Advancing inclusive excellence is a campus-wide goal reflected in Santa Clara University's Jesuit values and traditions. As stated in the Fundamental Values of the University's Strategic Plan, "We cherish our diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni, a community that is enriched by people of different backgrounds, respectful of the dignity of all its members, enlivened by open communication, and caring and just toward others."
In fall 2007, the Provost's Office established what became the Council on Inclusive Excellence and the Office for Multicultural Learning to advance inclusive excellence on the SCU campus. The Council was a strong advocate for the position of a chief diversity officer, and in 2013 the Office for Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) was formed and Santa Clara faculty member Aldo Billingslea was named Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion to head the office. In 2014, the staffing was expanded to include a formal Director of the Office. Jesse Bernal served as Director from 2014 until February 2015. In Summer 2015, Raymond V. Plaza was hired as the new Director.
Aldo Billingslea stepped down from the role in June 2016, and Brett Solomon was named as Interim Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and served in this role until September 2017. Margaret Russell was initially named Interim Associate Provost in 2017 before assuming the full role in 2019 and served until June 30, 2021.
On July 1, 2021, new Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, T. Shá Duncan Smith officially started. ODI continues to exist with Director Plaza, who now reports to the new Vice President.
VP Duncan Smith and ODI Senior Director Plaza work collaboratively with organizations across campus to foster the University's commitment to the education of the whole person in the Jesuit tradition through support for the recruitment, retention, and success of a diverse community of faculty, staff and students, and through collaborations with other offices to promote academic excellence through a diverse and inclusive campus climate.
On December 1, 2021, the Vice President established the new Inclusive Excellence Division and ODI is one of the areas in the new Division.