Kathleen Roberts Kathleen Roberts,
Senior Advisor to the
President for Inclusive Excellence


Northern Kentucky University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness and foster a culture of inclusion whereby all members experience a sense of belonging through respectful interactions and opportunities to fully participate in the life of the university. Inclusive excellence is NKU’s north star, providing us with a vision and a practice for collaboratively achieving broad and specific diversity initiatives; leveraging the educational and institutional benefits of diversity; and creating the conditions for the flourishing of all students, faculty and staff. 

  • Inclusive excellence is an active, collaborative, and comprehensive change process that catalyzes excellence in learning, teaching, student development, engagement, and institutional operations (AAC&U, 2005); 
  • It is the recognition that a university’s success is dependent on how well it values, engages and includes the rich diversity of students, staff, faculty, and administrators and;
  • The acknowledgment that practicing inclusiveness and achieving excellence are interdependent.

Institutional Inclusive Excellence Plan 2022 

The University’s Inclusive Excellence Plan is situated within the framework that emerged from the efforts of CPE (Council for Post-Secondary Education) to develop a new state-wide policy on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and a process for setting educational opportunity goals and determining eligibility to offer new degree programs. This new policy is “grounded on the premise that to truly prepare students for life and work in an increasingly diverse society, Kentucky higher education institutions shall develop a plan to embrace diversity and equity…commit to improving academic achievement for all students, create an inclusive campus environment, and produce culturally competent graduates for the workforce.”[1] 

To view the Institutional Inclusive Excellence Plan, please click here.  


[1] Kentucky Public Postsecondary Education Policy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. adopted by CPE: September 23, 2016 (PDF)



Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, physical or cognitive abilities, as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations) that can be engaged in the service of learning (AAC&U).


The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical). This engagement with diversity has the potential to increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions (AAC&U).


Creating opportunities for equal access and success for historically underrepresented populations, such as racial and ethnic minority and low-income students, in three main areas: representational equity, the proportional participation at all levels of an institution; resources equity, the distribution of educational resources in order to close equity gaps; equity-mindedness, the demonstration of an awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff.