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The Cost Of Inclu$ive Excellence

Maintaining the educational diversocracy ain't cheap

On the one hand, it’s tough that it costs about $43,000 per year to attend the University of St. Thomas, a private Catholic liberal arts college in Minnesota, where tuition rose nearly four percent over the previous year.

On the other hand, look at the kind of exciting administrative support you get for your money! The university is inviting applications for Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence. At the University of St. Thomas, associate vice presidents make an estimated base salary of between $135K and $146K. Here’s more information about the position from the university’s website:


In accordance with our University of St. Thomas mission of advancing the common good and convictions of dignity and diversity, the university seeks to create and sustain a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. Reporting directly to the President, the Associate Vice President for (AVP) for Inclusive Excellence will lead the development and implementation of a proactive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, which will support St. Thomas’s mission and strategic priorities.

The AVP for Inclusive Excellence is a high-level management position reporting directly to the President and serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet. The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will lead the development of a vision and effective strategy that champions the importance and value of a diverse and inclusive university environment. Annual university-wide goals and strategies will be developed by the AVP for Inclusive Excellence to bring together various constituencies across the university. Tapping into a broad array of existing university resources, the AVP for Inclusive Excellence will also engage faculty, staff and students to build a welcoming and inclusive culture at St. Thomas.

Key to success in the position is the ability to establish effective and productive relationships with other university leaders in ways that are developmentally supportive and productive.

The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will design and implement training initiatives on cultural competency, gender diversity, disability, sexual identity, inter-faith understanding and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values, and maintaining compliance with applicable laws. The position serves as a key advisor and resource person for leadership, faculty and staff in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equity.

The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will implement an ongoing strategic “action plan to combat racism” designed to activate the university and infuse inclusive practices across the institution.
This position is the nexus of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at St. Thomas. It is a non-academic, professional staff position that does not have a research requirement. The work performed will require being accessible to constituents and present on campus approximately 90% of the time. The primary areas of accountability include strategy, support, coordination, and education.


Collaborating with university partners, lead the development and oversee implementation of a vision and related strategy and action plan that advances university priorities and champions the importance and value of a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. Comprehensively assess university culture and make recommendations about campus climate, student diversity, equity and success; and employee outcomes related to diversity and equity. Engage with university leadership, faculty, staff and students to build a welcoming and inclusive culture at St. Thomas.

Plan, guide and advise university leadership on diversity, equity, and inclusion matters. Collaborate with leadership to create, implement and monitor programs designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of students, faculty and staff.

Create strong partnerships throughout the university to advance diversity, equity and inclusion goals and objectives. In partnership with Human Resources, Enrollment, Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, assess potential barriers and develop strategies focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce and student body. Participate in and advise on St. Thomas’s recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups. Work with Human Resources to reach out to diverse communities of professionals and develop recruitment strategies that attract underrepresented candidates.

Coordinate the design and delivery of training initiatives on anti-racism, cultural competency, gender diversity, ability, sexual identity, inter-faith understanding and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values, and maintaining compliance with applicable laws. Oversee the development and implementation of campus-wide training and events to promote anti-racism, cultural understanding and competency and a climate of equity and inclusion. Partner with Student Affairs, Human Resources, Faculty Development and other departments that provide training and development on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Influence diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes by collaborating, coordinating and supporting diversity-related efforts occurring across the university.

Work with the campus team that responds to bias-motivated incidents on campus and coordinate the campus response and students support efforts.

Promote St. Thomas’s commitment to a climate of equity and inclusion through interaction with individuals inside and outside St. Thomas, including the Board of Trustees, senior staff and cabinet, faculty, staff, students and community leaders.

Gather, research and analyze data for use in decision-making with respect to campus diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Develop measurable goals and outcomes related to St. Thomas’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Manage the diversity, inclusion, and equity budget, including developing budget proposals, justifying expenses, and monitoring accounts.

Performs other related duties as assigned.

On the university’s webpage explaining its philosophy of diversity, this paragraph appears:

Diversity, equity and inclusion are indispensable to academic excellence and the holistic development of our students. Our university community includes people of diverse races, ethnicities, geographic origins, gender identities, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, religions, work experience, physical and intellectual abilities, and financial means. As an educational community, we live, learn and work inclusively in fulfillment of our shared commitment to advance the common good.

Serious question: I wonder what the leaders of this Catholic university would say if you asked them to define the “common good.” I wonder if they could do it without speaking in Incluso-Diverse cant.

In 2017, the average student loan debt of St. Thomas graduates was $41,000.  Hey, diversity, equity, and inclusion do not come cheap. Next year, the university ought to add an Associate Vice President for Excellent Inclusiveness.

UPDATE: A reader comments:

I have worked for 10+ years as a faculty member at a public university. I have watched the diversity bureaucracy expand until it now looms over just about every aspect of our working lives. I’ve gone through semesters in which *every* committee meeting is taken up by some initiative sought by the diversity office. Endless amounts of money are thrown at it because everyone is intimidated into silence. The “bias reporting system” our own diversity office administers is run like a little Stasi. All of the anonymous reports of “microaggressions” (yes, you can report your fellow students or your colleagues for “microaggressions” — we’ve been told this explicitly) are shared only with the president and a tiny cabal accountable to no one.

Might this power be abused? Does the university need to host at its own expense the fifth speech this semester by a non-binary professional activist? By what authority can the diversity office write our curriculum, tell us how we should teach our classes, or determine whom we should hire for faculty positions? Do we really need to write a full page to our chairs at the end of *every year* about what we’ve done to advance diversity? Does the dean of diversity really need an assistant dean of diversity and an assistant to the assistant dean of diversity, especially when we’re always being told that the campus has no money? How does it make us appear to the public that the website of the diversity office features materials extolling the dignity of “sex workers” and BDSM? Are these “training sessions” the diversity office pushes really anything other than ideological reeducation? No one dares ask any one of these questions in any public setting. I suspect that I have colleagues who resent these developments as much as I do, but no one will say so explicitly.

The diversity bureaucracy is both a jobs program for Gender Studies majors and a tool of surveillance and repression. It is purely ideological. Cut out this tumor and there might be something like the free exchange of ideas again. Getting rid of this monster should be legislative priority one for anyone who cares about higher education.



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