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Office of Inclusive Excellence


The Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIE) supports the mission, values, academic endeavors, and strategic priorities of Saint Xavier University by empowering diversity, fostering partnerships, increasing access and enriching the learning, living and working environments for all in our SXU community.

SXU's Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Grounded in Catholic identity, mission, and heritage, Saint Xavier University is committed to serving a diverse learning community in conjunction with our core values. The University belongs to all in its community, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, creed, religion, gender, gender identity, abilities, age, sexual orientations, nationality, or immigration status. Faculty, staff, and students are engaged in creating a climate of purposeful inclusion by cultivating equity and providing opportunities for meaningful connections and service among diverse people, ideas, and perspectives, in search of truth and the common good.

The Sisters of Mercy, immigrants themselves, founded the school in 1846 to educate young women, and today's student body reflects the University's growing commitment to a tradition of diversity and multiculturalism. In 2014, the University became a federally-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of Saint Xavier's heritage and enrich and strengthen our academic programs and learning environment, which prepare students to work as responsible global citizens and live by Mercy values.


Lunch and Learn

Faculty and staff are invited to participate in virtual DEI workshops covering different topics.

Go to Events

Cookies and Convo

Each month, meet one of our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Faculty members and hear about their career pathway and work over cookies and conversation.

Go to Events

Monthly DEI Trainings

Faculty and staff are invited to participate in virtual DEI trainings covering different topics.

Go to Events

HSI Initiatives

Championing DEI 


The DEI CHAMPion award honors a faculty, staff or student who is actively passionate about creating an impact in the area of DEI at SXU.

Camila Marquez Headshot

Camila Marquez

This semester, the Office of Inclusive Excellence names Camila Márquez, Faculty Development Coordinator, SXU's DEI CHAMPion.
Camila makes inclusion an everyday reality and develops and drives inclusion forward via her professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, and DEI activities for students. Camila's work is positively impacting the culture at SXU and the Office of Inclusive Excellence applauds her for creating an environment of equity, inclusion, and belonging for all.

DEI Faculty Research Spotlight

Cindy Grobmeier Headshot

Cindy Grobmeier

Investigating the Impact of "Checking-In" with First-Year Students to Foster Connection and Improve Retention

This study investigated the impact of conducting periodic "check-in" surveys with students in two sections of COMM-101: Fundamentals of Public Speaking. These check-ins were designed to learn more about students' perceptions of their communication apprehension, provide an opportunity to ask questions, and assess student motivation, particularly as it relates to three elements of intrinsic motivation -- autonomy, competency, and relatedness, which have shown to increase student satisfaction and retention (Fortune et al., 2005; Lopez & Horn, 2020; Simons et al., 2004). These check-in surveys were administered to students online in order to provide a low-stakes opportunity to provide feedback that considered characteristics of high-context cultures, such as conflict avoidance and unwillingness to interrupt or question authority.

This study first looked at the average student equity scores from COMM-101 courses taught by the instructor from the previous five years which revealed that first-generation Latine students were more likely to earn a C or D and were less likely than all Latine students to earn an A in the course, with Latino students accounting for most of the variance in grades, particularly As, Ds, and Fs. Further analysis revealed that Latino students' demotivation and disengagement correlated with major speech assignments and manifested by them not attending class and not completing assignments.

Results of using the check-in surveys revealed that the equity scores for Latino students in the two studied course sections significantly improved in terms of final grades -- As, Ds, and Fs. Qualitative feedback from Latino students indicated positive perceptions of the course and positive perceptions of their own learning, with student saying, "Overall I learned a lot more in this class than I expected before school started" and "Probably the only class this semester that I can actually say I developed new skills ... Speaking is very hard for me, but it got a little bit easier towards the end."


Every Voice Matters

Cydni Washington-Bolden Headshot

Cydni R. Washington-Bolden


One thing many people may not know about me is that just two days before my first semester at SXU began, my father passed away.

Despite these challenging circumstances, I chose to proceed with my undergraduate studies at SXU as originally planned, honoring his legacy in spirit by not taking a gap year. Fortunately, I felt right at home and began to trust the process when surrounded by a campus community of support, including my professors, mentors and fellow peers. They all played a significant role in helping me navigate this difficult period. It not only made me more determined to pursue my academic goals but also enabled me to make the most of my college experience.

Inclusion and a sense of belonging at SXU are personally important to me because they foster a greater campus community built on moral support during times of need. We are all interconnected in our own ways, navigating life to the best of our abilities. The campus culture thrives on embracing diverse perspectives, celebrating cultural diversity, promoting genuine respect, and nurturing integrity as a universal common good. A premise of character should be valued more than the color of one's skin, transcending unconscious bias, class, religion, race, socioeconomic status, demographics, ethnic background, and privilege. By showing unconditional love and leading by example, we set an invaluable precedent and opportunity for learning and growth. Ultimately, this creates hope for a better world -- not solely for students, faculty, and staff at SXU but for all.

  • Media Communication Major
  • Double Minor in English and Writing
  • Spring 2024 Undergraduate at Saint Xavier University
  • 2023 SXU Student Lincoln Academy of Illinois Laureate
  • Member of Lambda Pi Eta University Chapter
  • Member of the Emerging Scholars Program
  • Member of the SXU Honors Program
  • Member and Student Fellow of SXU Student Media Organizations



My Story

Shavonn Nowlin Headshot

Shavonn Nowlin

Associate Director of Residence Life

What topics are you passionate about?

I have a passion for Leadership Development, Training and Recruitment, Inclusion and Equity, and Black Women's Health and Advocacy.

When have you felt the sting of exclusion?

Having worked in Higher Education for almost two decades, I unfortunately have felt the "sting of exclusion" the most in my career. Working with the majority of people who do not look like me in spaces and being a Black Woman with goals and aspirations it has been difficult to have folks who understand Allyship and truly share their allyship in their work.

Most of the time I have been met with folks who are not aware of their privileges or position in those spaces. It is difficult at times when you are pouring out into communities who do not value you, your work and do not take the time to pour back into you. If we think about the DEIB Party analogy, this sting often feels like being invited to the party but being told you cannot share your preference for music or food, no one asks if you have food allergens and are blocked from the dance floor and never being asked to dance.

What are some of the obstacles you have faced?

Some of the obstacles I have faced entailed being in spaces with non-people of color who do not understand what it means to be the only marginalized person in a space. Then always feeling like I have to make those folks be comfortable with me instead of the other way around.

What has helped you get where you are today?

What has helped me to get where I am today is for sure my family who reminds me of the challenges that I have overcome. My students remind me on a day to day basis that I matter to them and their journey and this continues to motivate me to fulfill my purpose. My mentors who I have known since I was a high school and undergrad student who take the time to still pour into me and my development. Also having folks who understand their privileges and Allyship in the terms of making space for marginalized people to join them in the spaces they have been privileged to be in.

What advice would you give to current students, students entering the workforce soon or other professionals?

Advice I would give to current students, students entering the workforce soon or professionals would be to find your vibe tribe, the people who are going to hold you accountable, actively listen to you and give you advice to help you move forward. Do not be afraid to fail as long as you get the lesson to not return to that same failure.



Meet the OIE Team