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Inclusive Excellence Council History

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 President Baker 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.

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.”

President Baker’s 2002 Fall Convocation speech focused on student success, diversity, and civility.

In early 2010, the Office of Inclusive Excellence was established, within the Office of the President, for the purpose of providing implementation advice and support to the president and vice presidents. The IE office was headed by an associate vice president. A number of initiatives were undertaken, including the training of a cadre of faculty and staff to provide IE-related presentations and workshops to other Cal Poly employees, and the implementation on a pilot basis of a program entitled Intergroup Dialogues that has been widely adopted (and shown to be effective) at other universities around the country. More details are provided in later pages of this report.

Toward the end of 2011, newly arrived President Armstrong decided to pursue a different organizational model that more clearly emphasizes that it is everyone's responsibility to address diversity and campus climate issues. Subsequently, in August 2012, a search was initiated for a new position that will report to the president, with the title Executive Director for Campus Diversity andInclusivity.

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