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Give Students a Compass

Making Excellence Inclusive

Making Excellence Inclusive is the guiding principle that underlies all AAC&U work on issues of access and student success. It is a unifying vision 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 operations. Through the lens of inclusive excellence, AAC&U re-envisions diversity and inclusion as a multi-layered process through which we achieve excellence in learning; research and teaching; student development; institutional functioning; local and global community engagement; workforce development; and more.

The framework rests on the belief that a high-quality, practical liberal education should be the standard of excellence for all students. The task of "making excellence inclusive" requires that we uncover inequities in student success, identify effective educational practices to address them, and build such practices organically into the design of general education.

Key Definitions:

Diversity: Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social  differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).

Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.

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