AAC&U operational definition definition consists of four primary elements:
1. A focus on student intellectual and social development. Academically, it means offering the best possible course of study for the context in which the education is offered.
2. A purposeful development and utilization of organizational resources to enhance student learning. Organizationally, it means establishing an environment that challenges each student to achieve academically at high levels and each member of the campus to contribute to learning and knowledge development.
3. Attention to the cultural differences learners bring to the educational experience and that enhance the enterprise.
4. A welcoming community that engages all of its diversity in the service of student and organizational learning."
From Toward a Model of Inclusive Excellence and Change in Postsecondary Institutions By Damon A. Williams, Joseph B. Berger, and Shederick A. McClendon, page vi.