By using the ODMI as both a descriptive tool and prescriptive method, the College has been able to carry out a structured inquiry and assessment. The ODMI helps address the questions: How can we intentionally foster inclusive community? How will we assess our progress and use that information to achieve institutional change?
The model helped the College track its place among the four developmental stages of organizations – exclusion, symbolic exclusion, prescribed inclusion and inclusion – and the structures, processes and behaviors needed to be able to rise to the next level.
Exclusion exists when inclusionary beliefs, if they even exist, are not important to an organization. At this stage a group can benefit from human relations training and an awareness of the institutional costs of operating with prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination.The leadership of the institution must also identify ways to increase the importance of inclusionary beliefs and practices.
Symbolic inclusion comes about after external forces compel the organization to change, and the motivation behind the change toward inclusion is not yet driven primarily by forces that are internal to the organization or its mission. Although more faculty and students with diverse backgrounds may be brought in, deferential treatment continues.To advance, motivation must come from within the organization in a way consistent with its mission and support systems must be created for diverse individuals and groups.
Prescribed inclusion means that organizational leaders increasingly emphasize the value and development of an inclusive environment. Organizations begin to be more accepting of differences and to believe that diverse members have value and provide enhancement. To progress, organizations must take such actions as mentoring and establishing clear procedures, policies and rules.
Inclusion, the ultimate goal, is achieved when inclusionary values and practices are part of an organization’s system and culture, and its members, leaders and groups feel empowered.To ensure continuance of this state, an organization must conduct ongoing self-assessment, be accountable and sustain support.
An original assessment done by campus leadership groups in 2008 found that Saint Mary’s was predominantly in the Symbolic Inclusion stage, with various, more discrete parts of campus operating at Exclusion or Prescribed Inclusion. Since then, various departments, organizations and groups across campus have taken actions tailored to their unique situations and designed to advance to the next level. And the effort continues.
Click the image below for a larger version of the chart, or download a copy of The Path to Inclusion.