Our office works with stakeholders and partners across the University to guide Harvard’s culture toward sustainable inclusive excellence

What is Inclusive Excellence?

A community that draws on the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity. One that fully embraces individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

The aspiration to achieve inclusive excellence moves beyond the goal of nondiscrimination and toward an embrace of the value that flows from bringing diversity of experience and thought to campus, and the rich and varied forms of excellence that can emerge from that diversity.  

[Adapted from the Association of American Colleges and Universities]

  • Larry Bacow

    Inclusion and belonging, in my mind, is partly about building community. It’s about helping people to see themselves as part of Harvard when they look at Harvard. Great institutions find ways of capitalizing on the full range of ideas, experiences, backgrounds, and personalities to create a great community. Ultimately, diversity not only makes Harvard a more interesting place, it enhances the learning environment for everyone.
    Lawrence S. Bacow, President of Harvard University

  • Charleston Headshot

    I am thrilled to see the groundswell of work that already exists at Harvard, and I look forward to synthesizing and integrating the University’s many effective diversity and inclusion efforts into a visible, innovative strategy for enhancing diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and belonging across campus. I fundamentally believe that many of the challenges that we face in higher education relative to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging have answers rooted in applied research. We must work together in the field to find them.
    Sherri Ann Charleston, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

  • John Wilson

    This effort is about clarifying, enriching, and deepening who we are as a community. The time is right for a profound assertion of our values. It will always demand far more than any office or individual can manage alone. It will take all of us working together to create a culture of sustainable inclusive excellence.
    John Silvanus Wilson, Senior Advisor & Strategist to the President

  • Drew Faust

    To realize the community’s full promise, and to foster the personal and intellectual transformation at the heart of our mission, we must also work affirmatively and collectively to advance a culture of belonging. This requires an openness to change, as well as a willingness to learn from and embrace difference in the spirit that defines a vibrant and respectful academic community.
    Drew Gilpin Faust, President Emeritus and the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor

Our Office

Our office works across the University to serve as a:

•Facilitate collaboration and strategic partnerships across Schools/Units
•Coordinate common language and vision
•Create and manage the institutional infrastructure necessary to achieve sustainable inclusive excellence

•Collectively identify metrics to advance and measure inclusion and belonging
•Serve as a consultant to support Schools and Units in inclusion and belonging strategic planning
•Foster a culture of innovation in diversity, inclusion, and belonging

Capacity Builder
•Support inclusion and belonging training and technical assistance
•Ensure access to tools and resources across the University and serve as central access point for inclusion and belonging resources​​​​​​
•Surface and maximize adoption of promising practices

Community Building
•Develop spaces for affinity-group gathering
•Create opportunities to engage across affinity group
•Foster inclusive dialogue, conversations, and community spaces

Our Goals

Three people laughing, seated in a panel leading discussions

Recruitment, Retention, and Development Practices for Excellence

Each part of Harvard should recruit and retain a community that draws on the widest possible pool of exceptional talent, unifying excellence and diversity; promotion processes should be characterized by nondiscrimination and should recognize excellence in all its forms. 

A large, diverse group of people around a conference table raising their hands.

Union of Academic Freedom and a Culture of Mutual Respect and Concern

All members of the Harvard community can, in a thoughtful and concrete manner, work to discover and develop teaching, learning, mentoring, and interpersonal engagement strategies that promote academic freedom alongside mutual respect and concern.

Three people looking into a computer screen. Behind them is a tile wall

Academic, Professional, and Social Integration

All members of the Harvard community should be integrated into academic, professional, and social contexts that permit them to be their authentic selves and that support their academic and professional success, even while challenging them to grow.

Person placing a small poster on a whiteboard

Inclusive Values, Symbols, and Spaces

Our symbols and spaces should convey our values of excellence, inclusion, and openness as well as conveying how those aspirations both grow from but also transcend our history.

Our Office