Diversity in any institution is absolutely critical to that institution’s growth and success. A wide array of perspectives and outlooks on the world enhances the learning of everyone in the organization. However, diversity efforts often begin — and end — with an overwhelming focus on numbers. Diversity efforts in schools, for example, are often dedicated to increasing the numbers of individuals from socially-marginalized backgrounds in the student and parent body, faculty and staff. What is often missing, unfortunately, in diversity work is a recognition of the importance and power of community.

“Beloved community is formed, not by the eradication of difference, but by its affirmation; by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.” ~ bell hooks, American author, feminist and social activist

Also critical to truly transformational diversity work is a recognition that diversity, community and excellence are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the philosophy of Ash Consulting Group is: those institutions that constantly affirm and include, in a meaningful way, the diversity of all its community members are fertile ground for excellence — inclusive excellence.

“Inclusive Excellence (IE) 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. More than a short-term project or single office initiative, this comprehensive approach requires a fundamental transformation of the institution by embedding and practicing IE in every effort, aspect, and level of a school, college or university. The goal is to make IE a habit that is implemented and practiced consistently throughout an institution.” ~ Center for Multicultural Excellence, University of Denver