The newly branded Office for Inclusive Excellence is an expansion of the Office for Multicultural Development, and will aim to create worthwhile opportunities for all students to promote positive social change on campus and in life.
The Office for Inclusive Excellence specifically focuses on mentoring and coaching designed to offer academic and social support, build individual capacity and self-efficacy, and connect students to the surrounding University community. The office will create opportunities for all students to live and enjoy different cultures in a safe and supportive environment. Finally, it will provide a voice for the students, while teaching them to be advocates for change in a positive way.
The Office for Inclusive Excellence has four primary concentrations on which they look to help students excel at SRU and beyond graduation. The concentrations of the office includes transition, mentoring, inclusion, and advocacy. The overall goal of the office is to welcome students of all abilities, ages, ethnicity, genders, nationalities, races, religions, spiritual traditions, socioeconomic classes, and sexual orientations. The common misconception is that this office is only an outside entity, but instead it is creating the excellence for inclusion, Corinne Gibson, Director of the Office for Inclusive Excellence, said.
“We have really tried to expand upon the work we were already doing, by including various other underrepresented students and groups on campus with the OIE,” Gibson said. “That will include Veterans, various inner faith councils, the Pride Center, and The Women’s center. The Women’s Center and Pride Center were already here, but they will now be included in inclusive excellence.”
Gibson discussed how this effort to form inclusive excellence was a combination of several people to make this transition possible.
“The combination of myself, Provost Way, and associate provost Wilmes, made this happen so smoothly,” Gibson said.
The project to form the inclusive excellence idea has been worked on for some time now, Gibson said. It began at the beginning of the fall semester, and worked towards creating this extended mission and setting out the goals that hoped to be accomplished, Gibson said. Gibson mentioned how the hope is to have a bigger launch, with people from across campus comes and learn about the mission and vision for inclusive excellence. Collaborations will be accepted and are encouraged with the OIE, Gibson said.
“Say someone from career services comes over to see what OIE is all about, and once they’ve read our mission and know what we’re all about we can then collaborate on that piece,” Gibson said.
Being that it is the Office for Inclusive Excellence, the main part is diversity awareness but also the transition programs, Gibson said. The office can expand on the transition piece and ensure student success here at SRU, Gibson said. Within the transition program is the Jumpstart program, and sophomore initiatives which have been a focal point for the office, Gibson said.
“The whole transition idea is to ensure that every student is successful throughout their first year, all the way through graduation here at SRU,” Gibson said. “The Jumpstart program works primarily for first-year students, to help these students transition to college life here at SRU.”
Gibson spoke highly of associate provost Wilmes and his easiness and willingness to new ideas for the office.
“He’s definitely a joy to work with, and was very helpful in being able to bounce ideas off of him,” Gibson said. “He helped me to formulate what what I wanted to say in our mission vision and our goals.”
Gibson said she looks forward to the future and what the Office for Inclusive Excellence can do for the SRU community.
“This my seventh year here at Slippery Rock, and from my time coming I’ve always wanted to expand on what we see as multiculturalism,” Gibson said. “We were unfortunately only at a race stage when I first came, and we were just trying to move through racial identity. We really wanted to touch upon all the other identities that people have. We weren’t able to do that due to lack of staff and resources, and we have to do the priorities first. Now being able to have other staff members, we will be able to get to many more things.”