Inclusive Excellence Framework

The collaborative IE model for organizational change has been a national movement in postsecondary education since 2005 and calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to achieving excellence.

The IE framework will help us bring action and meaningful public accountability to our work of creating a clear path for the United Way to be what we know it can be – both great and good.

Dimensions of Inclusive Communities Framework

The IE framework is designed as a comprehensive but flexible structure for engaged, intentional, and systemic self-study across all areas of organizational functioning. Once a functional area or an organization/school/department has studied their areas of strength and their areas of strategic opportunity, specific priorities are named in each dimension that are accompanied by action plans with measurable results. Expand a dimension below to learn more about the types of activities that are the focus of inquiry and strategic action development.

Access & Success

This dimension refers to the compositional diversity among the organization’s constituent groups (staff, faculty, students, visitors, patients, alumni, customers, community partners, etc.) and their context-specific outcomes or benefits gained from their relationships with the organization. Processes like recruitment, retention, development, and long term outcomes (graduation, tenure, career advancement, etc.) are the key focus of this dimension. Reflection questions to be engaged in this dimension include things like:

  • How do we invite people to join us (recruitment)?
  • Who gets to be here (admissions/hiring)?
  • How do we provide support (advising/career ladders)?
  • Who benefits and how (graduation/career outcomes)?

Climate & Intergroup Relations

This dimension refers to what it feels like for individuals to be here, and the behavioral experiences and norms that are present. Effective and innovative cultures depend on individuals feeling comfortable to take interpersonal risks and to bring their whole selves to their work and learning. The university and local community are working together to build a living, learning, and working environment where all individuals are supported, are respected, feel a sense of belonging, and are thriving. Measuring constituent perceptions related to feeling respected, belonging, and prevalence of affirming relationships with peers and organizational administration are among the concepts present in this dimension. Reflection questions to be engaged in this dimension include things like:

  • What is it like here and how do we know?
  • How do we relate to one another?
  • Who is thriving and why?

Education & Scholarship

This dimension relates to the ways in which curriculum, teaching, research, scholarship, and employee and student development contribute to our passion for discovery, innovation, community engagement, service, and social justice. Programs and processes in this dimension include intentionally designed curricula and pedagogies, as well as targeted professional development activities, that promote intercultural awareness and competence. Reflection questions to be engaged in this dimension include things like:

  • What do we teach and how?
  • What do we research and how?
  • How and where do we disseminate knowledge?
  • How do we develop our faculty and staff? 

Infrastructure & Investment

Infrastructure + Investment

This dimension refers to the policies, resources, organizational and communication structures, and performance measures that inform and enable an intentionally inclusive, equitable, and innovative organization. Reflection questions to be engaged in this dimension include things like:

  • How are we organized?
  • Where do we invest our energies and money?
  • What “governs” our work?
  • How do we communicate?
  • How do we build inclusive capacity?

Community & Partnership

This dimension refers to how place-based organizations like ours engage reciprocally and in a participatory way with our surrounding neighborhoods, counties, and the Commonwealth. Specifically, how we as an organization understand and track our impacts in terms of the financial and social well-being of the communities and partners with which we are engaged. Reflection questions to be engaged in this dimension include things like:

  • Where are we and how did we come to be here?
  • What impact do we have in this place?
  • How does the community contribute to our success and knowledge?
  • What does it mean to be a good neighbor?