with a theme of “Finding our Way” – challenging ourselves and our community to make individual and collective contributions to diversity and inclusion. Following will be the Inclusive Sports Summit Feb. 14-15. We will also move to complete our campus Diversity, Inclusion and Academic Excellence Plan as a roadmap for our future, and a communications plan that will highlight for our community and make more visible the results of the campus’s multi-faceted work in diversity, equity, inclusion and campus climate improvement.   

I look forward to updating you on these and other efforts in the coming editions of CU Boulder Today.  

Bob Boswell

Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement 

Overview of CU Boulder's Planning to Make Excellence Inclusive

As outlined by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), a professional organization of which CU Boulder is a part, we are collectively on a journey to make excellence inclusive. In order to chart a successful course for the campus on diversity, inclusion, and institutional excellence, CU Boulder is developing the Diversity, Inclusion and Academic Excellence Plan, which will be complete in 2018.

As a campus, the intent is to achieve a cultural change at CU Boulder so that all students, faculty, staff and administration feel a sense of “fit” at CU Boulder within their respective roles.

A simple diversity planning model, conceptualized as a Venn Diagram, will allow us to consider our forward momentum, unit by unit and department by department as we all work toward cultural change. Using the diversity planning model will help our campus partners articulate concisely what they are already doing, and what they intend to do, in order to make excellence inclusive at the local level. ODECE, therefore, will also present its work in these terms.

This work is purposeful, mindful, and incremental, but we are confident that articulating and planning for inclusive cultural change will allow our institution to shine even brighter as the University of Colorado's flagship for academic excellence.

Our completed plan will produce a common understanding of CU Boulder’s vision, mission and strategic goals regarding diversity and inclusion.

Both strategic actions and strategic innovations are necessary for cultural change; shown as a Venn Diagram with cultural change in the middle.

Upon completion, the Diversity, Inclusion and Academic Excellence Plan will:

  • Reflect an evolving definition of diversity and inclusion at CU Boulder
  • Provide concrete recommendations for achieving diversity goals and action items in support of those goals
  • ​Define assessment tools that will be used to determine progress towards specific goals and identify initiatives requiring modification
  • Prioritize recommendations based on those most likely to have an immediate and positive impact on inclusive excellence and campus climate