Updates and Releases

ACUI Reviews Diversity and Inclusion Report

In March, the Board of Trustees accepted a report benchmarking ACUI’s diversity and inclusion efforts against the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks for Organizations. Currently, the board is reviewing the 51 recommendations and has shared aspects of the report with stakeholders. An executive summary is available here.

This report is the culmination of a volunteer working group’s review, which began in July 2018. The working group presented an overview of their findings April 9. 

About the Project
In March 2018, the Board of Trustees voted to conduct a self-assessment of ACUI’s diversity and inclusion efforts. To accomplish this, a working group was created with the following charge:

  • Perform an internal audit of Association materials and practices, determining ACUI's current level of action related to each of the benchmarks.
  • Involve members to gauge awareness and collect qualitative data to address outstanding needs for the project.
  • Liaise with the Council for Diversity and Inclusion and other component groups to collect information pertinent to the review.
  • Prepare a report detailing comparisons to 2014 levels of action (the last time an assessment was completed) and provide recommendations to the Board of Trustees by February 2019.
Applications were sought in April 2018, and group members were determined in June after an interview process. The working group was comprised of six individuals from across the Association, including a representative from the Board of Trustees and a representative from ACUI’s Central Office:

  • Elizabeth Beltramini, ACUI, Staff Liaison
  • Deepti Chadee, Texas Christian University, Board Member
  • Alieu Darboe, Wayne State University
  • Keith Kowalka, University of Houston
  • Cathy Robinson, University of Nevada–Las Vegas
  • Corey Williamson, Kansas State University
The group reviewed all 14 categories from the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks for Organizations, totaling over 260 benchmarks. To complete their assessment, team members looked at Association policies, processes, training materials for both volunteers and staff, meeting minutes, program goals and evaluations, and communications. Additionally, the group sought feedback from various groups through interviews, listening sessions at regional conferences, an Association-wide survey, a staff survey, a SWOT analysis with the Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and focus groups with communities of practice members.


Overall, improvement from 2014 was noted in the areas of:

  • Marketing and customer service
  • Products and services development
  • Communication strategy
  • Assessment, measurement, and research
  • Learning and education
  • Work arrangements and equitable treatment of employees
  • Recruitment and advancement of staff and volunteers
  • Vision for diversity and inclusion
Areas of decline were in:

  • Leadership and accountability
  • D&I structure and implementation

  • When the self-assessment of ACUI was done in 2014, that group utilized the 2011 edition of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks for Organizations. Major differences between it and the current edition include the way in which scoring occurred and changes in categories. Unlike in 2014, the 2019 project examined ACUI’s efforts with regard to supplier diversity, sustainability, and social responsibility as part of the assessment. Each of these categories received ratings between inactive (1) and proactive (3).

    Many of the working group’s recommendations address the need for improved communication, training, and structures to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their findings also will be incorporated into next steps of the strategic plan.

    In addition to the April 9 program, an open forum on this topic will be held in the coming weeks. Questions and comments about the report or next steps can be directed to a member of the Board of Trustees or to acui@acui.org.


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    2019 Strategic Plan

    Strategic Guidepost: Research

    ACUI will take a leading role in researching the impact of the college union on campus

    We strive for ACUI to become the respected clearinghouse for college union and student activities research, which will assist practitioners in making informed decisions and help higher education leaders articulate the value and impact of the college union.

    • Develop and strengthen partnerships focused on research.
    • Determine how staff and component groups can best use and advance the research agenda, emphasizing the topic of inclusive communities.
    • Enhance existing and develop new structures for the Association to collect and disseminate research, especially research related to inclusive communities.
    Strategic Guidepost: Data

    ACUI will leverage data to enhance education and delivery of services

    As more individuals expect a personalized, customized association experience, ACUI must leverage available data to inform its strategies and business decisions. We will use data intelligence to more effectively explore new markets, enhance services, recruit volunteers, define educational gaps, and create just-in-time content.


    • Determine opportunities to better personalize/customize the ACUI user experience.
    • Develop practices to make ACUI’s data gathering, analysis, and application more effective and efficient.
    • Determine how to better reach international markets amid data privacy concerns.
    • Collect and report data to better understand demographic representation.
    Strategic Guidepost: Volunteer and Member Engagement

    ACUI will increase the value of engagement for members and volunteers

    Member and volunteer engagement are critical predictors of retention and satisfaction. We are committed to understanding members, better meeting their needs, and creating different types of engagement experiences.


    • Learn and document volunteer and member journeys through ACUI.
    • Deepen institutional commitment to ACUI.
    • Leverage structures for networking and professional development, to include communities of identity.
    • Investigate desired engagement experiences among individuals who do not hold ACUI majority identities.
    • Identify opportunities to improve equity in volunteer recruitment and selection processes.
    Strategic Guidepost: Active Dialogue

    ACUI will advance campus community through active dialogue

    We seek, through education, tools, and resources, to position the college union to promote dialogue and understanding among people with different perspectives and to improve humanity through college students’ constructive discourse and interaction.


    • Define the value of active dialogue, in particular, about issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Define and understand the characteristics of a campus that supports active dialogue with an emphasis on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Curate existing resources and tools related to active dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion.