Building a framework for inclusive excellence

Through January, we’re publishing year-in-review highlights from FY2021. Download a full PDF of this year’s Annual Report to read more! This week we’re looking at ways we’re learning to work better, together.

In support of its diversity, equity, inclusion, and access efforts, a critical part of the vision for the future as outlined in the University’s 2030 Plan, UVA is implementing the Inclusive Excellence (IE) framework. This means that schools/departments/units within the University are working to study areas of strength and areas in need of improvement within the IE framework’s dimensions and creating a working action plan with measurable results.

The IE framework has five basic dimensions:

  • ACCESS + SUCCESS, which includes processes such as recruitment, retention, and development, along with long-term outcomes such as tenure and career advancement.
  • CLIMATE + INTERGROUP RELATIONS, which focuses on building an organization where individuals are supported and respected and feel a sense of belonging.
  • EDUCATION + SCHOLARSHIP, which covers the ways that teaching, research, scholarship, and employee and student development contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion and promote intercultural awareness.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE + INVESTMENT, which refers to factors such as the policies, resources, performance metrics, and organizational and communication structures that govern the work of an organization.
  • COMMUNITY + PARTNERSHIP, which relates to how placebased organizations such as UVA engage and interact with the surrounding community, and how such organizations track their impact on those communities and partners.

The Library’s IE working group is tasked with an organizational self-assessment and the creation of goals, actions, metrics, and a timeframe for each of the five dimensions. In addition, the team added a sixth goal for the Library, HEALING + REPAIR, which refers to the reckoning with past harms to groups due to injustice, oppression, and racist practices such as slavery, indigenous dispossession, and eugenics.

Inclusive Excellence efforts began with the self-assessment and then proceeded to engage Library staff with a survey, a series of listening sessions, and small group conversations, followed by presentations and Q&A sessions at Library staff Town Halls. The feedback informed a report which outlines the current state of the Library’s inclusion efforts, which reflects a number of encouraging successes, but also clearly shows many areas in need of improvement. As a step towards that improvement, the Library brought in author and organizational change consultant Dr. Kathy Obear of the Center for Transformational Change to lead a development program for Library senior leadership and Library managers, with a plan to extend training to all Library staff. The aim of the program is to deepen the capacity of staff at all levels of the organization to effectively guide systemic organizational change and accelerate progress towards achieving IE goals, including becoming a racially equitable and inclusive organization.

The work continued as the IE task force, with help from the Library’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility committee, created the preliminary plans outlining desired outcomes and the actions, timeframes, responsibilities, and resources necessary to achieve those goals, along with the metrics that will define success. The plans will be refined with further input from Library staff and other stakeholders, finalized, and submitted to University administration, with implementation to begin in the fall of 2021.

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