Targeted Efforts for Inclusion and Belonging

Student success is about supporting students in an intentional way academically, socially and financially to ensure they graduate, lead fulfilling lives, and positively impact their communities. To ensure our students succeed, we must act with inclusivity to cultivate a sense of belonging and create a seamless infrastructure that provides students with equitable opportunities and supportive resources, no matter where they are in their academic journey.

In addition to ongoing strategies and initiatives in place for several years, since July 2022 new leadership at UC College of Nursing has been purposeful in creating and implementing targeted efforts that impact inclusivity and belongingness on the following key areas: access, attention, retention & graduation and post-graduation outcomes.  


Increasing awareness of opportunities to enroll at UC, to belong academically and socially, and to afford it financially.

leadership 2.0 students

The College of Nursing has collaborated with other UC academic health colleges (Medicine, Pharmacy, and Allied Health Sciences) and community partners (the Health Collaborative and Breakthrough Cincinnati) to increase student awareness of potential health pathways through events during summer, fall and spring semesters. (Pre-July 2022)

Part of the Health Collaborative’s TAP Health program, TAP RN’s aims at increasing the number of students from historically underrepresented populations in nursing as a strategy toward reducing health disparities and improving health equity in our region. (Pre-July 2022)

Leadership of the Master of Science in Nursing program updated their admission process and rubric to make it more inclusive and less susceptible to bias. The updated documents are considered a best-practice and has been shared with other graduate programs throughout the university. (July 2022 – June 2023)

The College of Nursing hosted events specifically designed to get Black prospective Bachelor of Science in Nursing students familiarized with nursing and the college. The events, attended by nearly 50 prospective students, included application tips, Black nursing student panel and presentations from Black student support groups. The next Black Student Nurses Day is planned for Feb. 19, 2024. (June & November 2023) 

Faculty of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program voted to suspend the requirement of standardized test scores as a component of prospective student applications for a two-year pilot period, starting in Fall 2025. This will reduce a barrier for applicants with lesser financial resources and decrease bias toward applicants with the financial resources to pay for examination preparatory courses and those who would have attended private high schools. (October 2023)

In collaboration with UC’s CPS Strong program, the College of Nursing has identified Cincinnati Public schools to build pipelines for potential students interested in nursing.(October – November 2023)


Creating connections and interest, providing individuals attention, and fostering growth and belongingness once a student is admitted.

bust of florence nightingale

Having the bust of Florence Nightingale – whose legacy includes colonialist and racist views – in the Procter Hall lobby negatively impacted the College of Nursing's ability to create a welcoming environment for some undergraduate students, so the bust was moved into a conference room. (December 2022)

Students and faculty communicated that several pictures on the walls of Procter Hall were perceived as negative for minority persons, so the pictures were removed. (December 2022)

All members of the College of Nursing 's Senior Leadership Team participated in a series of monthly sessions of Leading for Inclusion Dialogues (LIDs) designed to help the college's leaders intentionally use their power and privilege to shift the culture to be more inclusive, welcoming and supportive of all. (March – August 2023)

The College of Nursing was awarded $300,000 from the Macy Foundation, the only national foundation solely dedicated to improving the education of health professionals, to support a national, multisite project titled “Eliminating Structural Racism in Nursing Academia: A Systems Change Approach to Anti-Racist Nursing Education.” Learn more. (April 2023)

Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie has held town hall meetings with students once a semester. Student organization leaders also meet with the interim dean once a semester in the Student Council luncheon. The goal of these meetings is to have open and direct conversations about issues impacting students. (since August 2023)

All College of Nursing’s faculty and staff participated in a day-long retreat where Royel Johnson, PhD, discussed students and their multiple identities and how faculty and staff can help students leverage those identities as strengths. Dr. Johnson led a discussion on how to flip the common mindset in academia away from deficit thinking and into equity-based thinking. (August 2023)

The College of Nursing implemented an online reporting tool for members of our community to report incidents. (August 2023)

