Inclusive Excellence in Educational Administration
Merriam-Webster defines journey as “an act of traveling from one place to another.” As Chancellor Green wrote in his June 5, 2020 message committing the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to a journey toward anti-racism and racial equity, “We must take real steps to address racial inequities and a history of exclusion. We must take them now. We must take them again, and again, and again…while continuously critiquing and evaluating our progress when we fall short.” This journey is a central component of the N2025 Strategic Plan with additional commitments from the College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS) and the Department of Educational Administration (EDAD).
CEHS is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals, families, schools, and communities and strengthening the relationships among them. Accordingly, the CEHS Strategic Plan articulates three Grand Visions: Thriving Young Children, Comprehensive Health and Well-being, and Strong Communities, with aims and strategies focused on desired outcomes.Aim 1:Emphasize, prioritize, and expand inclusive excellence and diversityAim 2: Foster innovative, collaborative, and interdisciplinary endeavors that provide evidence-based solutions to achieve the College’s Grand Visions and address the campus’ Grand Challenges Aim 3: Increase the impact of research and creative activity Aim 4: Prepare culturally sustaining, lifelong learners and relevant contributors to communities and the workforce in Nebraska and the world Aim 5: Broaden engagement in school, community, industry, and global partnerships Aim 6: Prioritize professional development for all students, staff, and faculty
The Department of Educational Administration (EDAD) embraces the University and CEHS strategic plans through a longstanding commitment to inclusive excellence. We seek to communicate our commitment and document actions already taken, work in progress, and future aspirations. We believe sharing these efforts will strengthen our accountability and ensure our that our stated intentions are not merely performative, but translate to tangible actions aligned with the College and University commitments.
EDAD Inclusive Excellence Goals
In addition to being guided by the Aims listed above, EDAD faculty members have articulated three goals related to inclusive excellence. In pursuit of these goals, we have undertaken several initiatives to ensure that our mission, vision, and goals represent a living, breathing document that guides daily practice in our community. As such, it is subject to change and improvement along our journey toward inclusive excellence. Recent and ongoing steps on our journey are described below.
Goal A: Create a community of diverse identities.
In 2020, eliminating the GRE as an admission requirement for all Department programs (CEHS Aim 1).
EDAD students, faculty, and staff are regular participants in and contributors to diversity-related efforts offered by CEHS AFIRE (CEHS Aim 1).
Seeking to expand students’ sense of community across academic programs, CEHS, UNL, and beyond through national organizations such as the University Council of Educational Administration, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Council for the Study of Community Colleges, Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and others (CEHS Aim 6)
Improve student access to diversity-related resources through more effective communication, a newly-configured Graduate Student Alliance, and revitalized online Student Success Center (CEHS Aim 1).
Goal B: Cultivate and sustain an inclusive EDAD community in which individuals with diverse identities can thrive.
Increasing attention to application and admission requirements and systemic barriers that disadvantage members of underrepresented groups in higher education (CEHS Aim 1).
Engaging in professional learning facilitated by CEHS Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion John Raible focused on becoming a multi-cultural organization (Jackson & Hardiman, 1994). Members of our team have identified immediate, middle, and long-term actions to support inclusive excellence (CEHS Aim 6).
Creating space for ongoing faculty examination/audit of program curricula and course syllabi to analyze desired knowledge, skills, and dispositions with respect to inclusive excellence, multiple sources of knowledge and expression, and equity. Here, faculty members share promising instructional practices and pedagogy that support inclusive excellence and intentional consideration of instructional materials from a variety of sources and perspectives (CEHS Aim 3).
Seeking expansion of student networking and professional learning opportunities through conference attendance and engagement with graduate students at other Big Ten universities (CEHS Aim 6).
Collaborate with Indigenous elders and University leaders to create a statement acknowledging the university’s founding through the 1862 Morrill Act, its location on Indigenous lands, the forced removal of Native peoples through violence and coercion, and our commitment to building relationships and serving all Nebraskans. In creating this statement, we seek to not only acknowledge the past, present, and future homeland of Native peoples and situate ourselves as learners about Native cultures, traditions, and ways of knowing to better serve, build, and sustain relationships with Indigenous peoples (CEHS Aim 5).
