Bringing the University of Michigan community together to inform and inspire its broad, ongoing effort to improve diversity, equity and inclusion is the goal of a Diversity Summit on the Ann Arbor campus Nov. 4-13.
The summit launches the public-engagement component of a yearlong process that has started with campus units, and ultimately will create a comprehensive blueprint to allow all members of the U-M community an equal opportunity to thrive.
President Mark Schlissel has said the university’s dedication to academic excellence for the public good cannot be achieved without being diverse in the broadest sense of that word.
“The success of our strategic plan will depend on a strong level of engagement by members of our community,” Schlissel says. “Our Diversity Summit will give everyone a chance to learn how things are progressing and have their voices heard as we continue to shape our strategic planning process. I invite all members of our community to attend.”
The Diversity Summit is a tangible demonstration that the planning process is underway, and that U-M is committed to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in everything it does, says Robert Sellers, vice provost for equity, inclusion and academic affairs.
“It’s important that the various voices are heard. This ties into the overall goal of a strategic planning process, and of a plan that has had the benefit of all voices,” Sellers says.
The summit will consist of a variety of public and private events. The centerpiece is a Nov. 10 community assembly with the president. It will take place at Rackham Auditorium and be livestreamed to an online audience. Everyone in the U-M community is asked to share visions of where the university needs to go on diversity, equity and inclusion — and how it gets there, Sellers says.
A panel discussion Nov. 11 will provide perspective on diversity issues from outside U-M. Presidents representing several segments of U.S. higher education will discuss the roles their institutions play, and the need to better articulate higher education’s commitment to preparing individuals for an increasingly diverse society.
Two staff-focused events Nov. 12 will provide an opportunity for staff to contribute, and will reiterate the important role staff play at U-M, Sellers says.
U-M units and divisions, and student groups also are developing activities and events to gather information to support the strategic plan. Schlissel says faculty and staff from every campus unit will be involved to collect the best ideas.
People representing each of U-M’s schools, colleges and campus units will serve as planning leads, sparking the process within units while coordinating with the overall university effort.
At the Diversity Summit, scribes will be on hand to collect information. Suggestions will be filtered through planning committees and considered as part of unit area and university plans, Sellers says.
Following the summit, individual unit plans are to be developed by the end of this academic year. They will be integrated into a university plan by September 2016. Implementation and evaluation will follow, continuing through 2021.
The president has said that U-M’s senior leadership also is fully engaged and that all executive officers are committed to the collaborative process.
The Diversity Summit’s public events are:
• “Powerful Partnerships to Promote Health Equity and Inclusion: National and Community Perspectives. A Public Talk by Dr. Regina M. Benjamin,” 4 p.m. Nov. 5, Rackham Amphitheatre. Benjamin, former U.S. surgeon general, will discuss how the private sector, government, academia and nonprofits can build partnerships to promote health equity and inclusion. Learn more about this event or RSVP.
• “Reflections on U-M’s Diversity History,” 4 p.m. Nov. 9, Michigan League Ballroom. U-M leaders who have played a critical role in advancing the diversity agenda will reflect on U-M’s diversity history, progress and challenges. There will be a strolling reception and accompanying exhibit. Learn more about this event or RSVP.
• “Community Assembly with President Mark Schlissel,” emceed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page, with breakfast at 8 a.m., doors open at 8:30 a.m., program from 9-11 a.m. Rackham Auditorium. The president will engage the broad U-M community in a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion. The event will be streamed live online, and will include opening remarks, interactive activities and video presentations.
• “Leadership, Diversity and the Future of Higher Education: A Systemwide Commitment,” 4-5:30 p.m. Nov. 11, Rackham Amphitheatre. This public event will be an opportunity to place U-M’s diversity efforts into the context of higher education’s broader, long-term commitment to advance equity, diversity and inclusion. Learn more about this event or RSVP.
• “Connecting Through Story: How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact the Workplace,” 9-11:30 a.m. Nov. 12, Michigan League Ballroom. This diversity, equity, and inclusion-focused interactive workshop is intended to educate and engage the audience in discussing the importance of individual and collective awareness of the dimensions of diversity in the workplace. Learn more about this event or RSVP.
• “A Dialogue on Staff Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” 1:30-3 p.m. Nov. 12, Michigan League, Michigan Room. This presentation will inform the campus community about the Staff Committee Report on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion completed in July. Findings and recommendations for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among staff will be shared. Learn more about this event or RSVP.