Inclusive Excellence for Student Success
Inclusive Excellence for Student Success (IESS) is a newly formed office at UM as of February 2021. UM students, the Diversity Advisory Council, and UM Administration collaboratively created IESS with the understanding that an inclusive campus is necessary if we are to achieve institutional excellence. The creation of this office will help ensure we more appropriately address the day-to-day needs and concerns of Students of Color and LGBTQ Students while also recognizing them as vitally important members of our community. The creation of the Office of Inclusive Excellence for Student Success is the first of many steps towards addressing growing calls to action.
Inclusive Excellence for Student Success (IESS) is a student-centered office designed to support our diverse community and engage in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism efforts at UM. IESS is a component of the university's mission to foster inclusive excellence on our campus and fulfill UM's commitment to place student success at the center of all we do. IESS works directly with underrepresented students to both lift up and give strength to their events and ideas, as well as address any concerns or issues students may have with the University, their peers, or the Missoula community.
Inclusive excellence was developed by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU) with the intent to advance greater intentionality in inclusion and diversity work in higher education settings.
The AACU defines Inclusive Excellence as "a proactive effort to address diversity, inclusion, and equity as critical to the wellbeing of democratic culture and is an active process through which colleges and universities achieve excellence in learning, teaching, student development, institutional functioning, and engagement in local and global communities".
The Education Advisory Board (EAB) defines diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to aid university leaders as they cultivate, foster, and promote DEI efforts on university campuses.
Diversity is the representation of all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another.
Equity is evaluating systems and institutions to identify and remove biases in the distribution of opportunities and resources.
Inclusion is ensuring differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectively heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging.
The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) informs national policy and trends in the fields of diversity, equity, and inclusion and is leading higher education towards inclusive excellence. NADOHE defines Anti-Racism in their Framework for Advancing Anti-Racism Strategy on Campus.
- Anti-Racism is the active process of identifying, challenging, and confronting racism. This active process requires confronting systems. Organizational structures, policies, practices, behaviors, and attitudes. This active process should seek to redistribute power in an effort to foster equitable outcomes.
In an effort to address the DEI needs of our students on the UM campus, IESS is focused on three service areas: Student Support, Learning Sessions/Trainings, Campus Engagement
Student Support is at the center of all IESS services. IESS provides guidance and mentorship to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and LGBTQ students and student groups. Students are encouraged to utilize the Branch Center and connect with IESS.
Students needing support around issues of bias or for help with connecting to student groups focused on diversity and inclusion are asked to connect with IESS. If you or a student you know needs support, please reach out.
For support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (406) 243-5776, or visit the UC Branch Center, Room 206.
Bias Response Team (BRT)
The Bias Response Team (BRT) works towards making UM a safe and inclusive environment for everyone at UM. BRT is a campus partnership that provides advocacy and support to students who experience or witness an incident of bias based on their identity. Please reach out to the office of Inclusive Excellence for Student Success for more information
BIPOC Student Support Group
Offers a supportive space where BIPOC students can discuss culturally relevant issues and ways to navigate through life challenges inclusive of structural inequality, marginalization, and microaggression. This support group will offer opportunities for open and honest reflection about the ever evolving landscape of life while exploring what is required to successfully respond and manage etno-racially aversive or traumatic situations and experiences.
Diversity and Inclusion Student Leadership Group
Student Leaders from the Branch Center student groups, including Kyiyo and other cultural groups, meet once a month to build community, share events, and discuss issues facing BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students.
Learning sessions and trainings are focused on teaching common terminology used in DEI and LGBTQ work. Each session is designed to expand understanding to promote awareness around DEI issues and LGBTQ allyship. For more information and instructions on how to request specific learning sessions, please see the descriptions below.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Learning Session
In collaboration with the Student Advocacy Resource Center (SARC), IESS provides a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Learning Session for students. During this learning session, participants are provided definitions of D, E, and I, and microaggressions, discrimination, and harassment are explained. UM's Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation policies are outlined, which leads into an explanation of the Title IX/Equal Opportunity Office. The learning session focuses on how we can foster a culture of respect at UM by suggesting certain action steps. During the conclusion, various resources for students including safe spaces and supportive services are introduced. (90 minutes)
To request a training, please visit the SARC website.
UM Allies promotes LGBTQ equality through education, support, and awareness. UM Allies training provides an opportunity for UM staff and faculty, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to take a prominent and active role in fostering and upholding a culture of safety and inclusion at UM.
For more information about becoming an Ally or to request a training, please visit the UM Allies website, or email UM Allies Coordinator, Bekah Redinger at Bekah.Redinger@mso.umt.edu.
IESS supports UM’s efforts to implement UM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, found here https://www.umt.edu/diversity-equity-inclusion-plan/default.php by working with colleges, departments, and other units in creating a welcoming environment for all students. IESS collaborates with the efforts of the Diversity Advisory Council and other campus groups to advance DEI and anti-racism goals.
The office of Inclusive Excellence for Student Success is the accountable owner for the following strategies:
- Strategy 3.2.4: Develop a central and living repository of self-education materials on anti-bias, anti-racism, and equitable practices
- Strategy 5.2.3: Develop web content specifically devoted to diversity
Chat with the Director
Each week, the Director of Inclusive Excellence holds office hours to consult on DEI issues in the classroom, in student support programming, and events on campus. Please feel free to drop in with questions or concerns. Office hours are hosted with the goal of creating a space for open and honest conversations around DEI issues in a non-judgmental setting. To find out when office hours will be held each semester, please visit GrizHub.
Inclusive Excellence for Student Success has developed several events to better support and celebrate BIPOC and LGBTQ students.
Please see Grizhub for dates and times.
Salena Beaumont Hill, PhD.
Director of Inclusive Excellence
Branch Center, UC 201, Suite 206
Inclusive Excellence Student Coordinator
Branch Center, UC 201, Suite 206
UM Allies & LGBT+ Student Coordinator
Branch Center, UC 201, Suite 209