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The University of Michigan Office of Research's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Implementation Team collected feedback from all UMOR units to prepare and submit a report to the Office of the Provost regarding DEI activities and achievements. A summary of implementation highlights is provided below.
Year One Implementation Highlights
- UMOR is assessed as a whole, but consists of 15 units ranging from seven to 120 employees. Even our largest units are small compared to most academic units. Not all strategies will work for all units. Some units have been undergoing reorganization, so DEI could not be prioritized. Climate is likely different across all UMOR units.
Results of the university’s staff climate survey will be reported for all units together. If not, staff could likely be identified because of low numbers in many units. However, this will limit units from identifying possible DEI issues within their unit. The same issues will likely affect the upcoming faculty surveys. Many UMOR staff are completely supported by sponsored research. If we are requiring DEI activities or training, we need to provide funding for the time these staff members spend on DEI activities.
If funding must come from current administrative budgets, something instead must be cut. If there are no resources provided, there may be a backlash against DEI activities. Many UMOR units focus on STEM fields, where applicant pools are not reflective of population diversity. Providing DEI training locations on north campus or at the North Campus Research Complex would facilitate greater participation from UMOR staff. The number of spaces available in STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Increase Diversity and Excellence) programs each year is not sufficient to meet our goal of all UMOR faculty taking the class, let alone all other U-M faculty who may want to participate.
- Overall, our implementation was aided by significant buy-in from UMOR leadership. There were multiple levels of participation on the DEI committee ranging from associate vice presidents to administrative staff members, and contributing members from multiple UMOR units. The engagement of all levels and units provided a variety of perspectives and showed that everyone not only had the opportunity to contribute, but wanted to do so. The University Climate Survey also served as a catalyst to the UMOR community, as evidenced by the significantly higher-than-average response rates across all UMOR units. UMOR staff participated in the recent university-wide All Staff Climate Survey at the rate of 72.5 percent, compared to 46.5 percent for the university as a whole.
UMOR used a multitude of processes to collect information and to evaluate what worked and what needs work. These included local committees in our various units, a dedicated email address to the UMOR DEI Implementation Team, as well as a DEI template report form that was sent to all unit directors to request input for our annual report. We will continue using these mechanisms to continue assessing and updating our Strategic Plan beyond Year Two.
A systematic review of websites and communications for promotion of DEI goals was conducted. Two units, the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP) and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG), developed unique plans to evaluate their communications for promotion of DEI goals. ORSP staff reviewed 198 pages of their website, 250 email communications, all other digital materials, such as videos and invitations, and all their print materials. They created a work plan to improve the ADA compliance of their website, as well as to supplement their stock photography account images with more inclusive images. ORSP also is working to improve signage and accessibility of events without infringement on major religious holidays. ORSP has plans in place to make sure future developments in their content remain ADA accessible.
IRWG staff took a slightly different approach, drawing a random sample of 55 communications pieces from the 2016-17 academic year, including 10 website pages, 10 event flyers, 10 email newsletters, 15 Facebook posts and 10 Calls for Proposals, and rating them according to pre-set criteria for inclusiveness and diversity. These efforts confirmed that some of IRWG’s accessibility efforts have saturated through everyday communications, but that some barriers to inclusiveness remain, which will be addressed in the upcoming year. Both these communications review plans show how units can take different strategies to self-review, showing areas for improvement even in cases where past efforts have already been somewhat successful. We are considering a plan to broaden the information collection and analysis effort that was spearheaded by IRWG.
We are all eagerly looking forward to soon receiving the results of the anonymous staff survey that was conducted earlier this spring. We will then share the findings with the entire UMOR community.