During the summer, all student-facing policies were shared with the UC Office of Equity and Inclusion and, in September, these policies and procedures were critically reviewed for strengths and barriers to equity and student support by the college’s Senior Leadership Team and Committee for Equity and Inclusive Excellence. (September 2023)

About 60 College of Nursing students, faculty and staff attended a college-sponsored session on religious bias training, “Advancing a Culture of Inclusion: Mitigating the Potential for Religious Bias,” facilitated by Brandon Craig, assistant director for UC Office of Equal Opportunity & Access. (November 2023)

Retention & Graduation

Offering academic, emotional, social and financial support to ensure a seamless path to graduation.


Student organizations encourage students to embrace their identities and provide information, resources and support for diverse students in nursing. Learn more. (Pre-July 2022)

Leadership 2.0 students

Leadership 2.0 cohort 2023

An innovative program aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and, ultimately, in the nursing profession. The program enables student success by providing participating students with academic, social, emotional and financial support. Learn more. (Pre-July 2022)

students in front of procter hall

CURE cohort 2021

A grant-supported initiative that provides financial, academic and social support to Bachelor of Science in Nursing students who are admitted as sophomores and are of underrepresented backgrounds. Learn more. (Pre-July 2022)

For more than 10 years, the College of Nursing has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration to provide loan forgiveness of up to 85% for graduates who pursue employment as nurse educators for eight years upon graduation. Learn more. (Pre-July 2022)

Three PhD students and one Doctor of Nursing Practice student were selected for 2021 – 2023 Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare Scholar Cohort and received a grant for their education and research, along with mentorship and specially designed leadership training and experience. Learn more. (Pre-July 2022)

Two Doctor of Nursing Practice students and one Master of Science in Nursing student participate in the Yates Fellowship program, which supports the recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority groups who have demonstrated high potential for academic success to graduate programs at the University of Cincinnati. These fellows receive mentorship and support from college faculty from matriculation to graduation. (Pre-July 2022)

The College of Nursing hosts a yearly event celebrating the many traditions in our community and promoting the resources on campus that support diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition to lunch with diverse offerings available to students, faculty, staff and community partners, the 2023 event included a presentation by author Inez Tuck about Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and the intersection of race, class and gender in health care. (Pre-July 2022)

Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie provided a public apology and commitment to the College of Nursing students. Read apology. (January 2023)

Interim Dean Gordon Gillespie held listening sessions with student groups to identify challenges to their inclusivity and belongingness. Data from the listening sessions were catalogued with actions being developed to promote positive cultural changes in the College of Nursing. (January 2023)

The College of Nursing was awarded $750,000 for its “Systems in Holistic Innovation and Inclusion for Transformation” (SHIIFT) program by Genentech Innovation Fund, which supports projects that contribute to increasing representation of communities of color in clinical research, eliminating inequities in care delivery and dismantling barriers to a diverse, inclusive and anti-racist scientific and health care workforce. Learn more. (January 2023)

A multicultural lounge that provides a space for students from diverse backgrounds to feel included and belonging within the college community was opened. Recent activities in the space include study breaks with snacks, mindfulness activities and test-prep activities. In addition, a kitchen was designated for student use. (August 2023)  

students at Greater Cincinnati Black Nurses Association gala

Reflecting our commitment to community partnership, as well as the support of reducing disparities in health care, the College of Nursing contributed to the organization’s gala as a platinum sponsor and students, faculty and staff attended the event. GCBNA provides support, mentorship, and opportunities to Black persons desiring careers in the healthcare arena. The sponsorship. The keynote speaker for the gala was Dr. Ann Gakumo, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Community Impact. (October 2023)

Post-Graduation Outcomes

Educating nurses that join the workplace ready to have an impact and appreciate the value UC added to our professional lives.

UC nursing alumna

UC Nursing magazine's cover story highlighted four Black Alumni who became entrepreneurs. (November 2023)