Inclusive Excellence and Definitions

We are the flagship and land-grant university for Nebraska, and diversity and inclusion are central to our mission and pursuit of excellence. Each person has something to gain from and offer to our community of learning, discovery and outreach. All are welcome here.

Inclusive Excellence and Definitions

The University of Nebraska - Lincoln is committed to cultivating an inclusive excellence mindset across our institution. We believe in fully embracing diversity in all forms seen and unseen, making inclusion a top priority, promoting equity across our policies and practices, and ultimately ensuring that excellence is inclusive. To accomplish this, we recognize the importance of understanding exactly what we mean by inclusive excellence.

Inclusive Excellence builds on the notions of diversity, inclusion, and equity.


Individual differences, (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences), group and social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, indigeneity, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, country of origin, and (dis)ability), historically underrepresented populations, and cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations – Adapted from the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)


The 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 empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions . – American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)


The 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 and increasing participation of employees. – American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

Click here to learn more about equity principles.

Inclusive Excellence

It is designed to help colleges and universities integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into their missions and institutional operations. It calls for higher education to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the well-being of democratic culture. It is an active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities. – American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)

The IE mindset can also be understood in these ways:

  1. Not only do we see differences, we embrace differences. We believe each unique person and experience contribute to our learning—whether you are in or out of a classroom.
  2. We believe in having an array of different backgrounds, identities, and lived experiences, but having differences comes with responsibility to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fully participate, thrive, and lead at the University. Inclusion of all is a priority.
  3. We also believe that we only do well as a University when every individual does well. We also recognize that not everyone feels included at the University and we have to work to change it.
  4. We believe that we must act in ways that considers the experiences of all—even when they are not in the room and even when we don’t always understand them.