Following a yearlong evaluation of the University of Michigan’s initial diversity, equity and inclusion five-year strategic plan, university leadership presented findings and gathered community feedback ahead of the fall launch of DEI 2.0.
Findings from DEI 1.0 were outlined Jan. 10 in the Michigan Union’s Rogel Ballroom during an information session and conversation between President Santa J. Ono and Tabbye Chavous, vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. Provost Laurie McCauley delivered welcoming remarks.
“Institutions have to be committed to continuous, positive momentum,” Ono said. “It’s important for me to show I’m behind DEI 1.0 to make sure when we embark on DEI 2.0 as an institution, we do so with even more vigor, determination and support.”
The interactive session, hosted by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, allowed members of the U-M community to attend in-person and virtually to learn and provide immediate feedback about DEI 1.0.
A question-and-answer session with Chavous considered how the university can leverage successes and opportunities for growth in developing its next strategic plan.
Chavous shared insights and lessons learned from DEI 1.0, including the need for strategic unit plans that are more focused, increased collaboration across plans, enhanced infrastructure such as data and evaluation support resources, as well deeper engagement with the community.
Since the first campuswide DEI strategic plan launched in 2016, it has outlined strategies and actions to support the 50 school, college and unit plans, which address unique local needs and opportunities.
While progress has looked different across units, Chavous said all units have made progress forward in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
A critical component to advancing the DEI efforts across the university has been the DEI Implementation Leads Group, which is charged with ensuring that the 50 school, college and unit plans are executed within their respective areas.
Chavous said U-M now has more than 100 DEI leads on the Ann Arbor campus and more than 120 leads at Michigan Medicine.
Following the evaluation process at both the unit and university levels, U-M reported that during the DEI 1.0 period 37 university-level action items and more than 2,800 unit-level action items were completed.
A portion of the session also included an overview of demographic data for students, faculty and staff over the five-year DEI 1.0 timeframe.
Data patterns showed that regarding racial minorities, the number of people of color increased substantially during DEI 1.0 across tenure and non-tenure tracks, staff, undergraduate and graduate students.
Chavous said that while overall demographic diversity has increased among students, staff and faculty during this time, there is a need to intensify a strategy and increase DEI efforts in 2.0.
An example from the data showed that the number of Black students on U-M’s campus increased from 2016, but not to a degree that has kept up with the growing student body overall.
Chavous explained that while the number of Black undergraduate students on campus has increased over time, the percentage of total Black undergraduate students has remained low and has not kept pace with the rate of growth for the overall student body. In contrast, the number of Black graduate students and their overall percentage increased, suggesting different progress in recruiting and enrollment for those two educational pathways.
Similarly, the number of Native American undergraduate students decreased from 2016, as the number of Native American graduate students showed an increase suggesting different progress at undergraduate and graduate recruitment efforts.
Data from staff and faculty representation showed the number of women and people of color increased from 2016, with the exception of Native American staff and tenure-track faculty.
Chavous said the university’s faculty and staff hiring efforts were more diverse during DEI 1.0, with a higher percentage of people of color hired during the DEI 1.0 timeframe than in the prior decade.
Some examples highlighting the DEI recruitment efforts, to support enrollment and initiatives developed to enrich the community, include the Wolverine Pathways and LSA Collegiate Fellows programs.
The Wolverine Pathways program, which launched in 2016 and provides year-round academic and social support for students, families and their schools in selected underserved Michigan communities, saw 470 scholars graduate from the program in the first five cohorts.
It reported 81% of its graduates enrolled in or graduated from college.
The LSA Collegiate Fellows program, which recruits early-career scholars in all liberal arts fields who are committed to DEI in the academy, received nearly 4,000 applications since 2016 and reported that 98% of those who have completed their fellowships are now in tenure-track positions.
Highlights from the evaluation report also focused on the university’s accessibility efforts, including the development of resources and attention to remove physical barriers, disability awareness training, digital accessibility policies and development of programs such as the Adaptive Sports and Fitness Program.
Programming developed during DEI 1.0 also made significant gains in creating spaces and opportunities for students, faculty and staff to learn about, build comfort with, and learn skills to engage across differences.
Some of these DEI skill-building opportunities include:
- 42,279 incoming undergraduate students completed healthy relationship/bystander intervention training to reduce bias incidents.
- More than 6,200 graduate student instructors and undergraduate instructional aides completed modules on inclusive teaching.
- 50,064 staff members participated in Organizational Learning and Michigan Medicine DEI educational sessions.
- More than 1,850 faculty members attended a Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence workshop.
Data presented during the evaluation session was developed through the examination of enrollment and employment data, campus climate surveys, institutional reports, budget documents and other materials developed through the DEI 1.0 evaluation period.