To the University Community,
As the University of Michigan enters the fourth year of its five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), we continue to make progress in transforming the university into a place where everyone has an equitable opportunity to succeed and contribute. These changes can be seen and felt throughout our campus, as programs, practices and initiatives continue to reflect our values in making Michigan a more diverse, equitable and inclusive university.
In the process, we have learned much about ourselves, and how we are able to succeed when everyone is welcomed into the process.
Over the past year, we have achieved several important milestones that have strengthened our community. On April 11, 2019, the new Trotter Multicultural Center (TMC) on State Street opened. Coming out of the activism of student protest, the construction of the new TMC represented an inclusive, strategic planning process that included significant input from our community members—students, staff and faculty alike.
As a result of these efforts, we now have a beautiful hub and communal space where everyone from our community can feel welcome and inspired.
Also new this year was the appointment of our first staff ombudsperson. This role began providing university staff members with a wide variety of services, including impartial conflict resolution, information and referrals, serving as a liaison between individuals and university administration and making recommendations for systemic change.
New options for university health services were also announced in 2019, paving the way for U-M transgender health plan members to receive expanded coverage for additional medical procedures. Following a careful and thorough review of coverage for gender-affirming services, U-M clinicians and policy experts studied medical evidence and benefits at peer institutions to develop this expanded coverage. The new U-M coverage went into effect July 1.
In addition to these efforts, this past May, the university provided faculty and staff with educational resources to help prevent sexual misconduct in our community. These resources included a mandatory training module on sexual and gender-based misconduct. This training was the first step in a multilayered approach to cultural change. These are just a few examples of the progress that has been made to date.
As we assess where we are at the end of the third year of our DEI strategic plan, there are two things that are both undeniable. First, we still have a great deal of work to do before we achieve all of our goals. Second, we have made tremendous progress and are not the same university we were at the start of the DEI process.
It is our challenge to let the latter truth help motivate us to work to address the former. I continue to be amazed by all the hard work, dedication and commitment that has been shown by so many students, staff and faculty at this great institution, and I am honored to be a small part of this effort. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us as we continue this most important work.
Robert M. Sellers
Chief Diversity Officer
Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion