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What is Inclusive Excellence?

Inclusive Excellence is a change framework constructed by the American Association of Colleges and Universities to make the academic pursuit of excellence more inclusive.

What is our goal?

Access is part of our mission at UCF and we want our campus to be a space of belonging for everyone. For Faculty Excellence this means helping to recruit and retain the best and most diverse faculty.

What is Faculty Excellence doing?

We are working to fully realize institutional goals of diversifying our faculty to better reflect our student population while providing resources to help make UCF an equitable and inclusive working and learning environment. Faculty Excellence has prioritized these efforts by establishing a Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence and a Faculty Excellence Advisory Committee on Inclusion who have been working on important initiatives with campus partners since 2018.

Inclusive Language

A great place to start when working toward institutional inclusion is paying attention to the language we use both casually and professionally. Words matter – they have tremendous power to lift up and to harm. Words reflect the values of individuals and organizations, but many feel overwhelmed trying to learn what language honors the full personhood and dignity of all identities. Below is a shortlist of word choices to consider in the educational and research contexts. Additionally, there is a link to a presentation from our 2020 Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence about inclusive language practices.

Introduction to Inclusive Language in Working and Learning Spaces

Say This, Not That Card Printable

Inclusion at UCF

There are many resources on campus related to equity, inclusion, and diversity. We hope you will take some time to explore the great programming from our Office of Diversity and Inclusion and information from the Office of Institutional Equity. Additionally, there are links to our affinity and solidarity groups open to all faculty and staff at UCF.

Teaching Resources

Inclusive teaching practices include considering the importance of difference in everything we do as instructors from curriculum and course development to class climate and environment. Whether it is diversifying your syllabus or making accessibility a core component of your pedagogy there are many things you can do today to make your own teaching and classrooms welcoming to all of our students at UCF.

UCF’s core mission is to provide access to high-quality education in Florida. One component of that mission is ensuring all students have equal opportunities to obtain, engage, and demonstrate knowledge in our courses. Research shows students with disabilities who are entitled to academic accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 do not always reach out for accommodations for a variety of reasons (Becker & Palladino, 2016). Therefore, it is imperative to design our courses to be accessible to reach everyone. The resources presented below assist with the design and implementation of accessible content regardless of modality.

For specific assistance with your content, please reach out to your instructional designer, FCTL, or the Faculty Multimedia Center (FMC)

If you have received a notice from Student Accessibility Services (SAS) for a student who needs accommodations in your course, please follow the directions on the notice or contact SAS directly at sas@ucf.edu or 407-823-2371.

References

Becker, S., & Palladino, J. (2016). Assessing faculty perspectives about teaching and working with students with disabilities. Journal of Post-secondary Education & Disability, 29(1), 65-82.

Faculty Recruitment, Hiring and Retention

Hiring new colleagues is one of the most important things that a faculty member does. However, most faculty do not receive any training in this process other than to learn on the job at their first hiring committee meeting. It is easy to get stuck in habits that do not promote accountability for our biases and socialization into our disciplines.

While it is a strategic goal of UCF to increase the compositional diversity of the faculty there are several additional reasons to prioritize these efforts. We know there are many educational benefits to diverse learning environments (Milem, Chang, & Antonio, 2005). Students are more engaged and report higher satisfaction levels when they have the opportunity to work with and learn from a more diverse faculty. Faculty influence on student motivation, confidence, and achievement goes beyond classroom interaction. Connection to faculty mentors dramatically improves students’ completion rates and their interest in graduate education (Bettinger and Baker, 2014, 2011; Scrivener and Weiss, 2009).

Academia is like most industries in that it has its own pervasive narratives about how things have always been and how they should be now. Often, we are socialized into our fields without taking the time to critically examine our taken for granted assumptions and update our thinking. We have many unconscious and conscious biases that affect our participation in faculty hiring. This bias impacts the way we write job descriptions, how we evaluate candidates, and ultimately the recommendation we make to the hiring official. While we can never eliminate bias and subjectivity we bring to the committee we can certainly make efforts to mitigate it and change our conversations.

Faculty Excellence, Human Resources, and the Office of Institutional Equity are collaborating on the development of consistent and inclusive faculty hiring processes. In addition to a forthcoming plan and procedure, the resources below can start an important discussion in your units.

Improving the Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention of Diverse and Inclusive Faculty – ASPIRE Institutional Change Initiative Promising Practices

Hiring in Academe: Insights on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The Chronicle of Higher Education