University of Dayton Forms an Inclusive Excellence Council

Cover photo of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception and UD’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial taken by Christian Cubacub 

Shayleigh Frank
News Staff Writer

This story was written before the suspension of in-person classes and closure of campus housing for most students due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force at the University of Dayton has created a strategic plan to help circulate the university’s Catholic and Marianist values.

Due to a two-year assessment process led by Dr. Lawrence Burnley, vice president for diversity and inclusion, the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force was able to develop a new strategic plan for the coming years at the University of Dayton. In addition, the task force recommended the creation of a new permanent body, the University Inclusive Excellence Council.

Dr. Lawrence Burnley, a university administrator, led UD’s two-year assessment process on diversity and inclusion. Photo from

The plan is called the Flyers Plan for Community Excellence, which will take form from 2020 to 2024. The goal is to help enhance the university’s capacity for intercultural and inclusive engagement.

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“We’re here to provide you the very best education, as we understand it, in light of our Catholic and Marianist mission and identity,” Burnley said. “All of our work is both informed by and responsive to our Catholic and Marianist mission.”

This new diversity plan provides strategic goals and objectives that supporters say place students in the best position to learn, lead and serve, giving all a chance to grow as equity-minded scholars. By creating a cohort of students, faculty and staff, the group was able to develop different modes of improvement for the current diversity and inclusion program.

The council’s goals are to advise the president and vice president for diversity and inclusion on matters related to diversity and inclusion and serve as an “organizational mechanism” to develop and then continue the collaboration of campus-wide initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

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Following these initiatives, the council is expected to report on the university’s progress with the execution of the new strategic plan and then make recommendations for promoting communication of the university initiatives. It will alsoidentify systemic structures, policies and traditions that will advance the ideals of their initiative.

“Each goal is so interconnected in terms of addressing the complex set of issues that are involved with creating a kind of environment for learning, living and working,” Burnley said. “It plays a critical role in our ability to actually be a university for the common good.”

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