Despite the challenges of a global pandemic and nationwide racial unrest, the University of Michigan’s Year Five Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Progress Report charted milestones of institutional success.
The web-based report — which features videos, infographics and updates on efforts at the university and unit level across campus — also highlights new university initiatives focused on anti-racism and the ways that DEI was prioritized in the university‘s response to COVID-19.
Those successes pertained to such areas as DEI skill building, new policies and processes, new and expanded DEI community support, accessibility and affordability.
“Throughout year five, we have learned much about the value of resiliency, hope and determination,” said Robert Sellers, vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “Despite many challenges, we continued to provide leadership and support to advance DEI progress throughout U-M — in schools and colleges, in research centers and Michigan Medicine, in campus operations, administrative units and outreach programs.”
This year marks the conclusion of the university’s initial DEI Five-Year Strategic Plan, known as DEI 1.0. It also marks the beginning of a yearlong evaluation process in which central and unit-level content and actions from DEI 1.0 will be thoroughly assessed to serve as a base of planning for DEI 2.0.
Some of the topics and achievements highlighted in the report include:
As of June 21, U-M confirmed a $15-per-hour minimum wage for permanent workers across all three campuses.
Go Blue Guarantee
Since its rollout in winter 2018, the Go Blue Guarantee has made education on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus more affordable for families with incomes of $65,000 or less and assets below $50,000, providing financial aid packages totaling, at minimum, the cost of tuition and mandatory fees. Highlights include:
- In Fall 2020, 1,428 current students were eligible for the guarantee and collectively received $20.5 million in institutional and federal support for that term.
- As of Fall 2021, the Go Blue Guarantee will be extended to qualifying Michigan residents on the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint campuses.
- From 2016-20, the university saw 11.7 percent growth in the number of transfer students from two-year colleges — indicating an increase in access to U-M.
Teaching and learning
Despite pandemic-related constraints, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching continued to pursue its mission through a growing roster of campuswide and unit-level programs, including:
- More than 2,200 graduate student instructors and undergraduate instructional aides attended the CRLT plenary sessions on inclusive teaching — an increase of 64 percent from the previous year.
- CRLT provided 40 programs on anti-racism pedagogy in 12 of the university’s 19 schools and colleges.
The university continued implementing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Board recommendations. They include creating an accessibility map of general fund buildings, introducing all campus design managers to new training protocols such as the ADA Checklist, and delivering presentations on digital accessibility to instructors.
Other accessibility-related accomplishments include:
- More than $1 million has been invested over the past three years to remove physical barriers on campus — making campus more accessible for all.
- Disability awareness training has been provided to more than 1,700 people within the campus community, with 90 percent of participants confirming they gained skills that apply to their work.
Findings from the DEI 1.0 evaluation period — to be shared in October 2022 — will help guide a yearlong planning phase for the university’s next DEI strategic plan, DEI 2.0. The second five-year initiative will launch in October 2023.
During the two-year transition period between strategic plans, the university will continue its DEI-related efforts, providing regular progress updates to the campus community.
“The end of the five-year strategic planning implementation does not mark the end of our DEI work,” said Katrina Wade-Golden, deputy chief diversity officer and director of implementation. “Rather, it represents an intensive reinvestment in our DEI efforts, which will move us forward as we seek to advance institutional change that produces a continuous and lasting impact on the university community.”