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Introduction

I applaud the collaboration and effort that contributed to the development of We Are TCNJ: A Strategy for Inclusive Excellence. The plan provides three overarching strategies that make explicit our intention to cultivate a campus environment where all members of the community can thrive. It will help integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice efforts within our new campuswide strategic plan.

Making excellence inclusive is essential to becoming a student-ready campus, promoting a more equitable learning and working environment, and positively contributing to an increasingly interconnected world. I look forward to working with the TCNJ community in advancing this important work.

Felton headshot

James A. Felton III

Vice President, Inclusive Excellence

Learn More

Download the complete version of We Are TCNJ: A Strategy for Inclusive Excellence.

Strategies, Goals, and Action Steps

Strategy 1 (Access and Success): Increase the diversity and inclusion of students, staff, and faculty, and cultivate diverse community partnerships.

TCNJ will work to build a more diverse student body, staff, and faculty, ensuring support and opportunities necessary for their success. It will also engage in community outreach programs and initiatives to promote a deeper sense of community, history, and institutional identity.

Major actions will include:

  • Enhancing diverse pipelines of academically talented students, staff, and faculty
  • Creating an equitable and autonomous college experience for students with disabilities
  • Utilizing and promoting services of women-, veteran-, LGBTQ-, and minority-owned businesses
  • Expanding mutually serving partnerships within the local and regional community

Goal 1: By 2025, the incoming undergraduate and graduate students will better reflect the college-going population within the state, and increasingly, the nation as a whole.

Action Steps:

  1. Establish a self-identifying reporting protocol to capture more fully the diversity demographics of our students and report these data annually
  2. Review and enhance the college’s student diversity recruitment strategy. We will implement relevant national programs to attract more diverse pools of talented students; market to students from a wider range of backgrounds and locations; and report annually on applications, admissions, and enrollment

Goal 2: By 2026, narrow by 20% the gaps in retention, graduation, and post-graduation placement outcomes for students from underrepresented and culturally diverse groups.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop an annual equity scorecard to report timely and accurate data on retention, graduation, and post-graduation outcomes
  2. Invest in coordinated student support services, including mentoring, tutoring, accessibility resources, advising, financial aid, and case management to address increasing caseloads and meet particular needs of students seeking academic, social, and financial support
  3. Develop and implement institution-wide retention and support initiatives for students, including those who are first generation, men of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ, and women
  4. Create academic, residential, special interest, and identity affinity groups to ensure equality of opportunity and success

Goal 3: By 2027, the recruitment and retention rates for underrepresented staff and faculty should mirror that of their majority counterparts.

Action Steps:

  1. Review the annual Affirmative Action Plan to track and analyze areas where there is underutilization of underrepresented and culturally diverse staff and faculty (e.g., veterans, disabilities, racial/ethnic backgrounds), which would allow the college to develop recruitment strategies and to establish benchmarks for best practices and perform against industry standards
  2. Increase staff and faculty diversity by:
    1. Partnering with women- and minority-serving institutions as well as organizations that promote opportunities for aspiring staff and faculty from underrepresented backgrounds
    2. Providing professional development and bias training for members of search committees
    3. Regularly reviewing and auditing search committee policies for equitable practices
    4. Raising resources to promote more diverse outcomes in faculty and staff hiring
  3. Develop and implement initiatives — including mentoring, professional development, affinity groups, and educational opportunities — for staff members seeking life and career advancement
  4. Develop and monitor progress on programs to close diversity-based equity gaps in tenure and promotion, nominations, leadership positions, and other college opportunities (e.g., awards, accolades, and professional development)

Goal 4: By 2027, formalize our commitment to community engagement by identifying and aligning the needs of diverse communities with appropriate college resources.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop and implement a more robust supplier program that increases the level of business performed with women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses in the region
  2. Enhance and expand working relationships with culturally diverse groups, including but not limited to civic and social justice organizations as well as veteran, LGBTQ, and indigenous communities within New Jersey

Strategy 2 (Inclusive Campus Climate): Create and sustain an inclusive and equitable campus environment.

TCNJ will foster an inclusive and welcoming climate for all students, staff, and faculty, and create an environment where a diversity of thought and experience is supported, respected, and valued.

Major actions will include:

  • Consistently and boldly communicating that diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to the academic mission of the college
  • Promoting cultural competency through curricula, co-curricular engagement, and professional development opportunities
  • Developing protocols and campaigns to address bias and other forms of social injustice
  • Increasing the awareness and recognition of achievements in support of the college’s inclusive excellence goals

Goal 1: By 2023, administer regular campus climate surveys and use results to identify inclusion gaps, track progress, and bolster inclusion.