Engage in professional learning to welcome Indigenous students and perspectives as we prepare to launch the Indigenous Roots for School Leaders program (CEHS Aim 5).
Goal C: Engage in ongoing practices to address issues of race, power, and privilege within educational systems beyond the department.
In 2020, EDAD faculty engaged in a series of professional learning sessions facilitated by Dr. Brian McGowan,Associate Professor and Associate Director of Pedagogy and Higher Education Research at the American University Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning. Dr. McGowan’s workshops allowed faculty to identify individual and collective actions that can be taken to support inclusive excellence, drawing upon Gorski’s (2019) workaround Avoiding Racial Equity Detours (CEHS Aim 6).
Ensure equity in faculty search processes by mandating equity training for all search committee members and designating a diversity advocate on each search committee (CEHS Aim 1).
Incorporate improvement science and equity perspectives in the newly designed Doctor of Education (EdD) program (CEHS Aim 4).
Gorski, P. (2019). Avoiding Racial Equity Detours. Educational Leadership, 76(7), 56–61.
Jackson, B. W., & Hardiman, R. (1994). Multicultural organization development. In Cross, E. Y.. Katz, J. H. Miller, F. A., & Seashore, E. W. (Eds.), The promise of diversity: Over 40 voices discuss strategies for eliminating discrimination in organizations. (pp 231-239). NTL Institute.
As scholars in a Research-1, land grant university, EDAD faculty members embrace the opportunity and responsibility to conduct and disseminate research and engage in outreach that advances inclusive excellence. Faculty members’ efforts are aligned with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s journey toward anti-racism and racial equity, launched by Chancellor Green in 2020. EDAD faculty and staff are committed to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into the strategic vision of the College of Education and Human Sciences. Faculty biographies share the myriad ways members of our team leverage their research expertise and practical experience to support more inclusive and effective educational organizations, from preschool through higher education. We invite you to learn more about our faculty members’ teaching, research, engagement, and service on their biography pages.
In summer 2022, the EDAD Inclusive Excellence Work Group, led by Dr. Crystal Garcia with members Drs. Taeyeon Kim, Dijon DeLaPorte, and Jiangang Xia developed focused plans to assist the department in better understanding the student experience in our department. The work group developed a protocol for 90 minute student facilitated focus groups seeking student insights on diversity, equity, and inclusion in EDAD. All department students were invited to participate in the sessions, which were organized across multiple categories, including international students, students of color (2 sessions), LGBTQIA+ students, and all students (2 sessions). The Work Group is collaborating with student facilitators to compile and analyze themes from the focus groups, which will guide future department actions. Since that time, the group has expanded to include Drs. Don Johnson and Corey Rumann.
Department Chair Nick Pace invited faculty and staff to join him in completing LGBTQA+ 101 and Ally 101 training offered by the LGBTQA+ Center. The department also continued its longstanding support of the UNL Gender Equity Conference, LGBTQA+ History Month Dinner, and informal sharing and professional development related to areas of faculty teaching and research expertise.
In fall 2022, the Inclusive Excellence Work Group asked faculty to identify professional learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff across the academic year, including faculty-led sharing and presentations and special invited guests. Other work in 2022-23 included a group of faculty meeting monthly to use a syllabus audit tool to work course improvements to make a course more inclusive, incorporate multiple perspectives, etc., and monthly sessions facilitated by CEHS Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion John Raible aimed at infusing inclusive excellence into daily activities.
Individual members of our community continue their engagement in CEHS AFIRE and other campus and local organizations, in addition to research, service, and outreach around inclusive excellence. Our team also continued work on a land acknowledgement and strengthening relationships with members of Indigenous communities.
The 2023 Academic Program Review acknowledged the EDAD community's commitment and actions to date on inclusive excellence as strengths and challenged us to continue progress, learning, and sharing in difficult, complex work to align our practices and espoused values. Much of the department's 2023 Advance focused on building and sustaining a community in which all feel valued, heard, supported, and find belonging.