SOLA Statement on Inclusive Excellence

Faculty and staff in the School of Liberal Arts recognize that the quality educationto which we are committed as Lasallian, Liberal Arts educators is only possible through deep and sustained practices of inclusive excellence that reflect our society, embody our mission, and change our world.

Inclusion is not an add-on to excellence, in this commitment, but fundamental to it. This means that true academic excellence can only be achieved through sustained, meaningful, and equitable inclusion of the diverse people, histories, experiences, perspectives, and approaches that shape our larger society and world--especially those that have historically beenmarginalized.

Because we are a diverse community, and because shared inquiry (the act of reasoning together about common texts, questions, and problems) and critical thinking (the ability to engage in well-reasoned analysis of others’ ideas and to form credible, original ideas of one’s own) are fundamental to our Liberal Arts pedagogy, we must not and cannot avoid difficult conversations about difference. Rather, intentional engagement across difference is needed.

Indeed, the mutual, respectful exploration of differing perspectives, in a context where, in keeping with our Catholic and Lasallian traditions, the essential dignity and value of every person is actively affirmed, is essential to a robust intellectual community.

This is what inclusive excellence looks like. But it doesn’t stop at the classroom door.

The ability to collaborate effectively with diverse groups is essential to our students’ future professional success. And, more broadly and profoundly, our Catholic and Lasallian traditions call us to be a diverse and inclusive community that can work, together and as individuals, in solidarity with marginalized groups, to promote social justice and transform our world for the common good. Inclusion must characterize the way in which our students both “enter to learn” and “leave to serve.”

Thus, we strive to embody in SOLA, and at all levels of our institution, a model of inclusive excellence that is essentially shaped by the College’s Catholic, Lasallian, and Liberal Arts mission and that effectively prepares students for lives of personal and professional purpose, success, ethical leadership, and global impact.