Realizing Intersectional Standards of Excellence (RISE)

Commitment to Equity & Excellence

The RISE framework is a purposeful and organized plan to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across the institution by increasing understanding among all Jayhawks that we are a community of individuals with multiple identities based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, veteran status, and other identities.


KU’s mission is to, “Educate leaders, build healthy communities, and make discoveries that change the world.” When we “Realize Intersectional Standards of Excellence,” we contribute to the fulfilment of KU’s mission and vision by ensuring that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) are integral to every part of KU’s research, scholarship, teaching, service, community engagement, and support.

Furthermore, a purposeful and organized plan to improve DEIB across the institution is essential to securing HLC accreditation and keeping AAU membership. KU will not be competitive with peer and aspirant institutions until all Jayhawks understand and embody the reality that DEIB is not additive but rather essential to all parts of the institution. Thus, RISE offers an action-oriented framework which helps advance equity and social justice.

Intersectionality emerges from social justice scholarship. Intersectionality acknowledges that identities are dynamic and simultaneously affected by overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The concept of intersectionality recognizes that people are adversely affected by infrastructures, laws, and practices that have historically impacted the academic, social, cultural, and economic outcomes for people based on their identities, such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, veteran status, and other identities.

RISE is a more progressive and contemporary interpretation of the widely used Inclusive Excellence framework, that attends to simultaneous and inseparable facets of identities. This model seeks to raise our collective consciousness around systems of inequity which directly affect KU students, staff, and faculty who experience compounding oppressions based on overlapping social identities.

Intersectionality is the theoretical prism through which KU will make organizational change for better administrative, academic, organizational, social, and cultural well-being. RISE foregrounds diversity and human rights as a structural benchmark of excellence in KU’s institutional life. RISE helps lay the foundation for intentional organizational change and community accountability.

The RISE framework is derived from social justice and higher education best-practices. The RISE goals have direct connections to existing Jayhawks Rising priorities and are grounded in intersectionality, which calls us to support all constituents, address institutional inequities, and eradicate practices of oppression in the pursuit of campus equity.

Success is determined by improved institutional metrics around recruitment, retention, degree completion, and more. While quantitative measures are important, they must be supplemented by qualitative narratives to truly address inequities and allow room for strategy revision.

Each Vice Chancellor, Vice Provost, and Dean leads a unique composition of undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty. Thus, the RISE criteria will be fulfilled differently by each unit. Leaders should consider the applicability of each indicator for their area and develop unit-level strategies to improve metrics.

  • Student enrollment and completion counts: Available in OAC.
  • Employee Insights Dashboard from AIRE and Human Resource Management for demographic data, turnover data, supervision demographics, compensation data, departure data, and exit interview results.
  • Incident Report Statistics via Offices of Civil Rights & Title IX, Student Conduct, Public Safety, and HRM.
  • Intersectionality in Higher Education: Identity and Equity on College Campuses, Edited by W. Carson Byrd, Rachelle J. Brunn-Bevel, Sarak M. Ovink, Rutgers University Press, 2019.