Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community Forums – On Undergraduate Education Initiatives

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community Forums – On Undergraduate Education Initiatives


>>Good evening, everybody.>>Good evening.>>Okay; can we have a
little bit more enthusiasm? Good evening, everybody.>>Good evening.>>Good; I appreciate that. So my name’s Andrew Martin. That’s my name on the screen. I’m the dean of the College of Literature, Science
and the Arts. And I’m here to welcome
you to our first of four community forums. We’re here to talk about
a topic that’s critical to the future not only of
the University of Michigan, but also the College of Literature, Science
and the Arts. For almost a year, we as a
community have worked together to write the college’s
five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity
and inclusion. That process involved hundreds
of people across the college, many of whom are
here with us tonight. You all shared your
experiences, your hopes, and your frustrations. You’ve all made suggestions and
provided insightful critiques of past practice and thoughts
about future practice. I’m here to thank you. Your input to date has not
only made the plan better; your hard work and dedication
has made it possible. I appreciate your participation
here tonight, because diversity, equity, inclusion must
be more than a slogan. Now, perhaps more than ever, we
need to embrace the proposition that diversity makes us stronger
and better, and that access, despite the historic barriers
created by inequalities based on race, ethnicity,
gender, socioeconomic status and other forms of social
identity is an essential part of any meaningful DEI effort. This will require
real mechanisms for creating a campus
environment where all students, faculty, and staff feel
welcomed and feel valued, and where everyone is able
to take full advantage of the resources
and opportunities that make LSA the premier
public liberal arts institution in the nation. Today is the first of our
community forums, and our topic, our undergraduate students, and our undergraduate
academic programs. We’ll focus tonight on
those sections of the plan that address this topic. If you’re also interested
in other plan sections, and I sure hope you are, I
encourage you to attend one of the other forums that we’ll
be having later this week, or provide feedback via the web. We have information
all around the room about those other sessions, and
how to provide feedback online. Today’s discussion
is going to be led by my colleague associate
Dean Angela Dillard, who leads the Division of
Undergraduate Education, what I’m proud to call the
first division of the college. Angela and her team, and the
undergraduate education division played a crucial leadership role in pulling together
this aspect of our plan. So Angela, please join me. I’d like to thank you all for
your participation here tonight. I look forward to hearing what
you have to say ultimately to make our plan even stronger. With that, I’ll turn
things over to Angela, and I’ll be back a
little bit later on. [ Applause ]>>Thanks so much. Hi, everybody, thanks
for coming. You know, I thought it was just
going to be me and a couple of people in this big
room all by myself, so it’s really good to see you. So here’s the agenda for
today, what we’re going to try and get through; talk a
little bit about fundamentals, talk a little bit about
the planning process. I’m going to talk about
three big chunks of the plan on access, undergraduate
education initiatives, and inclusive classrooms. Let me also thank upfront
our student readers. So there were a number
of undergraduate students that we reached out to, asked
them to do three things, read the plan, come this evening
and help us talk about it, and then give us their written
feedback via our email address. If you’re one of those volunteer
readers, raise your hands. Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate that. [ Applause ] So here’s what we hope
to accomplish today. We want to share
information about the plan, get your feedback on this
graphic, explore avenues for your own involvement, should
you want to be more involved in the plan, and then hear
about your concerns and ideas. We have a lot of
reasons why DEI matters. Dean Martin talked about a few. Our responsibility as a public
institution is a big one, as well as how central
these kinds of concerns with diversity access,
inclusion, and equity are through the pursuit of
excellence and knowledge for us as an institution,
and a community. We’re really thinking
across different dimensions of diversity, you know,
different identity categories, socioeconomic status,
ability/disability status, gender expression, right? So we really try to kind of — when we thought about the
diversity parts of the plan, we wanted to make sure
that we were thinking as broadly as possible. At the same time, DEI
doesn’t means sameness. Treating everyone
exactly the same way at the same time isn’t always
consistent with DEI principles, especially the principles
that have to do with equity and access. I love this graphic. I think it’s just a nice way of
thinking about the difference that we’re talking about when
we talk about what’s different about equality and equity, and kind of what
equity really can mean, especially from a broader social
justice kind of perspective. Rob Sellers, who’s an
LSA faculty member, and vice provost who’s been
guiding the university-wide DEI effort, has this really
nice way of thinking about what these terms mean. It’s kind of fun too,
because it’s a party metaphor. So, you know, you
have to be invited. you have to be able to attend. Everyone should be able to
contribute to the playlist. And at the end of the day,
everybody gets to dance. Right; so you think about
how these three categories work together. They’re not just three redundant
words run together, right? I think we mean — we’re trying to mean something
