Four months into the implementation of the University of Michigan’s five-year diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan, many of the 49 campus units have made measurable progress toward accomplishing their first-year goals.
Several units have hired staff members to lead their DE&I implementation, while programs such as Wolverine Pathways and the HAIL Scholarship have created and enhanced pipelines to the university for underrepresented populations. Universitywide, two DE&I Student Advisory Boards were created to ensure collaboration and student engagement at all levels. Other units have began hosting engagement sessions with students, faculty and staff to determine what has been working and what needs to be tweaked to better represent the needs of that community.
While administrators acknowledge that there is still a long road ahead, here is a list of some highlights of the DE&I plan:
- The university has created a new campuswide leadership role, the Chief Diversity Officer, to oversee implementation of the five-year DE&I strategic plan, and to provide new campuswide resources.
- Due to efforts since spring 2016 to enhance the visibility and coordination of ways to report an incident of bias, students, faculty, and staff may now directly report an incident in several ways: by phone, in person, or with an online report form. The websites of Student Government, Housing, Student Life, the Dean of Students, DE&I, and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) each provide a link to the same online reporting form. Reports submitted on an online care report are received by the Bias Response Team – BRT (Housed within Student Life) and routed based on the reporter. If the reporter is a faculty or staff member, the report is responded to by the BRT member from the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). Reports by students are responded to by other BRT members. In addition to avenues cited above for online reporting, the websites of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) and University Human Resources (UHR) provide (734) 615-BIAS (2427)as the number to call to directly report a bias incident. Faculty or staff calling this number will be routed to OIE. Students calling this number will be routed to the Dean of Students. The role of the BRT is to support the community member who has experienced a bias incident and to make campus resources available to him/her.
- The campuswide climate survey effort that sampled faculty, staff, and students was completed in January with significantly high response rates, and a report is being developed for an April release. Additionally, all U-M community members will have an opportunity to participate in a climate survey census effort that will begin in March 2017 with staff, and continue in October 2017 with faculty and students.
- The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching is delivering inclusive teaching workshops and events for faculty, touching every school and college on campus. Additionally, the Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching (FCIT) has recently been funded for a third year. This initiative is designed to build faculty capacity for supporting an inclusive campus climate through their teaching in classrooms, clinics, studios, or labs through the funding of small exploratory grants.
- The university also has hired a Chief Organizational Learning Officer, to oversee the development of training opportunities for all campus community members, that is designed to develop skills and behaviors that ultimately will enhance our campus climate. To date, requests for individual and unit-based training sessions are in high demand.
- Many schools and colleges have recently hired dedicated professionals or designated existing staff to lead the DE&I strategic plan implementation within their units. New hires have been made in the School of Nursing, School of Public Health, and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Search processes are underway within other schools/colleges like the College of Pharmacy and the School of Kinesiology. Lastly, LSA has recently released a call for nominations for a new Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Professional Development.
- The piloting phase has begun for the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) initiative, with a small subset of initial students going through the assessment process. The ultimate goal is to administer this assessment tool to all incoming students to assess cultural acumen and develop customized learning plans and intercultural training opportunities aligned to a student’s results.
- The Regents recently approved the schematic designs for the Trotter Multicultural Center. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2018. Designed as a hub for multicultural education, events, and activities, the new facility will have enhanced staff capacity for innovative programming. This programming will develop cultural learning, as well as health and wellness programs to support students experiencing bias or who otherwise feel excluded and unwelcome on campus.
- Student Life has convened undergraduate and graduate/professional diversity, equity, and inclusion student advisory boards (DEISABs) to ensure student engagement in and provide student feedback on the implementation and assessment of the DE&I strategic plan. Each cohort meets monthly with the Vice President for Student Life and the Dean of Students.
- There will be a call for proposals in April for small grants from a new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Innovation Fund. Faculty, staff, and students will be eligible to apply for support for new innovative ideas that will promote, enhance, and celebrate DE&I principles and values.
- LSA recently launched the LSA Democracy in Action Fund to celebrate and promote an inclusive community, with an emphasis on civil, productive dialogue between students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds.
- In October, LSA launched its Collegiate Postdoctoral fellows program. This program represents a commitment to hire 50 new faculty members with a demonstrated commitment to their diversity through their scholarship, pedagogy, and/or service. Fellows are hired into two-year postdoctoral fellowships that are linked to possible faculty lines. The first year of the program yielded more than 750 applications. The program is in the final phases of selecting the first cohort of fellows.
- A new full time staff person has been hired within the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI) to coordinate a suite of services and programs for First-Generation college students, including things like mentorship, academic support, social networking, etc.
- In the first year of the HAIL scholarship initiative, 262 students from 52 Michigan counties enrolled at U-M and received full tuition scholarships. Students were selected for the HAIL initiative based on their previous academic success, financial need and early indications of their likelihood to be competitive in the admissions process. Applications are currently being reviewed for the coming academic year. This pilot program is currently be evaluated for expansion.
- Wolverine Pathways, an innovative pipeline program focused on creating a path to college readiness for middle and high school students in Southfield, Ypsilanti, and has recently expanded to the city of Detroit. To date, more than 450 students have been admitted into the program. This number will almost double in the next year.
- SuccessConnects has launched within the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. It is an initiative that provides academic, cultural, personal and professional development to students involved in the HAIL scholars, Detroit Promise, and Wolverine Pathways, as well as first generation students that are not connected to ongoing support services. The major program components of the program include coaching, student development, and connecting students to campus and local resources.
While these updates reflect many of the central actions listed in U-M plan, university efforts on these topics also include hundreds of initiatives outlined by the 49 planning units all across campus. For more information, the campuswide and all 49 unit-level plans are located at: https://diversity.umich.edu/strategic-plan/