Inclusive Excellence: UConn Builds Capacity for Diversity and ChangeReport as inadecuate

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Connection: The Journal of the New England Board of Higher Education, v21 n1 p17-19 Sum 2006

For the past several years, the University of Connecticut has been carrying out an ambitious plan in pursuit of what the Association of American Colleges and Universities calls "inclusive excellence." The idea is that true excellence should be measured by how well campus systems, structures and processes meet the needs of "all" students, regardless of socioeconomic, racial, gender or other characteristics. At UConn, standard indicators of excellence such as SAT scores are at an all-time high across the entering class, and so is enrollment of historically underrepresented African-American and Latino students. UConn is also retaining and graduating minority students at rates that are among the nation's highest. The university has recorded a slight increase in the ethnic and racial diversity of the faculty. There is no magic formula for achieving inclusive excellence. In this article, the author discusses the following lessons from the UConn experience: (1) Diversity has to be a campus-wide priority; (2) An empowered, formal diversity infrastructure is essential; (3) Bubble-up energy and entrepreneurial strategies are essential to change; and (4) A shift in administrative systems is needed to accommodate the needs of historically underrepresented populations.

Descriptors: Minority Groups, College Students, College Faculty, School Holding Power, Adoption (Ideas), Inclusive Schools, Cultural Pluralism, Institutional Environment, Diversity (Faculty), Student Diversity, Change Strategies

New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: connection[at]; Web site:

Author: Williams, Damon A.


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