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Inclusive Excellence

Inclusive Excellence - NCU

Inclusive Excellence at NCU

What is Inclusive Excellence?

The Inclusive Excellence Framework helps us integrate diversity efforts across the university. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are catalysts for excellence and must be part of everything we do, not isolated initiatives.

At NCU, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are central to our mission and values. We don’t just talk- we’re taking actionable steps to ensure a more just and equitable society. As we evaluated our progress, and our goals yet to be achieved, we recognized the need for a systemic internal structure to support our efforts. To that end, we adopted the Inclusive Excellence Framework, developed by AAC&U, as part of our strategic plan in 2021.

Group of people

People in meeting

How Inclusive Excellence Works

The Inclusive Excellence Framework offers a structure to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion across the university’s operations. The core dimensions of Inclusive Excellence are:
  • Access and Success
  • Institutional Climate and Intergroup Relations
  • Education and Scholarship
  • Institutional Infrastructure
  • Community Engagement
Diversity, equity, and inclusion cannot be the work of one department. For that reason, each area of the university will be responsible for learning and integrating the framework into their operations. Three departments will work together to support implementation:
  • The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • The Center for Teaching and Learning
  • The Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness
These efforts are intentional, systemic, sustained, and central to NCU’s mission and values.

Inclusive Excellence Dimensions

Each dimension is individually important and knits together to form a cohesive strategy.

Access and Success

Increase diversity amongst faculty, staff, and student body.

  • Compositional diversity
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Career advancement

Institutional Climate and Intergroup Relations

Systemically promote an organizational climate that recognizes and celebrates diversity throughout daily operations while supporting and encouraging intergroup relations.
Do all community members feel:

  • Respected?
  • A sense of belonging?
  • Valued for their unique contributions?
  • Comfortable sharing/taking risks?
  • A sense of psychological safety- accepted for good intentions?

Education and Scholarship

Intentional engagement with domestic and international examples of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Building the capacity to critically reflect on historical and sociopolitical diversity. Inclusive excellence is apparent in scholarship, curriculum, teaching, and professional development activities.

  • Curriculum
  • Pedagogy
  • Professional development
  • Promotion of intercultural awareness

Institutional Infrastructure

Policies, resources, and organizational structure that enable sustained and systemic integration of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Using data driven metrics and evidence to improve decision-making and impact of DEI efforts.

  • Policies
  • Resources
  • Organizational and communication structures
  • Performance measures
  • Publish unit-level IE plans
  • Community Engagement

    How does institution engage with communities- in person and virtual spaces? How can we understand our impact- financial and social- on community partners?

    • How can we understand and track our impact- financial and social well-being?


    To guide inclusive practices, it’s important to have shared definitions for key concepts. To this end, Northcentral University has adopted the following definitions:

    A variety of identities exist among us in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, economic status, and education level, among others. We all make up our diverse work environment, and we are stronger because of the diversity that exists at NCU.

    Equity ensures that everyone has access to the same opportunities. To be equitable in our institution, we must be vigilant in identifying and dismantling opportunity and achievement gaps, paying particular attention to those who are historically underserved.

    Inclusion requires that we consider to what extent people from varying identities are valued, welcomed, respected, included, and leveraged within our environment. Inclusion requires that we actively, persistently, and systemically engage diversity across all aspects of the institution.

    Social justice is a recognition of the socio-political history that shapes power, privilege, and oppression, and is a commitment to policies, practices, and behaviors that strive for equitable outcomes and opportunities for all.

    Inclusive Excellence Media