Advancing Inclusive Excellence at the Honors College

Last summer, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and concerns raised by members of our own community, the Honors College issued the following statement reaffirming our commitment to building a culture of inclusive excellence.

“At this time, we recommit ourselves and the Honors College, and we urge you all to recommit to a community based on listening and understanding, inclusion, and empathy, where all people, no matter their differences, can feel equally valued and safe. Together we can work towards setting a model for the kind of community we imagine is possible. But it will take much work, work that must not solely fall on those who most directly are harmed by the racism starkly displayed in recent weeks.”

As the Honors College continues to address racial injustice and social inequality, we have outlined strategic priorities for engaging faculty, staff, and students to create an inclusive environment for all.

Strategic Priorities

Cultivating Cultural Competence

  • Working with the diversity education consulting firm Cultural Connections by Design, the entire HC staff is participating in semester-long workshops and training on creating and maintaining an inclusive workspace and fostering an equitable and inclusive community among our students
  • Working with our students, the Honors College staff has created a regular DEI newsletter to update staff and students on HC and university-wide programming and opportunities

Enhancing the Institutional Climate

  • We have updated our mission statement and our description of our motto to reflect and emphasize the centrality of diversity and inclusion to our core values and vision
  • We are working with University Facilities and outside partners on creating more welcoming and culturally representative and diverse spaces in the building for the fall when students return to campus

Creating a Culture of Belonging

  • Through the Student Affairs Strategic Plan, we are focusing on more inclusive student leader selection and development, cross-cultural conversations, and revisiting the programming model
  • We have strengthened the pre-existing affinity groups, Gen HC program, and Diversity Peer Educators program

Broadening the Honors College Curriculum

  • Working with teaching fellows and students, we have updated the Forum curriculum to incorporate more attention to locally based community partnerships, implicit bias, ethnocentrism, and the problem of "savior complex."
  • Building on the proposal put forth by the True Inclusion Curriculum Committee, we will be piloting a one-credit Cultural Competency Course in the fall, with plans for it becoming a requirement in fall 2022
  • We are engaging the university’s academic schools in requiring all Honors College students to fulfill a 3-credit RICE (Race, Inequality, and Community Engagement) requirement

Expanding a Diverse Pipeline of Highly Qualified Students

  • Partnering with University Admissions, we have updated parameters and procedures for deciding merit scholarship awards and honors invitations, leading to significantly more invitations to students from underrepresented groups
  • We are working directly with high school pipeline programs and creating relationships with community-based organizations and independent counselors to begin recruitment of highly qualified students early in their high school careers


To learn more about our programs, including the Diversity Peer Education Program, Generation HC Program, Affinity Groups, HC Speaks, Cuts from the Culture, and more, visit: