Making Excellence Inclusive
History, Mission and Vision
The Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity (OUD&I) is committed to “Making Excellence Inclusive” (AAC&U) by strategically working to enhance the campus climate through embedding diversity and educational equity in all aspects of the university. Cal Poly is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse and culturally competent campus community that engages in a curricular and co-curricular learning environment that incorporates the Learn By Doing philosophy. OUD&I is identified as a vital asset in guiding university-wide initiatives through collaborative relationships with departments to foster inclusion and uphold the institution’s comprehensive polytechnic mission.
Inclusive Excellence at Cal Poly
The concept of “Inclusive Excellence” (short for “Making Excellence Inclusive”) was adopted by Cal Poly in 2009, based on an initiative of the Association of American College & Universities (AAC&U). It is grounded in four principles:
- In higher education, an excellent institution is an inclusive institution.
- All students should have the opportunity to succeed.
- All students benefit educationally from participating in a community where people differ from one another.
- In order to be successful as citizens and workers, graduates must be prepared to live and work in a diverse world.
AAC&U’s Inclusive Excellence initiative was designed to help colleges and universities fully integrate their diversity and educational quality efforts and embed them into the core of academic mission and institutional functioning.
In 1994, Cal Poly submitted to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) a “Fourth Year Report” regarding progress made since regional accreditation had been reaffirmed in 1990. Included in the report were the following statements:
Diversity is one of Cal Poly’s highest priorities. Diversity Goals have been incorporated into the University’s and the Colleges’ strategic plans. College deans will now be held accountable for meeting diversity goals, and enrollment targets will be adjusted each year to reflect their relative success in doing so.
In 1998, the Academic Senate adopted, and the campus President approved, resolutions on “The Academic Value of Diversity” and “The Cal Poly Statement on Diversity” recommending that the administration “actively reaffirm the academic value of diversity among its faculty, staff, students, and within the curriculum,” and that plans and strategies be devised “to promulgate and implement the diversity and educational objectives” outlined in the documents.
University Diversity Enhancement Council (UDEC) was established in 1999. UDEC was charged with addressing climate issues, increasing cultural competence, and making recommendations to the president’s office on the implementation of educational programs related to diversity, inclusivity and campus climate.
In its letter reaffirming Cal Poly’s accreditation in 2000, the WASC Commission noted the institution’s own finding that “the lack of diversity is considered a threat to the quality of student learning” and urged “the institution to reinforce and strengthen its efforts to integrate diversity goals within the framework of its learning centers.”
From 2009 to 2012, Cal Poly went through the WASC accreditation process. This process required Cal Poly to engage in a self-study and to take a critical look at many facets of campus life and academic scholarship. In the reaccreditation report, Cal Poly received strong marks in many areas and recommendations for future improvement. One of the areas again noted for needed improvement was the area of diversity and inclusion. Cal Poly established in 2010 the Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity (OUD&I), which works with the campus to address diversity related issues and fostering an inclusive campus climate.
A number of strategic actions and efforts has been done in the area of diversity and inclusivity. This is an on-going effort of this office and the university to bring about important and critical change in campus climate, diversity and inclusion. To view these efforts refer to the following Diversity & Inclusion Action Plans.