At the University at Buffalo, excellence—embracing and exhibiting the highest level of quality in research, teaching and service—can be achieved only when diverse perspectives are engaged. The office of the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence plans, coordinates and monitors UB’s efforts to institutionalize the culture of equity and inclusion university-wide.
The mission of the Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence (VPIX) is to promote excellence in all aspects of UB’s operations by facilitating processes that remove barriers to access and advancement on the basis of race, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or veteran status for students, faculty and staff. Excellence—embracing and exhibiting the highest level of quality in research, teaching and service—can be achieved only when diverse perspectives are engaged.
The creation of the new Vice Provost position in 2014 coincided with the implementation phase of UB 2020, the university’s strategic plan, and was informed by the work of the Commission on Academic Excellence and Equity.
Chaired by Athena D. Mutua, professor of law, the Commission examined data, policies and practices on faculty recruitment and career paths. The commission was charged with identifying barriers that impede faculty success and making specific recommendations that would lift these barriers so that faculty, “regardless of gender/race/ethnicity, can excel and flourish.”
An implementation committee, chaired by Arjang Assad, dean of the school of management, recommended the appointment of a senior member of UB’s senior leadership team to oversee diversity and equity issues at the university and to monitor efforts to create a university-wide culture of equity and inclusion.
The committee also recommended expanding the availability of demographic data about faculty and staff to optimize the effectiveness and transparency of inclusion measures and processes; additional faculty mentoring and evaluation to improve the prospects for positive renewal and tenure decision; and development of guidelines for improved faculty work-life balance.
Provost Charles F. Zukoski announced in an email to the campus community, the appointment of Law Professor, Teresa A. Miller, as the University at Buffalo’s first Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion (now Inclusive Excellence) on Feb. 20, 2014.
“Creating the conditions for inclusiveness and equity among faculty, staff and students is critical for the transformational learning environment that will ensure UB’s reputation for excellence in the highly globalized and rapidly changing 21st century.” - Provost Zukoski
In 2016, under the leadership of the then Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion, the university drafted its institution-wide strategic diversity and inclusion plan, “Our Commitment to Inclusive Excellence.” This plan surveys UB’s earlier and ongoing diversity and inclusion-related initiatives, and explores the evolution of faculty, staff and student demographics and the campus environment. It presents a plan to integrate inclusive excellence in all aspects of university operations, foster a sense of shared responsibility, better monitor progress to goals, and create a Center for Inclusive Excellence that facilitates and coordinates diversity and inclusion related efforts across campus.
To reflect UB’s commitment to inclusive excellence, as well as better distinguish the office from its institutional partner, the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, in fall 2017, the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion became the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence and the Office of Inclusive Excellence.