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Glossary of Terms

Belonging: The “perceived social support on campus, a feeling or sensation of connectedness, the experience of mattering or feeling cared about, accepted, respected, valued by and important to the group (e.g., campus community) or others on campus (e.g., faculty, peers)” that happen through relationships that are mutual and reciprocal (Source: Strayhorn, T.L. [2012]. College students’ sense of belonging: A Key to
Educational Success for All Students. p. 3).

Completion Rates: Students who finish their degree within six years after entering postsecondary education for the first time (Source: University of Southern California).

Continuous Improvement: A systematic and documented process of assessing institutional performance with respect to mission in all aspects of the institution with the intent to develop a culture that values employee ideas, respects the process of innovation, and embraces the idea that there is always room for positive change
(Source: SACSCOC Accreditation).

Cultural Responsiveness: Recognizing, understanding, and applying attitudes and practices that are sensitive to and appropriate for people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. (Source: Equity and Inclusion Glossary, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of Equity and Inclusion).

Diversity: The wide variety of shared and different personal and group characteristics among human beings that includes many characteristics that may be visible such as race, gender, and age, and it also includes less obvious characteristics like personality style, ethnicity, ability, education, religion, job function, life experience, lifestyle, sexual orientation, gender identity, geography, regional differences, work experience, and family situation that make us similar to, and different from, one another. (Source: Adapted from UMass Lowell, Office of Multicultural Affairs; Diversity and social justice: A glossary of working definitions).

Entrepreneurship: The process by which individuals or a group of individuals take advantage of a commercial opportunity either by bringing a new product or process to the market or by substantially improving an existing good, service, or method of production and is generally organized through a new organization (a start-up company) but may also occur in an established small business that undergoes a significant change in product or strategy (Source: Center for American Entrepreneurship).

Experiential Learning: A process where students “learn by doing” which may include hands-on laboratory experiments, internships, practicums, field exercises, studio performances, and study abroad then they reflect on the experience; this process includes the integration of knowledge, activity, and reflection (Source: Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development).

Equity: The proportional distribution of desirable outcomes (e.g., educational, economic, social, or political opportunities) across groups (e.g., race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc.(. Sometimes confused with equality, equity refers to outcomes while equality connotes equal treatment. Where individuals or groups are dissimilarly situated, equal treatment may be insufficient for, or even detrimental to, equitable outcomes. (Source: Equity and Inclusion Glossary, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of Equity and Inclusion).

Genius: A specialness or uniqueness that each person possesses that makes him/her/them distinct from another individual (Source: Simonton, D.K. [2009]. Genius 101. Springer: New York.)

High Impact Practices: Designs and practices in teaching and learning that increase student engagement and lead to successful learning; common practices at WSSU include first-year seminars and experiences; learning communities; writing-intensive courses; undergraduate research; global learning experiences; service and community-based learning; internships; capstone courses and projects (Source: American Association of
Colleges and Universities).

Inclusion: Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power. (Source: Equity and Inclusion Glossary, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of Equity and Inclusion).

Intellectual Climate: A supportive, stimulating, respectful, and inclusive academic and social environment that enables an individual to feel engaged and is generally rich in opportunities for collaborative conversations across disciplines, public discourse (e.g., presentations, symposia, town halls) and social activities (Source: McGill University).

Interdisciplinary: Involving two more academic, scientific, or artistic disciplines.

Persistence Rates: A measure of student progress from one benchmark to the next, e.g., a student who enrolls in fall and persists to spring semester (Source: University of Southern California).

Power Skills: Competencies and behaviors that are long-lasting and transferable across various work environments as well as professional, civic, and personal roles that one can develop to navigate relationships (Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Retention rates: The rate of return among students from year to year (Source: University of Southern California).

Social Innovation: The process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systemic social and environmental issues in support of social progress. Social innovation is not the prerogative or privilege of any organizational form or legal structure. Solutions often require the active collaboration of constituents across government, business, and the nonprofit world (Source: Stanford University, Sarah A.
Soule, Neil Malhotra, Bernadette Clavier).

Student Success: A measure of student engagement and positive outcomes commonly assessed using measures on self-efficacy, academic achievement, completion, retention, and persistence; the UNC System also assesses the student’s ability to develop marketable talent and acquire valuable skills, so they graduate prepared not only as productive members of the workforce but also as responsible citizens and lifelong learners in a global environment.

Undergraduate Degree Efficiency: An institution’s number of undergraduate credentials awarded per 100 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) undergraduates (Source: UNC System’s Higher Expectations Strategic Plan).