Imagine a University of Colorado Boulder where individual differences are viewed as a key strength of our university.
Think of a campus where people are not singled out, or marginalized because of their differences. Rather they are viewed as foundational to a vibrant community of learning and as critical to our success as physical infrastructure, technology, state and federal funding, or the support of donors and alumni.
Imagine what we could achieve as a university if we were to make these desired outcomes everyday realities.
We are embarking on a journey to create just this kind of CU-Boulder – a place where diversity and an ingrained commitment to making excellence inclusive define our community and our work. The challenge at hand is to engage, for the first time in our history, in a comprehensive effort to craft a strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence.
That plan will provide a new framework for how we understand diversity and equity, a blueprint for building a collaborative environment to achieve inclusive excellence, and a spark for ongoing dialogue that will shape our university in enduring ways. This effort is consistent with becoming the university we’ve always wanted to be – a community whose values are lived at a basic, fundamental level, and whose sense of itself as an inclusive, diverse community is apparent in all its work. We expect the outcome of the strategic planning process and the work it generates to have a major impact on our retention, revenue and reputation goals.
In May, our campus leadership kicked off a dialogue facilitated by our external consultants, Emeritus Consulting Group LLC. This all-day session helped us begin to define our current collective and individual understandings and experiences of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence.
Now, our charge as a university community is to further develop that understanding person by person and unit by unit, building on the work of individuals, departments, colleges and schools that sets the stage for a unified, complete, and transformative campus effort.
We believe that engaging in a campuswide conversation to define our collective understanding of inclusive excellence is critical. Such broad considerations will help us be clear about the behaviors and actions that support our values and identify practical ways to measure our progress in achieving our common goals.
Every department and administrative unit will be asked to engage in this dialogue and capture the results. This week the deans, chairs, directors, and unit heads will be meeting to discuss our path forward, and shortly after you will receive communication from them that will describe how you can participate in the process. Colleges, schools and other entities will submit their findings to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence Steering Committee. That group will condense the findings and confirm that each department’s and administrative unit’s intentions are reflected. The aggregation of these reports and recommendations will form the basis of our collective CU-Boulder plan moving forward.
We will make the results known to the campus at key intervals through public and internal communications. At key junctures, the campus will assess progress, asking ourselves if this effort is capturing the authentic voices, sentiments, and intentions of our community. Indeed, everyone’s voice must be valued, and broad participation is vital for this effort to succeed.
Know that my management team and I will engage in this process right along with you.
As events across our nation over the last year have demonstrated, the educational, civic, and national imperative has never been stronger to define what it is to make excellence inclusive in all that we do—and by what means we will do it.
I ask, again, for your full participation, as this is among the most important conversations in which our campus will ever engage to ensure our vitality and viability as a premier institution well into the future.
I know that, together, we are up to the task.