President’s Commission on Equity


The President’s Commission on Equity (PCOE) has adopted in draft the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ definitions of diversity, inclusion, equity and equity-mindedness.  The PCOE, with input from faculty, staff and students, will be adapting these definitions to reflect our institutional core values and campus perspective.

SOURCE: Diversity Definitions from Association of American Colleges & Universities website.


Making Excellence inclusive is the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) guiding principle for access, student success, and high-quality learning. It is designed to help colleges and universities integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations.

Through the vision and practice of inclusive excellence, AAC&U calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the wellbeing of democratic culture. Making excellence inclusive is thus an active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities.

A high-quality, practical liberal education should be the standard of excellence for all students. The action of making excellence inclusive requires that we uncover inequities in student success, identify effective educational practices, and build such practice organically for sustained institutional change.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity: Core Principles

AAC&U endeavors to develop “equity-minded practitioners” who are willing to engage in the necessary, and sometimes difficult, conversations and decision-making that can lead to transformational change for student learning and achievement.

Diversity: Valuing 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) [that can be used in the service of learning for all].

Inclusion: Active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity – in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect–in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and emphatic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within [and change] systems and institutions.

Equity: Creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.

Equity-Mindedness:  Demonstrate awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff.  (Center for Urban Education, University of Southern California)