The University of Michigan is among 96 colleges and universities to earn the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.
Award recipients were announced recently by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. It is the largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.
The publication evaluated colleges and universities in the United States and Canada for bolstering diversity and inclusion. Recruitment and campus leadership were also considered.
“Our university cannot be excellent without being diverse in the broadest sense of that word, and we must ensure that our community provides all individuals with an equal opportunity to contribute and succeed,” President Mark Schlissel said Monday, during the university’s 2018 Diversity Summit community assembly, which marked the launch of year three in the DEI Strategic Plan, and presented progress updates on the previous year’s implementation efforts.
“Thanks to the outstanding work by many individuals across our campus, we’ve made significant progress over the past few years,” Schlissel added.
In September 2015, as one of his first official acts as president, Schlissel challenged the U-M community to unite in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus. To provide an institutional map for achieving that goal, the university developed a five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Since then, the university has made a significant effort to increase diversity in myriad forms, from race and ethnicity to religious commitments and political perspectives; increase equity, by working to challenge and respond to bias, harassment and discrimination; and increase inclusion, by pursuing deliberate efforts to ensure the campus is a place where differences are welcomed, perspectives are respectfully heard, and everyone feels a sense of belonging.
“When the University of Michigan launched its five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, we strived to accomplish both immediate and long-term changes that would leave a lasting impact on our institution,” said Robert M. Sellers, chief diversity officer and vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion. “Institutionally, we have positioned ourselves to sustain long-lasting, impactful change.”
In the last year, U-M implemented and strengthened a number of key initiatives meant to increase diversity on across the entire campus and within every unit and department on campus.
To make earning a degree from U-M’s Ann Arbor campus more affordable for Michigan residents, U-M leaders announced the Go Blue Guarantee that provides students who are accepted into the university and have a family income of less than $65,000 the opportunity to receive free in-state tuition for four years of undergraduate study.
The university saw success with Wolverine Pathways, an innovative pipeline program that partners with Southfield, Ypsilanti, and Detroit school districts to reach middle and high school students from underserved communities. The program graduated its first class of 88 scholars this summer. Of the 88 scholars, 91 percent are attending a four-year college or university. Forty-five are currently enrolled on the Ann Arbor campus and 15 are enrolled at UM-Dearborn.
University officials also continued to focus on staff training across the university. Human Resources Learning and Professional Development developed a number of DEI training courses, including Unconscious Bias, Change It Up and Disability Awareness for departments and individuals that provide staff with the awareness and skills necessary to interact effectively and respectfully across differences. To date, more than 17,000 staff members across 51 academic and administrative departments have participated.
To better equip faculty and instructors with the skills and resources they need to teach more inclusively within the classroom, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching increased its offerings to include 23 different workshops on inclusive teaching for faculty across the university, ranging from lecturers and graduate student instructors to tenure track faculty. This was in addition to 34 customized workshops and retreats offered to faculty in ten schools and colleges.