particular by each one. We can talk more about
the language of DEI, what’s good about
it, what needs work. One of the things we
ask people to look at in reading the plan was
did we get the language right in the different sections? So that’s a good
thing to keep in mind. Let me talk a little bit
about the planning process; what we’ve been up to. For undergraduate education, we did two capacity building
workshops plan-a-thons. Some of you may have recalled — some of you may have
submitted ideas for that. We collected student-generated
ideas. We committed to putting
some of them in the plan. We tried to identify them in
the draft at various places. There’s also in the
appendix a nice thank-you to the various people
who submitted ideas. So we were really happy to
have that input at that stage from a number of undergraduates and other members
of the community. We also beyond plan-a-thon
reviewed the race and ethnicity requirement
last year. See, it took us all year
to finish this review. It was a serious
attempt to really drill down on this part
of the curriculum. I think the report is great. We’ve been sharing it all
summer since about July. If you want a copy,
just email me. We’re happy to have
that out and about. The CSP Future Set Taskforce, CSP’s Comprehensive Studies
Program, also gave us a lot of material to work with
from the taskforce review from a couple of years ago. The Undergraduate Climate
Committee did a lot of work on sections of the plan. We consulted a lot of unit and program heads
on multiple drafts. A lot of people did a
lot of reading for us, and we are really deeply
appreciative of that. We also have a lot of new
and ongoing assessment work that we’ve been drawing on. And we have the historical
context. I’m a historian, I’m
a political historian, and I specialize in ideology. And we really wanted
to acknowledge in this process the role,
especially of BBUM, you know, to kind of shape this moment
as something that helped to propel what led to the steps
that then led to this moment of strategic planning. In fact, the LSA plan
acknowledges BBUM in introductory section
of our plan, by including some
of those tweets. I mean, we really wanted to have
that voice front and center, because we really want to
acknowledge what that meant on that campus to
get us to this point. Thousands of these tweets are
still available if you just go to the hash tag, BBUM. And it’s really kind of a nice
almost ethnographic source to keep in mind. We have made some progress
to date, right, I mean, we haven’t really
been doing nothing. So, you know, that’s cool. We hired a staff DEI
officer who’s here. Leticia, where are you? Raise your hand. Yay, Leticia. We initiated the Laptop
Loan, which is one of the things I’ll talk
a little bit about. We’re now in the second
year of a four-year pilot. We worked really hard this
year to include DEI criteria in our own C-fundraisers,
which is how faculty and staff get merit raises on
campus, at least in the college. And again, we reviewed the
race and ethnicity requirement. There’s more progress, but
these are some of the ways — and I think it’s
important to keep in mind that this is — it’s
a moving target. Right; so while we were
putting together the draft, we were also trying
to implement some of the things, launch pilots. So there was a lot
going on simultaneously. So let’s talk a little
bit about the plan itself. It has six main sections. Two of the six are dedicated to
undergraduate student issues, the section on access,
and the section on undergraduate
education initiatives. I’ll also touch briefly on the
section on inclusive classrooms, which brings together
undergraduates, graduate students, as well
as faculty considerations. Access is part of
the plan that deals with how students get
to the university. And it’s a major component of the all-university plan
that’s going to be unveiled in early October, in
part because admissions for us is something handled
centrally by the Office of University Admissions,
and the Office of Enrollment Management. So LSA doesn’t directly admit
its own undergraduate class. I mean, you know, we have
a role in the process, and we have our own Office
of Student Recruitment and Scholarship Support,
right, that interacts with these centralized offices. At the same time, we do
want to exert some influence and think carefully about
admissions, recruitment, and retention, and student
support via DEI principles. So this part of the plan deals
with those kinds of questions, not so much admitting the
incoming class, but thinking about the role of
admissions, recruitment, and retention in general. So one strategy for doing this for us has been the
laptop loan pilot. This is also [inaudible]
strategy that’s about trying new things. And I’ll talk a little
bit about as we move along about the different
kinds of strategies that the plan mobilizes. This one is just try
some new stuff, right, have what all the really cool
design thinking people call a bias for action, right,
just throw some stuff out there, see what happens. This is a good example of that. It was launched in Fall of
2015, and launched really not with this kind of
here’s the master plan for what’s going to happen. We just made this
stuff up on the fly. It’s been a really interesting
thing to be a part of. We’ve given away — I’m sorry,
loaned, 250 laptops to date, you know, selective
these students with family incomes
under $50,000. Forty percent of those
students were URM students in the two years that this
has been up and running. One of the things that we’re
trying to do is to think about what’s called
the “digital divide”, access from that point of view. Right; so what do you need to
really be successful on-campus, and what can we do in the
space that’s both recruitment and retention, right,
that kind of, you know, crisscrosses a number of
different things simultaneously. This is a good example of that. We also, in terms of
starting new things, have launched the
LSA Opportunity Hub, which we really are thinking
