The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) was officially formed in 2016 and includes the Center for Educational Outreach, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, and Wolverine Pathways program. Together with the central administration and strategic planning teams, these units have implemented and overseen DEI work campus-wide. In support of ODEI’s commitment to advancing DEI within its own offices, two high-priority areas emerged: developing ODEI-wide practices to cultivate an inclusive environment for staff, and an equity review of staff titles and salaries across the organization.
ODEI also recognized that a better onboarding practice for new employees would allow them to feel more invested in the organization. An implementation team developed a robust onboarding structure, which includes naming staff across ODEI who would assist with onboarding during the first year of employment.
Additionally, the items traditionally included in an onboarding (such as keys, parking, computer, etc), the team added items that are necessary to make sure the employee feels included and an integral part of ODEI, including an in-depth orientation to ODEI and its units, socialization opportunities, tours of offices, review and agreement of job responsibilities, frequent check-ins and more.
To ensure that new staff was properly informed and included in ODEI processes, ODEI’s baseline climate survey showed concern by current staff related to equitable compensation and fair distribution of rewards for work performance.
As a result, a team was established to complete an equity review for programming staff (representing approximately 66% of the ODEI workforce). The review produced a rubric summarizing the work performed by programming staff at all levels, as well as an analysis of all programming staff titles and salaries, and recommended changes. Over three years, changes occurred, resulting in staff titles and salaries that are equitable across the organization.
Delivering Direct Service to Schools and Students
CEO provides service throughout Michigan with programs that impact K-12 communities, facilitating outreach opportunities for U-M students and alumni. The Michigan College Advising Corps (MCAC) guides recent U-M college graduates to serve as advisers in underserved high schools around the state. Since 2018, MCAC served 11,000+ high school seniors, with 170 enrolling at the University of Michigan and another 100+ students enrolling at U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint collectively. Currently, MCAC works with 16 high schools, having expanded into Southwest Detroit and Southfield.
Building Capacity and Consulting
CEO focused on building institutional capacity for educational outreach and engagement. CEO’s consulting work involves 17 schools and colleges and 80+ departments. Project Inspire began working with nine student organizations, and now has formed five formal workshops and offers funding and training to 25+ student organizations. CEO piloted a consulting and funding program called the Faculty Structured Outreach Support Fellowship, which started with 3 faculty members and increased to 20 across 14 schools and colleges.
Fostering Communities of Practice
CEO’s communities of practice support youth outreach and engagement, share best practices, and highlight U-M efforts. In 2018, the University Outreach Council had 100 community participants and hosted 6 events. By 2022, UOC had 375+ community members and hosted 10+ events per year. In 2017, the Faculty Forum on Outreach and Engagement launched with 5 events and inspired over 200 participants. Today, it has 750+ participants across 125 U-M units.
Developing Infrastructure and Tools to Support Outreach
Launching in 2018 with 1000 registered users, Youth Hub is now the one-stop place for 13,000 registered users to explore over 150 pre-college programs. CEO has 25+ toolkits for outreach professionals. In response to COVID-19, CEO pivoted into the educational technology tool space, piloting and launching K-12 resources using Ecoach, Gradecraft, web videos and Google Sites.
SuccessConnects serves undergraduate students by providing holistic one-on-one success coaching grounded in a student development-centered curriculum, tutoring, workshops, career and next-steps support, and community-strengthening activities.
MConnect is designed to help community college students from six partner schools both before and after they transfer to U-M. A major emphasis is put on building community and facilitating the knowledge and utilization of campus resources to support students’ overall success. MConnect has expanded from one partner community ˇcollege to six. As a result, the number of participants has tripled.
Men of Color Leading in the Classroom (MCLIC)
The Men of Color Leading In the Classroom’s (M-CLIC) mission is to increase the number of African American, Latino, Native, and Asian males going into K-12 teaching. This program is open to all students at the University of Michigan, of any race or sex, and provides support for those interested in obtaining a teaching degree and certification. The number of participants has seen a growth of 50% over the past year.
