University Terms and Definitions

Having shared understanding of language within an organization assists in collective efforts toward the same goal. Growing research on and attention to marginalized people have led to better defined concepts that more accurately describe their meaning. The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. In this work, both terms and their meanings can shift over time as marginalized groups are increasingly heard and valued.

Core Constructs

Inclusive Excellence

Inclusive excellence is the shared responsibility of Elon University members to act deliberately toward equitable outcomes through:

  • collective strength derived from people of all identities, abilities and perspectives;
  • pluralistic orientation reflected in pedagogies, programs and policies;
  • and positive cross-cultural engagement at all times and in all places.

Central to Elon’s mission of transforming mind, body and spirit, inclusive excellence requires addressing systems in ways that achieve equity and help individuals thrive.

Belonging

Belonging, as the second element of Elon’s Act-Belong-Commit framework, is defined as feeling a sense of community.

Diversity

Diversity is a multifaceted phenomenon of human differences related to identity, experiences, thoughts and perspectives. Elon believes that this wide range of differences is an essential component of the educational experience, academic excellence and an inclusive community.

Equity

Equity is the practice of understanding and satisfying human needs, particularly those created by historical and social forces that have generated disparate outcomes for groups of people based on their identities. Elon conceptualizes equity also as a goal of eliminating oppressive practices and systems that prevent some groups from achieving their fullest potential.

Inclusion

Inclusion is the outcome of creating environments in which any member of an organization feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued in the full range of experiences at Elon.

Well-being

Well-being is a sense of engagement and connection one has with where they live and a feeling of both safety and pride in one’s community.

A

Affected individual/ group(s): those directly or indirectly impacted by bias, prejudice, hate, and/ or bigotry, whether intentional or unintentional.

Affected individuals can also include those intentionally and unintentionally involved in the harm.

B

Bias: An inclination or preference either for or against an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.

Bias impact: Harm caused by negative bias, prejudice, hate, and/ or bigotry. Bias impact can include but is not limited to:

  • Interference with ability to work, learn, and maintain healthy relationships.
  • Marginalization from the community and barriers to participation.
  • Rendering groups more vulnerable, powerless, and feeling unwelcome.
  • Increased distrust and the erosion of a healthy sense of community.

Bias-related incident: An intentional or unintentional event (language/expression, behaviors and acts) motivated, in whole or in part, by bias or prejudice against a person or group based on (including but not limited to) Elon’s protected categories. It differs from a hate crime in that no criminal activity is involved. While hate crimes, if charged and prosecuted, will be dealt with in the court system as well as through our Elon policies, Elon will handle bias incidents through grievance procedures and educational programs.

C

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

D

Discrimination: Adverse treatment that results in the exclusion of participation or denial of benefits based on protected categories.

E

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

F

Faith Traditions: “Faith” is a concept that emerges from the early Christian church and only imperfectly suggests the tremendous range of attitudes and motivations cultivated among the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. Nevertheless, “faith traditions” has become a phrase commonly used to refer to religious traditions of various sorts. At Elon, “faith traditions” refers not only to religious communities that have developed and endured throughout history, but also to non-theistic traditions that aim to promote a moral vision of what it means to be human based on carefully considered values.

G

Global Citizenship: It implies recognition of the values and responsibilities that emerge from knowledge of and ethical reflection on the changing nature of human communities in an era of deepening interconnectedness and global conflict. Global citizens embrace the personal and social responsibility to advocate for the dignity of all human communities and to collaborate in the creation of pluralistic and harmonious societies.

H

Harassment: Acts that unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance, or create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive working, living or learning environment, based on their protected categories. This includes verbal, written, visual or physical harassment.

Harm transformation: systems change(s) that involve the understanding of the perspective of the harmed parties, but does not always involve the person(s) harming and/ or the person(s) harmed.

(Harm transformation and restorative practices are community processes aimed to promote equities and reduce social disparities.)

Hate crime: In North Carolina a hate crime is defined as any act prohibited by law that is motivated because of the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality or country of origin.

I

Identity-based Bias: The inclinations or preferences that demonstrate discrimination or hate against a person or groups based on their association with any of (included but not limited to) Elon’s protected categories.

Implicit Bias: Attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

J

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

K

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

L

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

M

Microaggressions: Everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their group membership.

Multi-faith: Elon refers to its efforts to promote education about a broad range of spiritual traditions and to promote dialogue and understanding among diverse communities by the term “multi-faith.” Multi-faith work at Elon does not pursue an erasure of real difference or an affirmation of superficial commonalities, but rather the more profound understanding of one another that can lead to meaningful cooperation and honest dialogue.

N

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

O

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

P

Prejudice: Attitudes, beliefs, and/ or decisions held without facts, experience, or adequate knowledge. In this context, most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people because of assumptions about their identity or identities.

Protected categories: The following are considered “protected identity categories” with respect to discrimination, harassment and bias: age, (dis)ability, ethnic origin, faith tradition, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, race and veteran’s status.

Q

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

R

Restorative practices: processes that involve harmed and harming parties aimed at repairing, healing, and creating healthier relationships, communities, and systems

(Harm transformation and restorative practices are community processes aimed to promote equities and reduce social disparities.)

S

Spiritual Formation and Expression: The knowledge and wisdom that develop from exploration of and commitment to one’s inherited or chosen tradition or perspective. This intentional process of maturing as a whole person in community includes acquiring the ability to articulate a set of values, commitments, and traditions and deepening one’s sense of identity as a member of distinct but overlapping communities. “Spiritual” signals the humanistic contention that human fulfillment lies outside the realm of purely material concerns and, therefore, refers to both religious and non-religious ways of making meaning.

T

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

U

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

V

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

W

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

X

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

Y

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.

Z

The following list of terms and definitions is an evolving one that will provide users guidance and help ensure campus-wide consistency in language as the Elon community strives for inclusive excellence. Currently, there are no terms that start with this letter.