of as a DEI initiative. And that’s really helpful. Right; so we’re trying to
build something like the hub that helps to prepare
undergraduates in the college to make the most of their
undergraduate education, and then start to prepare
not only for the first job, but for a lifetime in terms
of their career opportunities, to think about building that
with questions of actions and equity built into the
very bones of the thing, we think is really going
to make a big difference. In fact, access is one of
the things that we identify in the vision statement of
the plan right in the front. When we write one of our
highest priorities is to see the top students who come from economically
disadvantaged backgrounds from under-resourced
high schools, from underrepresented
minority groups, and from small rural districts,
have the same opportunities to come to LSA and succeed as
those who come from high schools that offer AP classes,
fully-stocked science labs, and class trips abroad. Right; so what does it
mean, right, to make sure that everybody gets, you
know, some of the same access to those kinds of
benefits, all right, in terms of what they do
here with us as students. We really want to think
that access doesn’t stop at admissions, that it
continues in academic and nonacademic support
for all students so that they reach
their full potential, and then so that we can do
things like close the four- to five-year graduation rate, or
to make sure that everybody gets to graduate having had an
internship, study abroad, access to what’s often called “high-impact educational
practices”. The other component of this
mission statement, Liberal Arts for Life also I think
is embedded in the hub, and what that’s going to
become for the college. It’s a super-interesting,
really cool, really large initiative
that we’re launching. So that’s a little
bit about access. Another big session
of the plan are goals for undergraduate education,
right, so that space, so beyond, you know, how people get here. And I think here, too,
there are multiple goals, multiple programs,
lot of things going on in this section of the plan. It’s one of the largest
sections of the plan, in which we’re trying
to think about a number of things simultaneously. And one strategy that this
part of the plan uses is to double down on what works. Right; so one strategy, right,
is just trying new things, right, just that
bias for action. The other part is, you
know, take a step back, really look at what’s
been working, and then try and build that, all right? So instead of just going off all
of it in new directions, try to, you know, really kind of
cultivate what sits at the heart that we know is working. The learning communities we
think are an example of this. There are a lot of
examples of this. This is just one. The Michigan learning
communities aligned with LSA are some of the most
diverse communities on campus. They’re intentional communities. They’re communities that people
want to join that matters. And we really think
they do a great job at promoting student leaders. Another part of the initiative
that we’re looking at is to be really creative
about questions with undergraduate
programs and access. This is from a really
beautiful campaign CGIS, Center for Global Intercultural
Studies has been running. And this is really interesting. So we’re trying to raise a
lot of money for scholarships, for people to be able
to study abroad, right, transformative experience
for young people. But not everything is
about money, right? So one of the things that
CGIS found is that a lot of people just don’t think
that they’re the kind of person who studies abroad, all right? So this campaign is about
getting people to think about themselves as
people who study abroad across multiple identity
categories. And it’s a really
interesting approach to what we’re trying to do. For me, one of the pressing
parts in terms of moving from the draft that we have now,
to kind of what’s really going to become like the year
one plan is this thing about connecting to departments. And I left it a little blank
because I think it’s a big hole in the plan right now. I think this needs
a lot of work. This takes a lot of time. LSA is huge. That’s a lot of people
to consult to work with, to be aware of, to get them
to then filter feedback. We just didn’t have
time to do this. But I do think that it does
mean that it’s part of the plan that we’ll have to
fill in over the course of the next few years, and
to think carefully about. I think one thing that’s
going to help us with filling in this part is the focus
on transfer students. You know, the crisscrosses across the plan in
all kinds of ways. It’s about access and
admissions, and we do think that we can exert probably
more control in that space than we can in how the
incoming class gets admitted. It — we have to
work with departments to be able to pull that off. We have to create a
transfer receptive culture across the college, right? So we think that’s going
to be helpful, and starting to wed together a
perspective in the plan that really highlights the
strengths of our departments. Inclusive classrooms; these parts of the plans are
really close to my heart. They’ve been really interesting
to be able to have a job like this and to think about
what happens in the curriculum and pedagogy in the classroom,
what we’re already doing well, what we can be doing better. So it’s been a real
honor, I think, to work with so many
other people in these parts of the plan. Again, the irony review,
this shows up a lot, because we just work
so hard on this thing. And, you know, I think that
committee did a great job in reviewing this part
of the curriculum. Some of the things that came
out of the review that we know that we want to commit to
right away, more visibility and clarity for the requirement,
more discussion and dialogue, right, in both seminar classes and in recitation
sections, smaller sections. That one is going to be
