To the University Community,
In the past several years, we’ve witnessed the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion being challenged across this country in varying capacities – legally and politically. But our commitment to DEI has not wavered at the University of Michigan, and we have not backed down. The fundamental values of DEI continue to guide our current goals and actions and shape our future.
I am incredibly proud to be part of a university community that continually seeks to reflect the values of DEI in all that we do, and that is willing to stand up for these values in the face of push back and resistance.
A phrase that I use often is that “two things can be true at the same time.” That is, we can acknowledge and celebrate ways that – through the strategy and efforts of many – our University has made tremendous progress over time with regard to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus environment.
At the same time, we also recognize a reality where interconnected systems of social inequalities still exist – based on race, gender and gender identity, socioeconomic status, religious identity, for people with disabilities (among multiple types of inequality). These systems are still embedded in our societal and institutional practices and processes in ways that can cause and reinforce harm and prevent equitable thriving opportunities for all.
Understanding and acting on these multiple truths is the ongoing work of DEI.
Through U-M’s inaugural five year DEI strategic plan (DEI 1.0, spanning 2016-2021), we made substantial progress in improving access, representation, and experiences among our students, staff, and faculty. Our evaluation process documented successes, as well as challenges, and key lessons learned.
The launch of the University’s next diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan in fall 2023, DEI 2.0, builds on the progress of DEI 1.0, reaffirming a commitment to what our community has asked of us in order to live up to our values and supporting what we know from a now large body of research and scholarship. That is, in order to be excellent, we must be diverse in the broadest sense of the word and cultivate and sustain the conditions of equity and inclusion that allow us to leverage the benefits of this diversity.
DEI 2.0 is the instantiating of the University’s efforts to infuse the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into every aspect of our campus’ operations, climate, and culture – in a strategic manner using values-driven and evidence-informed policies, practices, processes, and procedures.
As we continue to move forward together during our 2.0, our success will require courageous involvement from our entire community – our campus leaders, faculty, staff, students, alumni and campus partners. Now more than ever, the work of DEI is needed – in higher education and in society. Even in the face of challenge and resistance, our collective efforts have made and will make a difference.
As part of our effort to support the next chapter in our journey, we are redesigning and relaunching the University’s diversity.umich.edu site.
The site will allow for exploration of our past through sharing histories of U-M developed by our own campus experts and partners and told through different lenses and perspectives. This includes examples of how our University’s DEI journey, leadership, and efforts to defend the values of DEI have shown up locally and nationally in legal and legislative contexts.
The site is also present- and forward-facing, intended to serve as a hub for connecting our community to current information and resources across our decentralized campus. U-M’s demonstrated commitment to DEI is reflected in the wide range of activities, initiatives, and resources developed and offered across our campus schools and colleges, offices, units, and programs.
In addition, the site will regularly showcase news and examples of the bold, strategic, innovative, and creative work of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have made contributions to DEI on our campus, in their disciplines and fields, in their communities, and in our broader society.
Through this site, I hope you will find opportunities for engagement and learning and identify resources that will benefit you and our full University community, including our faculty, staff, students, and alumni and partners.
Finally, consistent with our commitment to creating a more inclusive, equitable and diverse campus, the site will be responsive to community interests and needs. Your ideas, suggestions and feedback about what you would find useful and valuable are welcomed and appreciated as we move forward in this site, and in the broader work of advancing DEI at the University of Michigan.
Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Professor of Education and Psychology