Guiding Terms

Shared language and understanding

At UNC Charlotte, a foundational component to maintaining a culture of inclusive excellence is shared language. Below are the key terms that guide our work.

Diversity1: Refers to the range of human differences and experiences such as race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, citizenship, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system and national origin.

Equity2: Refers to eliminating barriers and providing various levels of support and assistance depending on specific needs or abilities to help overcome barriers.  

Inclusion1The extent to which a person feels included or a sense of belonging, means the ongoing process of improving systems to meet everyone’s needs, especially those in marginalized groups.

Inclusive Excellence3: A framework designed to integrate diversity, equity, and educational quality efforts into institutional missions and institutional operations as a shared responsibility among all members. Inclusive excellence is an active ongoing process of continuous improvement through inquiry, action, accountability, and assessment as a driving force for organizing efforts to build and sustain a climate and culture that invites and leverages diversity to guide innovation in teaching, research, discovery, service, partnership, and accountability within and beyond the institution’s borders. 

Diversity and Inclusion8: "Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)" collectively means the intentional efforts undertaken to create an institutional culture and a working and learning environment that offers acceptance, support and respect for a diversity of individuals as they pursue their academic, research, and professional ambitions and interests.  

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Eliminating barriers and creating an inclusive and equitable culture of belonging for students, faculty, and staff of different ages, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, identities, and abilities.

Independently, the terms diversity and inclusion have been defined and are referenced in the University of North Carolina System. (2019, September 20). UNC Policy Manual and Code: 300.8.5 Policy on Diversity and Inclusion Within the University of North Carolina.

Milken Institute School of Public Health. (2020, November 5). Equity vs. Equality: What’s the Difference? The George Washington University Online Master of Public Health Program.

Williams, D. A., Berger, J. B., & McClendon, S. A. (2005). Toward a model of inclusive excellence and change in postsecondary institutions. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

The collective term diversity and inclusion (D&I) has been defined and referenced in the University of North Carolina System. (2019, September 20). UNC Policy Manual and Code: 300.8.5 Policy on Diversity and Inclusion within the University of North Carolina