Throughout the first three months of my tenure as Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, I have taken numerous opportunities to connect with different individuals and groups in our community (and I look forward to many more opportunities). This fall has also been critical in our transition from our DEI 1.0 Strategic Plan – we’ve been examining our own outcomes and reflecting on the progress we’ve made as a campus community since we began the implementation of the strategic plan in 2016.
Our campus climate survey results, shared earlier this fall, highlighted how the mental health and well-being of our U-M students, faculty and staff are areas of needed attention, a topic we explored at our annual DEI Summit community assembly event, DEI: Nurturing the Heart, Mind & Soul. If you missed the event, a recording of the speakers, creative performances and conversations can be accessed here.
The community assembly featured timely discussions about the interconnections of well-being with the arts and religion/spirituality. Speakers encouraged us to consider ways that an appreciation for diversity in the arts and religion/spirituality can serve to nurture us as individuals and connect us as a global community. The conversation also encouraged us to consider how the type of culture we consume (through the arts and popular culture) can serve to “feed” our well-being or challenge it, and similarly, how judging others’ religious/spiritual views through our own lenses. As a result, this can distort and disrespect those views in ways that reinforce stereotypes and fuel group divisions.
Currently, our campus units are in the process of sharing outcomes from their unit-level DEI Plans and gathering input from their respective communities, using a variety of creative approaches. To complement and support these efforts, our ODEI team looks forward to sharing and discussing the campus-wide DEI 1.0 Evaluation Report, which includes key outcomes, successes, and lessons learned from across our schools/colleges and units. Taken together, this information and your input will help us understand the structural and cultural impacts we have made during DEI 1.0 and inform us of areas that need prioritization as we advance together toward DEI 2.0 and even greater impacts.
With the fall semester in full swing with many competing priorities, please remember to take time for yourself, and that our community is here to support you.
This message originated in the November 9, 2022 edition of the “ODEI Today” newsletter