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Commitment to inclusion must be shared throughout university

When we kicked off our “see tomorrow.” strategic planning process last December, we were dedicated to ensuring that our 103-person planning committee was diverse.  Faculty, staff, and students from all 16 Colleges and the Libraries were represented, and our committee was almost equally divided between men and women.  To ensure that this diverse group was supported and nurtured by committee leadership, one of the criteria that we used to select our co-chairs was a heartfelt commitment to inclusivity.

The results were astounding.  At the end of the process, one of our co-chairs told me that he had watched one of his group members transform before his eyes.  She had blossomed from someone who was almost exclusively focused on her area of expertise to someone with a broad and campus-wide viewpoint.   She had become a vocal advocate for the inclusion of all perspectives in her group’s discussions and decision-making process, asking questions and seeking counsel from people from a wide variety of disciplines.

A commitment to inclusion has been integrated throughout the planning process, and the committee has been tirelessly dedicated to serving the Commonwealth by being a model of an inclusive community.  In the documents that they have composed, our committee has written of the importance of “bringing broad world views into our campus community, integrating those views and experiences thoughtfully and holistically, and creating a welcoming campus environment that is inclusive of people of all identities.”

Inspired by this great work, I recently wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review about the importance of creating an inclusive atmosphere in which all people feel respected and have access to the same opportunities.  I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to read it and share your thoughts and questions with me.  Here’s the link: http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/diversity-is-useless-without-inclusivity/ .

All the best,

Chris

P.S. Find me on Twitter @UKYProvost!

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