Envisioning a Culture of Inclusive Excellence
The strategic plan for diversity and inclusion at University of Lynchburg, Envisioning a Culture of Inclusive Excellence, serves as a guide towards the realization of Vision 2020+’s Engagement objective 1.4. In order for Lynchburg to be nationally recognized as a leader for student engagement, its commitment to diversity will need to be apparent through a campus community environment where all faculty, staff, and students feel welcomed and are treated with respect. This document provides the action steps the university is committed to taking to ensure the welcoming and respectful environment desired for all community members is achieved.
Discovering our differences, understanding our differences, and accepting our differences, this is the key to true diversity and inclusion. An environment like this can only be created through our experiences together.
Nat Marshall, Board President
University of Lynchburg envisions a community of inclusive excellence where community members are informed, open-minded, and attentive to diversity across the spectrum of differences. To achieve this goal, Lynchburg’s community members will consistently provide thought-provoking dialogues and educational opportunities in order to celebrate the vast array of differences on campus.
Lynchburg recognizes that inclusive excellence occurs when individuals seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities, and address the world’s most pressing and enduring issues collaboratively and equitably. Diversity is essential to this vision. Diversity reflects every sector of our society. Diversity is defined as 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). Through a commitment to Vision 2020+, Lynchburg embraces diversity and strives for inclusive excellence. Inclusive excellence is achieved when everyone within our community feels welcomed, considered, respected, and included.
The recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and workforce is essential to achieve this vision of a community of inclusive excellence. It is important to realize that an increase in diverse numbers alone does not equate to inclusive success. To achieve this vision of inclusive excellence, the Lynchburg campus community embraces the goals outlined in this document, as an extension of Vision 2020+. This vision does not exclude any particular group in society, nor does it abridge academic freedom, freedom of speech, or the educational mission of University of Lynchburg. To the contrary, this vision ensures that all have equal access to benefits associated with attending University of Lynchburg.
Three words coalesce for me: love, respect, inclusion. All three are essential for any community to thrive and endure. Love and respect create the attractive force that draws all of humanity together in a common bond. The result is inclusion and with it comes a synergistic impact that raises the community to higher levels of attainment for each and every one of its members.
As an institution of higher learning, it is our duty to be inclusive in every dimension of our existence. It is the right thing to do.
President, Dr. Kenneth R. Garren
Inclusive Excellence Plan Development
On October 21, 2016, the Board of Trustees approved Vision 2020+, a plan to propel Lynchburg forward. Lynchburg’s institutional values demonstrate commitment to an inclusive community. These values, combined with Vision 2020+’s commitment to a campus community climate where all faculty, staff, and students feel welcomed and are treated with respect, demonstrate Lynchburg’s commitment to achieve inclusive excellence. This document outlines an Inclusive Excellence Plan to achieve this vision.
In December of 2016, President Ken Garren announced the creation of the new Office of Equity and Inclusion located within the Flynn Multicultural Center in the Drysdale Student Center. This office was created to help strengthen equity & inclusion efforts as the campus community continues to diversify. The office serves as a hub for inclusivity, working on outreach, programming, and training and development for all campus members. The office includes the collaboration between the Diversity and Inclusion Officer, the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Multicultural Services, and the President’s Equity and Inclusion Fellow. The unique reporting structure of this office allows for inclusive excellence to permeate throughout the campus in the three divisions that interact with the immediate campus community: Academic Affairs, Business & Finance, and Student Development.
The Office of Equity and Inclusion, in conjunction with campus constituents have developed this strategic plan, to be adopted in Fall 2017 in order to clearly state the institution’s goals for achieving inclusive excellence.