Dean and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Michael Dennin was joined by Professor of History and Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Doug Haynes in the first installment of a series titled “Conversations with the Vice Provost.” In this episode, Dean Dennin and Professor Haynes discuss what diversity and inclusive excellence mean at the university level (specifically for UCI) as well as the way faculty can properly promote excellence to their students.

The conversation started with Dean Dennin asking Professor Haynes about the meaning of inclusive excellence as it relates to the university. According to Professor Haynes, “Inclusive excellence refers to defining excellence in relationship to the boundaries of diversity” it’s a “recognition that talent, promise, [and] achievement” are “broadly distributed in society…that they are historical barriers and hurdles to educational achievement, and that there’s a consciousness to really work to scaffold success for all of our students.”

The Vice Provosts then moved on to discussing the importance of changing the institution rather than changing the individual to increase diversity and inclusive excellence.

Professor Haynes:

“To that extent, we really have done something that’s affecting change here, but also across the landscape. Decade…is an initiative that was launched by Francis Leslie…to increase participation among historically underrepresented populations in our many graduate programs as well as women in some of our STEM fields. The goal is to harness talented people, create an environment where they can do their best work, and go out and shape the world.”

Dean Dennin:

“We often get a criticism…in the history of pedagogical reform…because it will help other groups be more successful, you often get the comment ‘Oh, you’re just trying to water down your criteria. You’re making an easy course.’ When from my perspective, I think…it’s about changing maybe how we brought in our definition of it a bit so we really understand the breadth of excellence…[and] the pathways to excellence particularly for our students.”

Professor Haynes:

“UCI is becoming a learning institution…we understand what we’re doing…we know what works and why…We’re not challenging excellence. What we’re saying is we want to ensure that individuals who are admitted to UCI or who are admitted as faculty have the infrastructure to be successful, and so we think about strengths as opposed to deficits. And I think as a learning organization, we need to learn about learning.”

For the full interview, click here.

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