As a public research institution, the University of Missouri recognizes that research, knowledge creation, and education are tremendously enhanced by the full engagement of diverse perspectives, derived from a variety of lived experiences, interactions and interpretations. We are an academic community that boldly pursues full inclusion as a value and a central component of our educational approach.
To demonstrate this commitment, the University of Missouri Board of Curators announced a series of initiatives to address the System’s climate pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. These initiatives included a comprehensive diversity audit, a climate survey, and additional funding for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff under the purview of the chief diversity officer on each campus.
Additionally, Dr. Kevin McDonald was hired as the UM System Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and MU Interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in June 2016. Over the following year, McDonald sought input from stakeholders across the university for a framework to anchor MU’s diversity and inclusion efforts. This led to MU and the UM System adopting the Inclusive Excellence Framework in June 2017.
In July 2017, UM System President Mun Choi and Dr. McDonald issued a call to the chancellors at the four institutions to draft specific plans to ensure Inclusive Excellence at their institutions. The DEI Advisory Council and its chair, Dr. S. David Mitchell, reviewed each plan and made funding allocation recommendations. The DEI Advisory Council is comprised of faculty, staff, and student representatives from MU, UMKC, Missouri S&T, UMSL and the UM System.
Inclusive Excellence is a framework to anchor and embed diversity, inclusion and equity into the fabric of MU. It is metric-driven, requiring the university’s units to use data to measure the effectiveness of their programs and practices. Adopting and implementing Inclusive Excellence at the University of Missouri has opened our collective imagination and created space for academic and administrative units to make inclusion a priority in ways not previously envisioned. The university will be a more productive and innovative place for learning, creativity and scholarship once we create the conditions for its people to thrive within and across differences in background, culture, experiences, orientations and ability.
The 2017-18 MU Inclusive Excellence plan is the first instance of campus-wide investment in diversity and inclusion initiatives. It describes current and planned activities from each school, college and administrative unit. Each unit was given the latitude to develop its own process for crafting its plan. The individual unit plans were then compiled to form the aggregate Inclusive Excellence Plan for MU.
The activities in the MU plan include both smaller-scale projects, such as adding captioning for events in Student Affairs, and large-scale projects with transformative potential such as developing holistic admissions processes in the School of Health Professions. Campus units committed to over 600 activities including the revision of marketing materials, scholarships for undergraduates, education and professional development for staff and faculty, creation of pathways to undergraduate and graduate study, and community outreach to underserved populations.
UM System DEI will use annual funds set aside by the UM System Board of Curators to incentivize the Inclusive Excellence efforts and reward exceptional programs. In the first year of the Inclusive Excellence awards process, MU requested funding for 56 projects of varying scope. Thirty-one of those were either fully or partially funded, totaling just under $1.5 million in incentive funding.
The Inclusive Excellence Framework has been endorsed by leaders in both our campus and local communities.
Mun Choi, UM System President
“The University of Missouri System recognizes that the success of our institutions is dependent on our engagement and inclusion of the diverse perspectives, experiences and talents of our students, faculty, and staff. The Inclusive Excellence Framework is critical to transformational student learning, successful institutional operations, and our local and global engagement. By enacting the Inclusive Excellence plans throughout the university, we are demonstrating our commitment to inclusivity, equity, and diversity. I am so proud of our faculty, students, and staff for their efforts in making MU a more inclusive and welcoming environment.”
Brian Treece, City of Columbia Mayor
“Access, opportunity, inclusion, and diversity are critical for better outcomes and superior results. I am proud to lead a city that values diversity. Committing to these principles with not-for-profit, business, and industry leaders helps our community build a democracy and economy that works for everyone.”
Stephanie Browning, Director Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services
“Over the last five years, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services has been working intentionally to improve health equity. Being a part of the first cohort of the Inclusive Excellence Business Journey has helped me to think about how we, as a department, reflect the community we serve and how we prepare our workforce to meet our community needs. Meeting and working with other organizations allowed me to learn what others in different work settings are doing. Such a great learning opportunity.
Krista Meyer, Director of Continuous Improvement with Heart of Missouri United Way
“A partnership between the University of Missouri’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE) and Heart of Missouri United Way began in the fall of 2017 with the intention of delivering grant funding to agencies for projects that are intentionally designed to incorporate the five dimensions of the Inclusive Excellence Framework into their work. Projects fall under the five dimensions of the Framework. Projects are designed to address deficiencies in one or more dimensions. The dimensions create a framework that will assist agencies in monitoring the progress of diversity and inclusion efforts to ensure that they remain integrated, intentional, and central to the core of the agency’s mission. A series of meetings culminated in a grant to Heart of Missouri United Way in the amount of $25,000 for funding one-time agency capacity building projects. In July, 2018, Heart of Missouri United Way granted the funds to six of its partner agencies, including Mary Lee Johnston Community Learning Center, Job Point, Grade A Plus, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, First Chance for Children, and Voluntary Action Center.”