First-Generation Student Gateway
The First-Generation Student Program supports the holistic development of first-generation students and their academic transition and connections to the first-generation community. A major emphasis is to implement cross-identity programming that reflects the diversity of the population. The University of Michigan has been nationally recognized as a First Gen Forward Advisory Institution. The program has grown to incorporate an actively engaged student advisory board and over 250 students participating in the 1st Gen Graduation Celebration.
OAMI’s cultural and community impact can also be seen in the addition of programs and new components of existing programs that impact more than 12,000 individuals across multiple identities and internal and external communities – all contributing greatly to the University’s commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
Launched in 2016, Wolverine Pathways (WP) established a college preparatory pipeline to the University of Michigan and has been an asset in diversifying U-M’s undergraduate population. During the period of DEI 1.0, the program served 1,147 scholars in the 7-12 grades who resided in Detroit, Southfield and Ypsilanti. Four cohorts graduated high school between 2018 and 2021, totaling 415 graduates. Graduates have been admitted to selective colleges around the world. U-M Ann Arbor (U-M-AA) admissions, yield, retention and performance outcomes for WP graduates are especially compelling.
Admissions and Yield
WP African American scholars are 3.0-3.7 times more likely to be admitted to U-M-AA and six times more likely to attend than their same-race peers in their high school. WP African American scholars matriculating to U-M-AA represent 20% of all African American in-state students matriculating as first-year students between fall of 2018 and 2020.
Belonging, Retention & Performance
Since its inception, WP has partnered with 33 units, departments, schools or faculty to deliver a math literacy sequence, as well as pre-collegiate camps (14) and elective courses (8) that help ready scholars for the academic, cultural and social demands of U-M. WP also collaborates with academic and student services units to recruit WP graduates and provide the support that enables graduates to thrive on campus. Wolverine Pathways collaboration with SuccessConnects is of particular significance, which provides WP matriculants to U-M-AA with the support necessary for WP alumni to experience success on campus.
The program has also cultivated collaborations with community partners, including alumni, corporations, local businesses, and not-for-profit entities, which affords WP scholars and alumni career exploration.
Expanding Reach & Impact Beyond Southeastern Michigan
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan Unit at the University of Michigan leads and supports the implementation and evaluation of the DEI strategic plan in 50 units across campus (schools, colleges, Athletics, Michigan Medicine, and other administrative units). Our work is focused on University-wide and unit-based initiatives designed to recruit, develop and retain a diverse faculty, staff and student body, while fostering an inclusive and equitable University community. We strive to engage with campus partners and community stakeholders to identify and advance mission-focused, mutually beneficial initiatives and partnerships.
During AY 2021-22, ODEI supported the 5-year evaluation process, which occurred at the University level and within all 50 units. The evaluation report will be presented to the campus community in the Fall. Over the past five years, there has been a wide array of specific accomplishments and achievements of the DEI strategic plan.
The following presents a high-level summary:
Planning for the next iteration of the DEI strategic plan process will commence in Fall 2022, with the formal DEI 2.0 plan launching in Fall 2023.
Campuswide Climate Survey
Through an ongoing partnership among ODEI, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) and the independent research firm SoundRocket, the University conducted its first-ever Campus Climate Survey on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2016-2017 to help us understand faculty, staff and student perspectives and experiences related to work and study at the University. As a complement to the strategic plan process, the resulting data was used to assess the present campus climate, guide current and future decisions, and provide a metric of accountability for change over time. The climate survey generated University- and unit-level data in a way that could be repeated to measure progress.
In keeping with our commitment to collect data at the start and finish of the five-year strategic planning process, we collected campuswide follow-up climate data in October 2021.
All schools, colleges and units received follow-up student, faculty and staff reports providing their planning unit with actionable climate data as they advance their unit-based DEI goals and initiatives and prepare to move into DEI 2.0.
Going forward, our intention is to continue providing broad access to University-level data. For example, we will continue to make University-level sampling climate survey data available through public-use data files, for access by the general public via direct download from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR 37096) website or from the DEI website. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.
