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Inclusive Excellence Resource Guide

Culture and Epistemology

Culture represents the vast structure of behaviors, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals ceremonies and practices “peculiar” to a particular group of people and which provides them with (1) a general design for living and (2) patterns for interpreting reality. The model of culture developed here consists of there levels (1) cultural factors; (2) cultural aspects; and (3) cultural manifestations (Nobles, 1996)

Epistemology The study of knowledge and the ways of knowing It’s the subconscious set of knowledge and realities that exist so deeply within you and that form the basis of how you see the world and the lens through which you view it. (Omowale Akintunde)

Stereotype A widely held but fixed and oversimplified or over generalized image or idea of a particular type of person or thing; often offensive

Diversity

Diversity The differences between us based on which we experience systemic advantages or encounter systemic barriers to opportunities.  

Equity and Social Justice

Equity

Inclusive of and centered on differences, equity seeks to provide people what they need in order to succeed, inclusive of differences. Recognizing that inequity is historic, equity seeks to disrupt systems of inequality and inequity in their structural, institutionalized, and interpersonal/individual forms in order to reverse the compounding impact of inequality over time.

Ultimately, we envision a society in which each and every person has equitable access to the full and equal application of the rights of citizenship, including safety and security in all their forms, access to a quality and affirming education, the right to self-determination and plentiful opportunities to pursue happiness. (Modified from Radd, Generett, Gooden & Theoharis, Under Review)

Social Justice

Rights based and access based focus. All members of a community should have equal access to all resources available to them within that community. Resources refer to an array of factors that contribute to human functioning including sense of safety, well being, pay, voice, access to power, and basic things such as food, shelter, employment.

Justice - It means dismantling barriers to resources and opportunities in society so that all individuals & communities can live a full & dignified life. These barriers are essentially the “isms” in society: racism, classism, sexism, etc. 

Inclusion

Inclusion: Fostering a sense of belonging by centering, valuing & amplifying the voices, perspectives & styles of those who experience more barriers based on their identities.

Inclusive Excellence

Inclusive Excellence: Inclusive excellence, a term coined by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), is the recognition that a community or institution's success is dependent on how well it values, engages, and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni constituents. Inclusive excellence is a comprehensive approach to institutional transformation, focusing on students' ability to recognize, assess, and critically analyze systems of inequity so they may work toward eliminating some of the most urgent injustices of society.

Mattering & Marginality

Mattering: state in which a person is important, appreciated, and valued.

Marginality: state in which a person feels ignored, shunned, separated, or on the “fringe.” 

Race, Ethnicity, Nationality

Race is a social construction that is supposedly used to the perceived color of a person’s skin, but is actually a combination of physical characteristics. Importantly, there is no biological basis for race, but in our society, people identify themselves racially, and also seek to identify others racially.

Ethnicity refers to membership of a culturally and/or geographically defined group that share cultural practices including but not limited to holidays, food, language, and customs, or religion.

Culture: a people’s way of life that is socially learned, shared, and transmitted from person to person and often across generations; a set of beliefs, traditions and values held by a group of people.

Nationality refers to the place where the person was born and/or holds citizenship. However, nationality often can be determined by place of residence, ethnicity, or national identity.

Social construction

Social Construction refers to the fact that, as a society we make and give meaning to ourselves and the world around us. This extends from material things like tools, money, and computers to aspects of individual identities that only mean what groups of people have collectively agreed they mean. (Radd, Generett, Gooden & Theoharis, under review) Importantly, race, gender, dis/ability, - Race is not biological. It is a social construct. There is no gene or cluster of genes common to all blacks or all whites. Were race “real” in the genetic sense, racial classifications for individuals would remain constant across boundaries. Yet, a person who could be categorized as black in the United States might be considered white in Brazil or colored in South Africa.

©2014 St. Catherine University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA