Institutionalization of Inclusive Excellence and Student Success in New Hampshire’s Colleges and Universities
With generous support from the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and in partnership with Campus Compact for New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board, and UMass Boston, NERCHE’s Project Inclusion will pilot and then encourage a statewide effort to assess the institutional structures, policies, and practices around diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in New Hampshire's colleges and universities.
New Hampshire Inclusive Excellence Symposium:
On May 19, 2015, Campus Compact for New Hampshire and NERCHE hosted a New Hampshire Inclusive Excellence Symposium at the NH Higher Education Assistance Foundation in Concord, NH. The purpose of the symposium was for representatives from New Hamphire colleges and universities to:
- Review the NERCHE Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education and its potential use on individual campuses;
- Understand the criteria for becoming a Project Inclusion sub-grant recipient and what it means to be a pilot site; and,
- Identify next steps for pilot sites and collective action across the state to expand campus practices supporting diversity and inclusion.
Project Inclusion Pilot Sites:
In late July 2015, the following institutions were selected to participate as Project Inclusion pilot sites:
- Antioch University New England
- Keene State College
- Rivier University
- University of New Hampshire
Pilot sites were chosen based on their current efforts to assess the extent of their respective cultural engagement and their willingness and readiness to undergo broad-based, structural change in order to sustain and expand these efforts beyond the grant period.
In addition to receiving a $3,000 grant, each pilot site will receive consultation to implement NERCHE’s Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education. The rubric is an assessment tool, developed by a workgroup of higher education multicultural affairs professionals, to assist members of the higher education community in gauging the progress of their diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts on their campus.
Project Inclusion will rely on the NERCHE Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education to conduct a baseline structural review of each institution, piloting the process at four campus sites. Once the Rubric is complete, areas requiring intervention will be clear, strategic goals can be set, and the Rubric Steering Committee on each campus can set realistic objectives to be carried out. After a period of implementation, the Rubric will be re-administered to determine evidence of change.
Additionally, during the 2015-2016 academic year, Project Inclusion will develop a “learning community” of New Hampshire’s colleges and universities. The learning community will be supported in the following ways: (1) NERCHE will bring together and facilitate a meeting of the four pilot site rubric steering committee chairs. The first meeting was held on August 26, 2015, at Rivier University to review the time table NERCHE had prepared and to share ideas for their first steering committee meeting agendas. The group felt that monthly meetings would be beneficial to share best practices and to problem solve obstacles that pilot sites may encounter in completing the rubric or work plan. (2) All New Hampshire colleges and universities will be invited to participate in a webinar to be held January 22, 2016, and each of the pilot sites will share its experiences completing the rubric. (3) On June 2, 2016, a symposium will be hosted by Campus Compact of New Hampshire and NERCHE, inviting all of New Hampshire’s higher education faculty, staff, and students to hear presentations by the four pilot sites and a guest speaker with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Learning community members across the state of New Hampshire will learn about the experiences of the pilot sites and focus on improving—in measurable ways—their respective campuses for students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds and cultures. Through such intentional, collaborative efforts, Project Inclusions hopes to foster more systemic means for preparing students to live and work in a world that is multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial and whose borders and boundaries are blurring into an ever-expanding global community and economy.
Background of the Project:
In 2011, a coalition of higher education leaders launched a bold initiative aimed at ensuring that New Hampshire’s students graduate from college prepared for participation in an increasingly multicultural democracy. The initiative, called Enhancing Inclusive Excellence in New Hampshire Communities, was to create resources and models for “inclusive excellence”— that is, preparing students to live and work in a world that is multicultural, multilingual, and multiracial and whose borders and boundaries are blurring into an ever-expanding global community and economy.
Spearheaded by statewide higher education associations Campus Compact for New Hampshire (CCNH) and the New Hampshire College & University Council (NHCUC) in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire (UNH), the initiative aimed to build strong relationships between higher education and diverse communities both on and off campus. These groups have forged ties with a broad coalition of supporters, including the New Hampshire Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board consisting of education, business, and community leaders from across the state. These leaders are taking a proactive approach to meeting the needs of a population whose demographics are changing rapidly. NERCHE was invited to facilitate this work, and the Lloyd G. Balfour Foundation has generously agreed to fund the first year of this initiative.