The Office of Diversity and Inclusion
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) was created in 2018 as a culmination of a) the efforts of engaged members of our campus community advocating for diversity and inclusion leadership, b) an institutional study by nationally renowned diversity experts Halualani and Associates, c) a series of workgroups and committees identifying needs, and d) a five-year university-wide effort to address equity, diversity, and inclusion at Nebraska.
ODI provides vision, leadership, and advocacy in fostering an inclusive, equitable, and welcoming campus central to the land-grant mission of UNL; leads and facilitates the development of institutional policies, protocols, and practices intended to create a more equitable, and inclusive campus culture; and utilizes an inclusive excellence framework to foster an engaged, creative, and innovative learning environment for all."
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s vision builds on the UNL value that we create a positive culture and safeguard equity, inclusion, dignity, and respect for all.
Specifically, ODI's vision is to facilitate and foster collective action towards the creation of a learning, living, and working environment and culture where inclusive excellence is understood, embraced, and enacted through our policies, practices, and engagement.
As part of the N2025 aim that call for us to create a climate at Nebraska that emphasizes, prioritizes, and expands inclusive excellence and diversity, we have identified a vision, values and core areas that will shape and guide the internal and external plans for ODI, all aligning with our mission of leading and facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion at Nebraska and positioning our internal operations with the principles of operational excellence.
As we strive to strengthen inclusive excellence at the University, our strategic plan outlines goals and defines outcomes we endeavor to achieve through internal and campus-wide collaboration over the three years (2022-2025).
Our values reflect our core mission and our path towards inclusive excellence.
- Collective Impact
- Communication - Open. Authentic. Reciprocal.
- Professional Growth
- Social Justice
- Transformative Learning
Our Core Areas
We have identified six core areas that will shape and guide the internal and external plans for ODI, all aligning with our mission of leading inclusive excellence at Nebraska and aligning our work with operational excellence.
These core areas (in alphabetical order) are:
- Assessment, Research, and Evidence-Based Practice
- Campus Climate and Education
- External Relations and Community Engagement
- Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention
- Student Success and Engagement
In the following sections, you will find a list of specific goals, strategies, and metrics that ODI will employ to achieve success in our defined core areas.
Assessment, Research, and Evidence-Based Practice
Develop assessment and research practices that support evidence-based programming and improve programming, positioning ODI as an internal and external resource for evidence-based diversity and inclusion approaches.
- Goal 1: Devise a system to assess contact points with students, faculty, and staff.
- Goal 2: Utilize evidence-based practices to develop and strengthen programs and initiatives.
- Goal 3: Monitor institutional progress towards inclusive excellence and diversity.
- Monitor and track success scholars and peer mentoring students and contact points.
- Monitor and track progress to graduation, academic success, and well-being underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students.
- Monitor and track underrepresented staff and faculty retention, promotion, and recruitment efforts.
- Monitor and track efforts aimed at retaining, promoting and recruiting underrepresented staff and faculty.
- Establish standard data assessment and evaluation procedures for all initiatives.
- Develop an internal evaluation (bi-annual) on ODI programs and initiatives for continuous improvement.
- Perform site visits or research on practices of B10 and/or peer institutions.
- Establish processes to align new programs to research, evidence-based practice, and/or data.
ODI Process Milestones
- Completed annual report of student engagement efforts.
- A central system reports and tracks student, faculty, and staff retention, promotion, and well-being.
- Semester report of enrollment, matriculation, and academic performance data by demographics is assembled and shared.
- Annual report displaying faculty/staff data on hiring, retention/turnover, and promotion is completed and shared at annual ODI retreat.
- ODI professional development opportunities on assessment and evaluation processes and new program protocols, tools, and resources are established, communication, and used by % of departments.
- Central hub for assessment tools and resources is available on ODI Website.
- Establish a central data repository
ODI Process Milestones
- Diversity dashboard, allowing campus the ability to track activity, progress, and measure results, is made available on website.
- Annual report on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Nebraska is completed and presented to university and beyond.
- A university-wide strategic planning toolkit is available on ODI website.
Campus Climate and Education
Develop and implement high quality, campus-wide experiences and educational resources that model promising practices, engage campus and community constituents, and contribute to the creation of an inclusive institutional culture and climate.
- Goal 1: Increase number of students, staff and faculty who participate in inclusive excellence education and programming.
- Goal 2: Streamline DEI education request process and offerings for faculty, staff, students, and community.
- Goal 3: Establish a social justice education focus.
- Goal 4: Increase number of opportunities and participants in signature experiences and cultural observances across all campuses and extension.
- Goal 5: Enhance and support campus climate efforts and initiatives.
