Milestones in Action: University-wide DEI Strategic Plan

Rooted in decades of student activism and strategic work by faculty and staff, the University of Michigan community called on institutional leaders to strengthen the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), recommending the creation of a campus-wide strategic plan. In 2015, U-M adopted this recommendation, affirming its dedication to DEI.

In 2016, U-M launched its inaugural DEI strategic plan, marking a groundbreaking moment in higher education. Through a ground-up, collaborative effort, each school, college, and campus unit – 49 in total – devised plans resonating with their specific missions and communities. Additionally, a central strategy and a suite of resources were developed to support this campus-wide effort. This comprehensive approach was essential to U-M’s goals of cultural transformation, that is, integrating and infusing DEI values into core mission and standard operations across the campus.

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U-M contributed new resources and developed infrastructure to support the planning process. This included the appointment of an inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and creation of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI). The office represented new and ongoing commitments to DEI, including leading the implementation of the campus-wide and unit plans and offering a number of campus-wide programs focused on enhancing access, experiences, and success and thriving for students, faculty, and staff.

Another key aspect of the new infrastructure was the development of unit-level DEI Leads, who report to unit leadership and help lead and manage unit level planning and activities. The DEI Leads became invaluable resources to their units, and also served as a means of connecting efforts across a highly decentralized campus. The Leads came to function as a community of professional practice, sharing evidence-based models and practices across units for maximum effectiveness, efficiency and impact.

The innovative planning process yielded a large, complex and creative DEI strategic plan consisting of 2800+ unit-level action items and 37 central (university-level) action items.

Following the conclusion of the initial DEI strategic plan period (2016-2021, now referred to as DEI 1.0), the University engaged in a campus-wide evaluation process, including numerous quantitative metrics and qualitative indicators of progress, success, and impact. A comprehensive evaluation report detailing key outcomes and findings was presented to the campus community and published in January 2022.

This process and the success outcomes of DEI 1.0 paved the way for a renewed commitment to the next phase of U-M’s DEI journey, DEI 2.0. Launched in fall 2023 after a planning year marked by wide unit-level and community-wide input, this next phase of our strategic plan builds on our institutional commitment to creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. For DEI 2.0, our campus community brings bolder goals and new ideas, new investments, and measures of impact and accountability – shaped and developed by our university community.

people sitting around a table talking.

DEI 2.0 (2022 Planning–Present)

Learn more about the university’s current efforts towards creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus for all members of our community.

Learn more about DEI 2.0
people sitting at tables having conversations.

DEI 1.0 (2016–2021)

Learn more about the university’s inaugural DEI Strategic Plan, including data, outcomes and experiences.

Learn more about DEI 1.0