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."

Our Vision

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.

Our Values

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.


  1. Accountability
  2. Belonging
  3. Collective Impact
  4. Communication - Open. Authentic. Reciprocal.
  5. Professional Growth
  6. Social Justice
  7. 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:

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.
  • 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.
  • A central system reports and tracks student, faculty, and staff retention, promotion, and well-being.
  • Central hub for assessment tools and resources is available on ODI Website.
  • ODI professional development opportunities on assessment and evaluation processes and new program protocols, tools, and resources are established, communication, and used by % of departments.

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.

Back to The Core Areas

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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • University wide communications categorize educational services and experiences.
  • Standard assessment and evaluation procedures are used for all educational experiences, events, and initiatives.
  • Participation rate for both regular and intermittent programming, events, and initiatives is tracked using a central system.
  • Principles of social justice education are evident in all training.
  • Participation rate for both regular and intermittent programming, events, and initiatives is tracked using a central system.
  • University wide communications categorize educational services and experiences.
  • Campus-wide calendar and DEI programming committee appointed.
  • Increase administrator, college leadership, and executive leadership participation by 50% for State of Diversity.
  • System-wide climate survey delivered. ODI analyzed and provided campus updates.
  • UNL Climate survey is completed. Several college-level climate surveys have been developed. ODI consistently consults, receives and analyzes and provides updates through unit committees.
  • Annual community-wide update on Journey activities and outcomes, focusing on campus engagement and critical concerns is published/presented.
  • Campus-wide calendar and DEI programming committee appointed.

Back to The Core Areas

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.
  • Engage external partners in DEI through deliberate ODI engagement.
  • Establish DEI collegiate diversity partnerships 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 community engagement and updates.
  • 100% of leadership team completes and maintains appropriate advancement training.
  • All donors receive mailings quarterly.
  • Donors receive annual reports (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 has membership on designated Multicultural Homecoming Committee.
  • Form a national diversity advisory board.
  • ODI-sponsored website lists community organizations addressing diversity and social justice issues.
  • CEO Action collaborative expands across Nebraska.
  • Calendar and resource guide implemented.

Back to The Core Areas

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 update meetings on specific DEI initiatives 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 the number of diversity ambassadors (BRIDGE) and the number of search committees and search participant training.
  • ASPIRE iChange Action Program to enhance hiring and retention practices is in place.
  • Evaluation process identifies ambassador experiences +/- and assesses program.
  • Multiple categories and modes of leadership and professional development (training, shadowing, etc.) are integrated in leadership development programs.
  • Establish marketing campaign to promote NCFDD and other faculty diversity-related resource to shows increase in visibility and utilization of those resources.
  • Faculty and staff (bi-annual or annual) community meetings are hosted.
  • Faculty diversity and inclusion working group implemented.
  • Marketing campaign and assessment report distributed to promote and evaluate faculty diversity-related initiatives and resources established.
  • Performance evaluation (with inclusive excellence criteria) is complete.

Back to The Core Areas


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.
  • 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.
  • All ODI staff have participated in University-developed communication workshop.
  • A central system reports and tracks faculty, and staff retention, promotion, and well-being implemented.
  • An annual professional development hub for ODI staff is in place, including an internal tracking and assessment system.
  • Completed and distributed Standard Operating Procedures Guide to include administrative and operational guidelines and processes for unit-wide resources.
  • Unit updates on diversity plan and mission occur during team retreats which include dotted line reports.
  • All ODI employees are trained in standard language and processes for all ODI programming and educational activities.
  • Unit updates on diversity plan and mission occur during team retreats which include dotted line reports.

Back to The Core Areas

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, and 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.


  • Climate survey to assess the needs of underrepresented students is complete.
  • Establish annual collaborative events and initiatives with OGS and GSA.
  • Inclusive leadership certificate (and retreat) for students is in place.
  • In collaboration with UCOMM, provide annual consultation support on promising approaches to storytelling and outreach.
  • 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.
  • Institute standardized assessment and evaluation process to determine effectiveness and direction of student initiatives.
  • Establish administrative processes and funding support for RSOs targeting these efforts and produce annual report on efforts.
  • Institute updated communication outreach aligning with practices of campus partners such as NSE, UGESS, OGS; Participation rate for both regular and intermittent programming, events, and initiatives is tracked using a central system.
  • Executed Husker Dialogues Symposium in collaboration with key partners (e.g., colleges, CTT).

Back to The Core Areas


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)

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)

Operational Excellence
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.

Graphic displaying Aims of N202 Plan