One of the five themes of USD's strategic plan, which the university will devote particular effort in the coming years, is diversity and inclusiveness.
The university's longstanding aim of increasing the diversity of its students, staff, and faculty will be advanced more effectively if approached through inclusive excellence, with responsibility for diversity and inclusiveness jointly held by all members of the university community. Led by USD's Associate Vice President for Diversity, in collaboration with a newly established President's Inclusiveness Council, the University Senate, the Student Government Association, and senior administrative leadership groups such as the Executive Committee and Provost's Council, the University will undertake a concerted program in inclusive excellence.
To establish the values and practices of inclusive excellence, diversity must be incorporated deeply and broadly into the intellectual and social life of the university.
Efforts to assess the integration of human diversity into the curriculum have already begun. Based on an initial comprehensive assessment, best practices for diversity in the curriculum will be identified, refined, and consistently promoted. A diversity recruitment plan that includes new methods of attracting faculty, staff, and students will be developed and implemented, accompanied by a diversity retention plan that includes physical space, specialized resources, and support for students from diverse populations.
A follow-up assessment at the close of the Strategic Plan will show substantially greater integration of diversity in the curriculum. The percentage of university citizens of diverse backgrounds will increase significantly, with growth in the number of degree-seeking international students contributing to that trend. First-year retention of students with diverse backgrounds will match or exceed that of the overall undergraduate student body. The percentage of such students graduating within six years will increase at the same rate as that of the overall student body.
Both the university and the region stand to benefit from greater access to USD education for members of diverse populations. Partnerships between USD and tribal colleges and universities will be mutually advantageous. Likewise, USD has much to offer and to gain in establishing partnerships with international institutions of higher learning. By the conclusion of the Strategic Plan, multiple new collaborative projects (including articulation agreements) with tribal colleges will be in place. New cooperative arrangements for student exchanges and for research and scholarly activities will be pursued with institutions abroad.