One outstanding practice of a twenty-first century university is Inclusive Excellence (IE), the concept of valuing and practicing diversity and inclusiveness throughout every sector of the institution.

At the University of South Dakota, both diversity and inclusiveness are ubiquitous values that permeate the entire institution. In conceptualizing campus diversity, it is important to understand the difference between diversity and inclusiveness. Here, it is helpful to invoke the metaphor of a dance: “Diversity is like being invited to a dance; whereas inclusiveness is the next step, being invited to dance.”

Inclusive Excellence is about honoring and accepting both processes as we work to recruit underrepresented populations and then, to include them and other diverse groups and individuals into all aspects of USD. To that end, diversity is an asset that can be employed to fulfill the educational mission of the university.

Students, staff, faculty, and administrators who are recruited to USD from diverse groups possess a myriad of gifts, talents, experiences, and cultures that allow them to make valuable contributions to the institution’s educational mission of preparing all students for living and working in an increasingly complex and global society. Moreover, diverse individuals contribute to a positive and vibrant campus climate that benefits the USD community.