Liaisons for Inclusive Teaching
The Liaisons for Inclusive Teaching (LIT) aim to build faculty skills in, and commitment to, cultivating learning environments where students of all backgrounds and identities are welcomed, feel valued and are equitably supported in their academic success.
In October 2015 and every year since, deans have appointed a faculty member or a senior staff member to be their unit’s Liaison for Inclusive Teaching (LIT). Over the years, additional units with teaching responsibilities have been added to the LITs (e.g., libraries, museums, etc.). To date, there are 24 schools/colleges/units and 41 Liaisons.
The Liaisons meet four-to-six times/academic year and represent the views of their respective unit, share information about the inclusive teaching initiative with their unit leadership and faculty, and assist with the development and implementation of a faculty professional development program around inclusive teaching in their unit that will meet the needs of their faculty.
In addition, some units have been working to infuse diversity issues into their curricula. In DEI 2.0, the LITs will have the opportunity to continue working with their DEI strategic planning leads to ensure that inclusive teaching continues to be included in their unit’s diversity strategic plan.
Student IDEA Board
Disability and accessibility are key elements within the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategic framework. In March 2019, The Student IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) Board was established by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to assess the University’s current structures and culture for students with disabilities.
The Board was charged with identifying areas for improvement and providing recommendations to enhance the lived experiences of disabled students at the University. In order to effectively tackle this broad charge, the Board formed eight sub-groups, each focused on specific elements of a student’s experience at the University. Recommendations were completed and a report was delivered to Robert Sellers, Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, on December 15, 2019, for implementation of short-term actions to begin immediately thereafter. The full report and details can be found on the Student IDEA Board website. The work is ongoing.
Since 2020-2021, actions have been taken with all 48 Student Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Board recommendations, with 14 that have been implemented or substantially achieved. One successful initiative that stemmed from the IDEA Board is the Toward An Anti-Ableist Academy Conference, a virtual colloquial series of events throughout Disability Community Month that invites the campus community to learn more about creating a welcoming University climate that actively works toward embracing disability culture and experiences. The conference was created to provide an update on the work of the Student IDEA Board, their recommendations, and the ongoing work to implement them.
Eight Sub-Groups of the IDEA Board:
National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity – Institutional Membership
The Office of the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer sponsors the University of Michigan’s institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD). The NCFDD is an independent center that offers a wide range of resources to support the professional development and successful transitions of faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and doctoral students throughout their academic careers. The resources are broadly applicable across academic disciplines and include webinars/workshops on topics such as how to develop a daily writing plan, strategies for increasing research productivity, managing time, how to write grant proposals and maintaining work-life balance.
University Diversity & Social Transformation Professorship
In 2019, the University of Michigan established a program to acknowledge outstanding U-M senior faculty and to recruit senior faculty who have made significant contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion issues through their teaching, research and/or service, with an emphasis on cutting-edge and next-generation scholarship. Designated as University Diversity & Social Transformation Professors (UDSTP), these faculty members will be affiliated with the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID).
For the first five years of their appointment, UDSTPs receive an annual $20,000 research stipend. Through NCID’s Diversity Scholars Network, they also have opportunities to collaborate with other diversity scholars, along with access to special activities and resources for promoting and supporting their work. In addition, during the term of their NCID Fellow-in-Residence, UDSTPs present a public lecture on their work related to DEI as part of the annual UDSTP lecture series.
The inaugural cohort of UDSTPs included 9 faculty members from all disciplinary areas: arts and humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. As of September 2022, there have been 4 cohorts with a total of 27 UDSTPs.
James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship
In 2017, the University of Michigan established a new career award administered biennially by the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to celebrate and honor faculty members whose scholarship has contributed significantly to our understanding or appreciation of groups that have traditionally been understudied.
The primary goals of this award are to build a more robust body of knowledge and teaching in these areas, elevate these research foci nationally, and provide important recognition to scholars whose work may have been undervalued in the past.
The James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship is named for its first recipient—whose passing on September 1 of 2020 was a major loss to our community. Since 2017, a total of 3 recipients have been named.