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Rider launches Inclusive Excellence Plan

Plan outlines University’s strategic commitment to values of diversity, equity and inclusion
10/11/2019

Rider University introduced its new Inclusive Excellence Plan on Oct. 10. The plan highlights Rider’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion and outlines strategic commitments to advance Rider as an inclusive community. It also aligns with and advances the University's strategic plan.

Rider's president, Gregory G. Dell'Omo, Ph.D., introduced the plan to an audience of students, faculty and staff in the Cavalla Room with a simulcast on the Princeton campus.

"Every student at Rider University should feel our commitment to inclusion at the core of their experience, and this will require the entire University community to embrace the goals and actions set forth in this plan," Dell'Omo says. "I am committed to this work alongside you, and I am excited to see Rider’s future as an increasingly inclusive campus community."

The plan sets forth explicit goals around institutional inclusion, including improving the diversity of employees and enhancing the support for underrepresented students, as well as enhancing structural support, among other goals.

The plan is an outgrowth of work completed by the President's Council on Inclusion, which was charged with recommending how to promote the University's values around equity and inclusion.

"This plan is designed, in part, to dismantle the significant barriers underrepresented or marginalized students face in achieving college success," says Vice President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg, Ph.D., who co-chaired the 21-member President’s Council on Inclusion with Alison Thomas-Cottingham, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology. "Rider makes an educational promise to each of its students, and to assure that promise, we need to fully consider their individual needs."

The diversification of the University's student body has been growing over the past several years. Forty-nine percent of the 2019 freshman class are underrepresented (students of color and/or Hispanic), making it the most diverse class in Rider history. The class is also comprised of a number of students who are first-generation, have differing abilities, identify as LGBTQ+, among other identities.

Rider has a long-standing commitment to issues of equity and inclusion. The new plan presents a historical overview of the University's inclusion efforts, which include examples such as admitting its first international and female students in 1866, the year after Rider was founded. Rider also already offers many programs, resources and services that currently support inclusion efforts. These include the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Educational Opportunity Program, TRIO programs, Veterans Affairs, Student Accessibility and Support Programs, and a multitude of multicultural student organizations.

“It’s imperative that we continue to strive for inclusive excellence at Rider and foster a sense of belonging where each student feels valued and respected,” Fenneberg says. “We hope that each member of the Rider community embraces this vision and finds meaningful ways to contribute to our institutional inclusion goals."

For more information on Rider's commitment to inclusive excellence, please visit  www.rider.edu/inclusive-excellence-plan.