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EIU Making Excellence Inclusive


Above all, EIU is committed to providing a superior learning environment for all students.

Overview of MEI

A signature AAC&U initiative, Making Excellence Inclusive is designed to explore how colleges and universities can fully utilize the resources of diversity to achieve academic excellence for all students.

This initiative builds upon decades of campus work to build more inclusive communities, established scholarship on diversity that has transformed disciplines, and extensive research on student learning that has altered the landscape of the academy. Over time, colleges have begun to understand that diversity, in all of its complexity, is about much more than a diversity program or having students of color on campus. Rather, incorporating diversity into campus life raises profound questions about higher education’s mission and values.

While many campus leaders agree on the need for systemic change, separate initiatives that have been insufficiently linked to the core academic mission and inadequately coordinated across different parts of the academy typify current institutional engagement with diversity. Making Excellence Inclusive aims to understand how higher education can coherently and comprehensively link its diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives to its essential educational mission.


Together We Rise Conference

This is an annual conference that provides faculty and staff strategies and tools to support students' academic success. The conference is also designed to raise awareness of the diverse challenges our students face, whether as members of underrepresented groups, as first-generation college students, as non-traditionally aged students, or as students with disabilities.  Conference information and Keynote Speaker information

Passport to Diversity

Click here for more information on this program.

First Generation Friends and Family

This initiative, First Generation Campaign Launch at the Future Panther Admitted Student Day was held on February 20,2017.

K-12 Outreach

More information coming soon.

Faces of First Gen

Dr. David Glassman

EIU President


Dr. Catherine Polydore

Associate Professor of Educational Psychology

"Coming from a developing country, the pathways to accomplishing my dreams were always uncertain, since there was no access to advanced degrees. Today I feel truly blessed to have a career where I get to make a difference. To other first gens embarking on the college journey I say this:"

"1. It is normal to feel a little overwhelmed, just remember that scores of others have traveled this path before you, and have managed to achieve beyond their wildest dreams. 2. Your circumstances and “labels” do not define you; you have within you all that you need to direct your paths. 3. Life is filled of many challenges; do not be afraid of them, instead approach them as opportunities for growth. 4. Be open to enlightening experiences however awkwardly packaged, and while you are at it have some fun."

Dr. Jay D. Gatrell

Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs

"My twin brother and I are first generation Pell eligible college graduates. Attending college wasn’t my dream, it was my parents—and my entire family. The University experience has enabled me to live a life I never knew was possible, pursue a career, or more accurately a vocation, that I didn’t know existed, and embrace a mission that transforms the lives of learners, their families, and communities. Given my experience, I am confident every student can succeed—if they are willing to embrace the challenge and remain open to the transformative nature of the college experience."

Related Pages


Contact Information

Making Excellence Inclusive

College of Arts & Humanities
600 Lincoln Avenue Charleston, IL 61920

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