Action Steps:

  1. Administer an Inclusive Excellence Campus Climate Survey once every three years beginning in 2023
  2. Create an inclusion dashboard with time-specific and quantified goals for inclusion

Goal 2: By 2024, increase awareness of, exposure to, and recognition of DEIJ values, initiatives, and achievements.

Action Steps:

  1. Establish an expectation of DEIJ issues being included on the agendas of groups involved in shared governance, school, and departmental agendas as a standard practice
  2. Expose new and transfer students and new employees to the college’s values and commitment to DEIJ
    1. Implement a robust and inclusive, competency-based onboarding for new hires
    2. Embed cultural and education awareness programs in Welcome Week and new student orientation activities
  3. Promote and celebrate common ground and goals advancing TCNJ’s inclusive excellence mission and strategy
  4. Build and recognize skills, expertise, and competencies in inclusion by:
    1. Developing and implementing initiatives to ensure equitable access to prestigious campus, state, and national honors and awards for culturally diverse students, faculty, and staff
    2. Establishing annual inclusive excellence awards for the campus community

Goal 3: By 2025, become a role model for higher education expertise, leadership, and action in diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop or arrange programming to ensure full participation of students, faculty, staff, and leadership boards in at least one substantive event/course/workshop annually to promote DEIJ knowledge, skill development, and experiences
  2. Engage academic units to:
    1. Inventory the degree to which DEIJ competencies are embedded in curricular syllabi and co-curricular programs
    2. Collaborate with faculty in the review and revision of course content and degree requirements to ensure that diversity and inclusion are infused in course content and curricula
    3. Develop relevant learning outcomes
    4. Create and implement relevant and effective pedagogy and professional development to increase college capacities in DEIJ
  3. Engage and support academic units to develop and deliver an industry-recognized DEIJ certificate program for current and expanded audiences of graduate and undergraduate students as well as working professionals

Goal 4: By 2027, reduce the number of bias-motivated incidents toward marginalized groups by 50%.  

Action Steps:

  1. Regularly report data on bias incidents and responses
  2. Leverage restorative-justice expertise to address and resolve hate-based incidents
  3. Establish an Anti-Racism Initiative mirrored after the successful Anti-Violence Initiative to enlist students, staff, and faculty to educate, build skills, create a culture, and calibrate and communicate progress on reducing bias-based incidents

Strategy 3 (Policy): Enhance campuswide diversity, equity, and inclusion accountability, effectiveness, and collaboration.

TCNJ will create and sustain institutional structures, policies, and procedures that effectively promote equity and inclusion for all members of the college community in their living, learning, and working environments.

Major actions will include:

  • Enhancing shared governance
  • Ensuring greater transparency and accountability for inclusive excellence across units and divisions
  • Collecting and assessing data that will measure commitment and progress toward the college’s inclusive excellence goals

Goal 1: By 2023, facilitate the increased use of data to inform diversity-, equity-, and inclusion-related decision-making.

Action Steps:

  1. Create and monitor an Inclusive Excellence Scorecard to address inclusion and equity gaps across all units and divisions of the college
  2. Establish an annual “State of Diversity” forum to provide updates and monitor progress toward the goals of the inclusive excellence strategy

Goal 2: By 2025, create institutional frameworks that will hold the college accountable for its inclusive excellence goals.

Action Steps:

  1. Support progress and accountability through the development and application of an Inclusive Excellence Strategy scorecard, with clear assignment of tasks and outcomes to college units
  2. Elevate the current Campus Diversity Council (CDC) within the campus governance framework to a higher-level executive council with greater visibility. The CDC will oversee the implementation of We Are TCNJ: A Strategy for Inclusive Excellence, set and monitor annual goals and progress, and collaborate with other governance groups and senates to achieve inclusive excellence strategy goals.

Goal 3: By 2027, all college policies will have undergone an equity review. Those with revisions will have been submitted to governance for updating.

Action Steps:

  1. Create an Inclusive Excellence Impact Assessment tool/rubric for use by governance and campus groups to facilitate the review and revision of policy language, content, and outcomes
  2. Develop an annual audit of college policies and practices that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as the achievement of TCNJ goals and strategies
  3. Review and reform 20% of policies annually to achieve completion over a five-year cycle
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