- Goal 6: Identify, develop, resource and support a cohort of DEI facilitators, trainers, and champions across the university.
- Provide streamlined educational opportunities and initiatives that incorporate existing diversity education offerings both internal and external of ODI. This includes development of educational services (synchronous and asynchronous) that focus on inclusive teaching, support diversity of students across spectrums, addresses bias, strategic planning, and inclusive supervisory practices.
- Development of educational services (synchronous and asynchronous) that focus on inclusive teaching, support diversity of students across identities and cultural groups, addresses bias, strategic planning, and inclusive supervisory practices.
- Increase awareness and participation in ODI educational services and resources.
- Evaluate and increase participation in ODI existing training programs and community groups.
- These include: UndocuAlly, All Are Welcome, OUCH!, Diversity 101, #NCLUDE, Dish it Up
- Increase student (and partner) participation in inclusive leadership retreats.
- Enhance and annualize CEO Action programs and events.
- In collaboration with key academic departments that include the Institute for Ethnic Studies, create social justice and equity education modules for in-person and online delivery.
- Increase the impact and engagement of the Hate Will Never Win campaign.
- Increase social justice and equity education learning opportunities.
- Increase social justice education (including environmental and climate education) throughout all internal and external messaging and branding.
- Institute annualized programs and experiences for cultural heritage celebrations and commemorations.
- Enhance the State of Diversity (and other campus-wide events) through increased audience participation.
- In collaboration with campus partners, develop and implement campus-wide climate survey.
- Increase visibility and awareness on climate and culture related issues.
- Support the Journey on Anti-Racism and Racial Equity.
- Institute an inclusive leadership certificate.
- Initiate messaging and branding campaigns through collaborations and student-centered focus groups.
- In collaboration with key academic partners, develop diversity education curriculum and initiatives instituting social justice principles.
- Initiate campus-wide calendar processing and DEI programming committee.
- Internal diversity education request hub is uniformly used by ODI staff for tracking and monitoring all requests and outreach efforts.
- University wide communications categorize educational services and experiences.
- Detailed descriptions of education offerings across the university, including those listed on UNL learning platforms, ODI website and applicable platforms-are available and searchable on the ODI website.
- Implement comprehensive (and living) resource list of subject matter experts to deliver educational experiences is accessible on ODI website.
- Standard assessment and evaluation procedures are used for all educational experiences, events, and initiatives.
- Synchronous and asynchronous education modules (including bystander intervention) are available as part of the Hate Will Never Win campus campaign.
- Principles of social justice education are evident in all trainings.
- Campus-wide calendar and DEI programming committee appointed.
- Create a comprehensive campus partner list and operational excellence inspired program checklist to ensure cultural experiences reflect campus stakeholders and heritage traditions.
- Increase administrator, college leadership, and executive leadership participation by 50% for State of Diversity.
- Participation rate for both regular and intermittent programming, events, and initiatives is tracked using a central system.
- Annual community-wide update on Journey activities and outcomes, focusing on campus engagement and critical concerns is published/presented.
- Climate survey is completed.
External Relations and Community Engagement
Develop, strengthen, and enhance ODI's relationships with external partners, alums, and the community.
- Goal 1: Increase external giving across the ODI unit.
- Goal 2: Increase community and corporate engagement.
- Goal 3: Increase engagement with alums and friends of the University.
- Goal 4: Engage external partners in ongoing DEI efforts.
- Actively engage existing and prospective donors.
- Develop and continuously update giving portals and/or sites.
- Increase unit’s understanding of development and fundraising.
- Routinize and maintain stewardship of donors.
- Participate as a vendor (and appropriate steward) in annual community cultural events and festivals.
- Create opportunities to engage local community agencies, corporate and nonprofit organizations.
- Sustain, support, and increase participation and visibility of the Multicultural Hall of Fame and Multicultural Homecoming.
- Form a national diversity advisory board.
- In partnership with appropriate campus partners, provide annual DEI updates to underrepresented alums.
- Create a DEI collegiate diversity advisory board with local area universities and colleges.
- Develop community specific calendar and resource guide for external DEI programming and services.
- Institute two (2) major campaign efforts per academic year.
- Employ an annual webpage for review and community updates.
- 100% of leadership team completes and maintains appropriate advancement training.
- All donors receive mailings quarterly.
- Donors receive annual report (digitally or hard copy).
- ODI has booth or table at 2-3 Lincoln Community cultural events annually.
- A community roundtable of leaders meets quarterly.
- ODI-sponsored website lists community organizations addressing diversity and social justice issues.
- Conducts a high-visibility program with 1-2 community or non-profit organizations.
- CEO Action collaborative expands across Nebraska.
Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Retention
Develop programs and resources to build UNL’s capacity to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and staff and create inclusive pathways for professional growth and leadership development, while elevating UNL's commitment to being a place where all faculty and staff can thrive and succeed.
- Goal 1: Develop a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy for faculty and staff recruitment, enhancing the capability of the campus to become more diverse and promote an environment of inclusion and belonging for faculty and staff through focused recruiting and hiring initiatives.
- Goal 2: Build faculty and staff leadership development programs and initiatives.
- Goal 3: Increase faculty and staff retention, sense of belonging, and community.
- Goal 4: Develop and/or contribute to the success of faculty and staff mentoring programs and initiatives on campus to enhance professional development and growth.
- Goal 5: Assist underrepresented faculty and staff in exercising a more proactive role in expressing and acting on aspirations to explore participation in administrative positions at the institution.
- Goal 6: Increase understanding of faculty needs in critical areas (e.g., promotion and tenure, performance assessment, access to research support, diversity in STEM, etc.)
- Establish BRIDGE as the official DEI guidance and education for hiring committees and other search participants.
- Enhance STEM faculty recruitment, hiring and retention practices through Aspire iChange Cohort.
- Develop and sustain faculty recruitment strategies and practices that enhance current practices while expanding future opportunities.
- Enhance resources for faculty and staff campus on leadership/administrative opportunities.
- Increase National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) participation and other applicable professional development programs.
- In collaboration with campus partners, establish continuous community meetings for faculty and staff.
- Develop well-being programs to meet existing and future faculty and staff needs.
- In collaboration with key partners, increase participation, visibility, and effectiveness of the Faculty of Color Symposium.
- Revitalize and/or assist restructuring existing opportunities for new faculty engagement.
- In collaboration with key partners, including Human Resources, provide DEI resources that support the professional development and evaluation of staff.
- Increase number of diversity ambassadors (BRIDGE) and the number of search committee and search participant trainings.
- Structured evaluation and assessment tools to assess client engagement and satisfaction are made available on ODI website and integrated in ODI consultation processes.
- Evaluation process identifies ambassador experiences +/- and assesses program.
- Monitoring and tracking system for STEM recruitment and hiring and open positions is utilized by ODI and appropriate STEM departments.
- ASPIRE iChange Action Program to enhance hiring and retention practices is in place.
- Established recruitment portfolios (establishing baseline recruitment needs and long-term strategies) with all colleges.
- A certificate program for staff and faculty leadership development occurs annually.
- Multiple categories and modes of leadership and professional development (training, shadowing, etc.) are integrated in leadership development programs.
- Marketing campaign to promote NCFDD and other faculty diversity-related resource, shows increase in utilization of those resources.
- Faculty Affairs and other appropriate offices participate in tracking use of NCFDD (through internal analytics) and other existing faculty diversity resources both internal and external.
- A comprehensive (and living) list of campus diversity liaisons and partners is available on ODI website.
- Faculty and staff (bi-annual or annual) community meetings are hosted.
- Faculty diversity and inclusion working group implemented.
- Faculty and staff climate survey is completed, and results made available.
Position ODI's staffing, structures, resources, communications, systems, and processes to meet institutional, local, and national trends and needs and enhance unit effectiveness.
- Goal 1: Increase access to and communication between ODI and DEI practitioners at all levels of the University, including the strengthening and visibility of dotted line relationships (Athletics).
- Goal 2: Increase professional development opportunities for ODI and human capacity.
- Goal 3: Centralize and streamline administrative and communication functions within the unit.
- Goal 4: Increase (internal) unit-wide mission and operation comprehension and engagement in overarching ODI vision.
- Goal 5: Strengthen dotted line relationships within Athletics and establish external communication strategies to enhance visibility.
- Increase audience engagement and brand visibility on ODI communication channels and unit-led efforts.
- Establish structured and ongoing partnerships with external DEI leaders and liaisons, working groups, and committees.
- Increase the capacity of ODI impact, engagement, and visibility.
- Assess needs of campus in support of DEI research, practice, and policy development, and align ODI operations accordingly.
- Align ODI operations with needs of campus in support of DEI research, practice, and policy development.
- Increase professional diversity learning opportunities for ODI staff, aligning professional learning needs with (national) promising practices and trends.
- Provide internal professional learning and mentoring opportunities for ODI staff.
- Support and expand the central operations, administrative and business processes within ODI.
- Increase the comprehension of ODI staff on the unit’s mission, vision, strategic goals and priorities.
- Provide continuous internal updates to the team that support understanding, engagement, and alignment with overarching goals.
- Provide continuous updates on relevant diversity initiatives to Athletics and departmental diversity liaisons.
