University of Michigan
News for faculty, staff and retirees

July 19, 2019

Town halls scheduled to collect staff input on diversity planning

February 2, 2016

Town halls scheduled to collect staff input on diversity planning

Topic: Campus News

The university will conduct four town halls Feb. 11, 12 and 15 to gather staff input for the ongoing effort to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at U-M.

The town halls, which are co-sponsored by Voices of the Staff, will follow the same format as similar events conducted recently to gather student input.

"Staff experiences, ideas and solutions are especially vital, as schools, colleges and campus units begin crafting their strategic plans," Associate Vice President for Human Resources Laurita Thomas said. "We invite you to be part of this conversation and help create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus for all."

The town halls are scheduled for:

• Feb. 11, 1-2:15 p.m. in the Hussey Room of the Michigan League.

• Feb. 11, 3-4:15 p.m. in the East Room of Pierpont Commons.

• Feb. 12, 11:15-12:45 p.m. in Suite 18 of Wolverine Tower (light lunch provided).

• Feb. 15, 5:15-6:30 p.m. in the Vandenberg Room of the Michigan League.

Each town hall will consist of a brief overview of the diversity planning process, structure and timeline, and an activity to crowdsource ideas. That will be followed by time for open dialogue, and questions and answers.

Input generated at the staff town halls will be shared with all diversity planning leads to inform the strategic planning efforts in schools, colleges and units.

The gatherings are part of a campuswide process to produce a five-year strategic plan that will enhance diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the university.

President Mark Schlissel has made diversity, equity and inclusion a priority of his presidency.


Katie Oppenheim
on 2/03/16 at 8:20 am

Why are there no sessions at the health system?

Laurita Thomas
on 2/03/16 at 11:07 pm

Thank you for your question Katie. The Health System will hold staff town halls; they will be scheduled in the next several months at places more convenient for Health System staff. If Health Staff can attend these on campus, certainly they are welcome.

Laura Shue
on 2/04/16 at 12:36 pm

Thank you for your thoughtful response, Laurita. I think the issue is that the department planning leads begin and complete their orientation sessions through February and March. There is concern that, by the time the Health System offers Town Halls, the planning will already be well underway which presents significant challenges to the intended goal of the Town Halls informing the process.

Denise Williams
on 2/04/16 at 6:00 pm

Thank you for the thoughtful comments. We are planning several town hall sessions for UMHS staff, to be held in March 2016 . The sessions will be held at various times to accommodate different work shifts, and at both hospital and remote UMHS locations. We hope this timing will help support our new Planning Leads as they complete orientations in February and March. We will be sharing the findings of those town halls widely, and I encourage all who are interested to email me and I will be sure to let you know personally when the town halls have been scheduled. Thank you.
Denise Williams, UMHS Lead Planning Facilitator-

Terence Joiner
on 2/03/16 at 8:34 am

I agree. These should be inclusive and scheduled at a time when clinical staff can attend

Laurita Thomas
on 2/03/16 at 11:10 pm

Thank you for your comment Dr. Joiner. There will be opportunities for input and participation in the Health System scheduled for more convenience. These will occur at a later time.

on 2/03/16 at 11:48 am

Agree with the first two: those sites are not at all conducive to inclusion of UMHS staff.

Laurita Thomas
on 2/03/16 at 11:12 pm

Thank you for your comment and I understand. The Health System plan for input and participation will be shared at a later time.

Julia Morrissey
on 2/04/16 at 1:58 pm

I find it concerning that the response continues to simply be repeated that the plan for input and participation from Health System staff will be shared at a later time. I think all people commenting above understood the first time it was stated. The Health System employees are a significantly large number of people who clearly are just as invested in the outcomes of the overall planning as the Academic side. Additionally, typically most employees of the Health System have the least flexible schedules to attend offsite events like these. This exact process of excluding Health System employees - except for those lucky enough to be able get to the off site locations is a clear example of simple things that need to improve. This is not inline with the statement made above of a "campuswide process ... that will enhance diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the university". The least that could be done is be more specific when "later" is, the next several months could be June/July/August...

Denise Williams
on 2/04/16 at 6:03 pm

Thank you so much for the comments- we are planning town halls right now to be held at several times and locations in March to coincide with our strategic planning launch. Please email me directly at if you have ideas about how we should schedule sessions to best meet needs of all our staff. We are currently scheduling sessions on multiple days, multiple shift times, and multiple locations (hospital and ambulatory/satellite sites, including NCAC and NCRC. I will post the dates in this forum as well as soon as they are finalized. Thank you.

Denise Williams, Lead Planning Facilitator, UMHS-

Julia Morrissey
on 2/05/16 at 9:41 am

Thank you Denise.

This is much more clear. I think the only other thing that needs to be clarified is that the team will wait to move forward with planning until all meetings are held and all voices are heard. I will email my other questions/thoughts to you.

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.