More about IE

A page within Diversity & Inclusion

Learn More about the Inclusive Excellence Initiative

From the Association of American Colleges and Universities:

"Inclusive Excellence" (IE) is an initiative of the Association of American Colleges ad Universities (AAC&U). UW System adopted IE in 2009. AAC&U's Inclusive Excellence initiative focuses on teaching and learning. It advocates four goals:

  1. Achieving academic equity in inclusive, welcoming settings.
  2. Teaching and learning the skills, knowledge, and mindsets students need in order to make constructive contributions in an increasingly diverse society.
  3. Creating a climate in classrooms and on campus that supports all students.
  4. Developing learning opportunities that assume difference is a asset to problem-solving.

Want even more? Try AAC&U's commissioned reports on the IE initiative: Making Diversity Work on Campus: A Research-Based Perspective  [pdf], by Jeffrey F. Milem, Mitchell J. Chang, and Anthony Lising Antonio; Achieving Equitable Educational Outcomes with All Students: The Institution's Roles and Responsibilities [pdf], by Georgia L. Bauman, Leticia Tomas Bustillos, Estela Mara Bensimon, M. Christopher Brown III, and RoSusan D. Bartee; and Toward a Model of Inclusive Excellence and Change in Postsecondary Institutions [pdf], by Damon A. Williams, Joseph B. Berger, and Shederick A. McClendon.

From UW-System:
UW System views IE as a planning process "to help each UW System institution establish a comprehensive and well-coordinated set of systemic actions that focus specifically on fostering greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and accountability at every level of university life. . . Above all, Inclusive Excellence asks us to actively manage diversity as a vital and necessary asset of collegiate life rather than as an external problem." To learn more about UW System's understanding of the initiative, go here:

See also System's final report to the Board of Regents on Plan 2008, introducing Inclusive Excellence: Report on Plan 2008.pdf. The table on the benefits of diversity to the right is on page


Given that higher education institutions are more than just places for teaching and learning (e.g., they are also workplaces, and for some, home), UWL has adopted this definition of IE: "Inclusive Excellence is our active, intentional, and ongoing commitment to bridge differences with understanding and respect so all can thrive."  


Key Points:
IE asks us to view diversity as a real-world factor that helps everyone learn better when it is engaged deliberately.

IE asks us to shift our thinking from diversity as a goal in itself (typically focused on numbers) to diversity as part of the educational process.

IE expands the populations considered "diverse" while still focusing on historically-excluded populations such as students of color.

IE asks us to recognize that diversity and inclusion are everyone's job just as much as excellence is.

Smarter and Happier!
"The Individual, Institutional, Private Business, and Societal Benefits of Diversity" (click to enlarge)
Benefits of Diversity