- Ongoing data analytics reporting exists for all communication avenues - website, unit listserv, newsletter, and social media platforms.
- Website includes an organization chart for all DEI leaders.
- Faculty and staff fellows’ program is in place.
- ODI staff and faculty participate in professional development opportunities or review process annually.
- Annual professional development hub for ODI staff is in place, including an internal tracking and assessment system.
- All ODI employees use core administrative and communication teams and channels.
- All ODI staff have participated in University-developed communication workshop.
- 100% of professional staff participate in at least one professional development opportunity each academic year.
- Completed and distributed Standard Operating Procedures Guide to include administrative and operational guidelines and processes for unit-wide resource.
- Annual reporting system provides updates on business operations and financial resources.
- Onboarding and offboarding exit guides and procedures are completed and used to orient new employees and transition departing employees.
- All ODI employees are trained in standard language and processes for all ODI programming and education activities.
- Unit updates on diversity plan and mission occur during team retreats which include dotted line reports.
Student Success and Engagement
Develop student success and retention programs that address gaps in promoting inclusive student excellence; and reduce institutional barriers that exacerbate achievement inequities among racial, ethnic, ad cultural student populations.
- Goal 1: Expand student engagement and participation.
- Goal 2: Increase high-impact programs and opportunities that reflect inclusive excellence.
- Goal 3: Support student retention and success of underrepresented students.
- Goal 4: Expand inclusive leadership opportunities for University-wide student engagement and participation.
- Goal 5: Expand high-impact initiatives and programs designed to support student experience.
- Increase understanding of student academic and co-curricular needs to impact retention and engagement.
- In collaboration with key partners including the Office of Graduate Studies, expand graduate student engagement opportunities.
- Initiate student-centered DEI leadership program and pathways.
- In collaboration with academic units, increase development opportunities that support inclusive communication processes and services.
- Establish formal DEI learning opportunities and structures in support of student leadership.
- Assess the effectiveness and impact of the Success Scholars program.
- Increase programming for underrepresented student (including men of color).
- Increase participation of underrepresented students in success programming.
- In partnership with Undergraduate Education and Student Success and Graduate Studies, expand reach and capacity of Inclusive Leadership Retreat.
- Increase incoming first-year student engagement opportunities.
- Establish a student retention and ambassador committee.
- Institute standardized assessment and evaluation process to determine effectiveness and direction of student initiatives.
- ODI internship program for student employees is in place.
- ODI Leadership Fellows for upper class students is in place.
- Annual student engagement and participation report is available on ODI website.
- Student advisory committee comprised of representatives from various student groups, organizations, and community associations serves ODI.
- Annual marketing and communication campaign and workshops provide outreach to underrepresented students.
- Inclusive leadership certificate for students is in place.
- Students focus groups occur twice a year to receive feedback from students on high-level practices and initiatives.
- Climate survey to assess the needs of underrepresented students is complete.
- Annual report on underrepresented student concerns and trends is available on ODI website.
- Promising DEI Leader program (in collaboration with New Student Enrollment) is in place.
- Executed Husker Dialogues Symposium.in collaboration with key partners (e.g., colleges, CTT).
- Institute updated communication outreach aligning with practices of campus partners such as Admissions.
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. – American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
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)
Is a mindset that embraces certain principles and tools to create sustainable improvement within an organization.
Or to put it more simply, operational excellence is achieved when every member of an organization can see the flow of value to the customer. Seeing it, however, isn’t enough – they should actively try to improve both the value, as well as its delivery.
Ultimately, operational excellence is not just about reducing costs or increasing productivity in the workplace. It’s about creating the company culture that will allow you to produce valuable products and services for your customers and achieve long-term sustainable growth.
Operational excellence is a journey that involves applying the right tools to the right processes. When this happens successfully, the ideal work culture is created where employees are provided for in a way that enables them to stay empowered and motivated. – Institute for Operational Excellence
Aim: Create a climate at Nebraska that emphasizes, prioritizes, and expands inclusive excellence and diversity.
We must commit to inclusive excellence — an active process ensuring that excellence is reflective of diversity in all forms. As systematic efforts expand to recruit and retain historically underrepresented students, faculty, and staff, it is imperative that this work be done in close concert with efforts to further improve the quality of research, creative activities, teaching, and engagement. An integrated approach will greatly improve work toward minimizing barriers and enhancing and creating new programs in support of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This intentional integration will equip us to better solve the challenges that face Nebraska and the world, while preparing students for a continually evolving and global workforce. An environment that emphasizes inclusive excellence and diversity is a place that embraces the importance of every person and knows that every interaction matters.