a really interesting one. It’s expensive. So we don’t know when we’ll be
able to figure out how to do that part of the plan, but
it’s definitely something that we want to work towards. Experimenting with this part of
the curriculum, accessing IGR to launch a pilot called “RNE
Engagement”, which I know that they are actively
working on. I’ve been talking
to people about how to launch something
called “global [inaudible]” to help people make
sense of that. Those RNA courses that
are non-US, international, global in nature, and
why that matters, right, and why that’s an important
thing to have as part of the offerings of
this requirement. We also have been experimenting with undergraduate
course consultants. I think undergraduates
are a tremendous resource. I think we ought to be tapping
that resource more in terms of instruction and what
happens in the classroom. And then we’re thinking about creating an RNA advisory
committee of undergraduates, which was a student-generated
idea that came out of plan-a-thon. We want to focus on
STEM, especially first and second year STEM education,
you know, kind of what makes for a more inclusive
and more welcoming, and more diverse style
of instruction in STEM? Is it — there’s a
lot of work being done on this in a lot of places. This builds on some work
that’s already happening on our own campus with REBUILD
[phonetic], which is an acronym. But it’s to use a research
evidence-based approach to transforming what
these foundational first- and second-year courses
look like. We’ve also been involved in
a cross-campus effort called “Growing STEM”, which
is to build a pipeline from precollege all the
way through professional and medical school, which
we have the capacity to do on this campus; we
just have to figure out how to coordinate better. We also just today thought
about a kind of onramp into that pipeline
for transfer students, which is a really interesting
thing to think about. So could we help people get
here as transfer students, and then get to medical school, and kind of what
would that look like? We are also thinking
about creating a women and STEM advisory committee. It’s something that was really
strongly-voiced by people in the plan-a-thon process,
and in the other kinds of conversations that we had
with different constituencies as we were putting
the plan together. We also want to promote more
community-based learning. It does a lot for recruitment,
it does a lot for retention, it does a lot for
how people think about their own identities,
their place in the world, how to work with communities. I mean, I really want to find
ways of growing this part of the curriculum, and
these kinds of offerings. We’re also looking at
more resources and rewards for inclusive excellence
in a classroom. Right, I mean, one way
to incentivize something that you want to see — well two
ways, one is to give it a lot of support, and the other is
it to give it a prize, right? And people love prizes, right? We’re really motivated by that. We want to make sure that
we’re using that as strategy. We’re also, again, looking at
student advisory committees, and we’re looking at
ways of using students as partners and allies. And let me pause here to say
that we in no way, shape, or form are saying
that students — especially undergraduate
students, are responsible for fixing climate
problems, diversity problems, and access problems
on this campus. I mean, we really
want to be careful that we are not sending
that as a message. For those students who
do want to be involved in different kinds of
things, we want to make sure that we’re opening up
some opportunities, giving them resources, giving
them guidance and training, to be able to do that well. I think we’re going
to formally ask that all student organizations
who receive college support, and that we work with, do an
internal scan and discussion about whether or not they’re
fully embracing DEI principles in their own practices,
you know, things like how are
you scheduling. I mean, is the way that you’re
scheduling things, is something about how you’re conducting
your org, prohibiting students from being able to fully
participate, you know, to be able to have those
kind of conversations on a regular and serious basis? I know Optimize, which is
one of the students orgs that LSA partners with
has been doing this, and I know a few
of them are here. Raise your hand if
you’re in Optimize; yay. It’s been — you
know, I’ve asked them to talk a little
bit about, you know, when we get to the discussion
about what that’s been like for an org to
try and step back and have those kinds
of conversations. And we want to encourage that. Also, the Undergraduate
Education Climate Committee seeks to operate in a space
that brings together students, professional staff, and
faculty in a variety of ways. Their subcommittee on Student
Leadership and Empowerment has for the past three years
sponsored this late August leadership in action
training for students who work across the division as
peer advisors, mentors, and undergraduate
education division programs, who we want to be able to help
develop resources for them, tools for them, to intervene,
to be thought leaders, to be allies, to be
diversity workers, because they work for us. Right; so we want to be able to
use that as a resource, right, give people training,
build their capacity, help us with some of the
climate issues on campus and at the same time, get
better prepared to enter into neighborhoods, communities, workplaces where you’re
just going to have to encounter the same issues. Right; they’re not
going anywhere. So how do you build the capacity
now to be good colleagues at work, to be good managers,
to be good employers, to be good people who hire and retain people to
be good educators. All right; so they’re
trying to do some of that stuff simultaneously. Let me also say that one of the
things that we talk a little bit about in the plan, especially in the introductory
section, is climate. But you’ll notice
for those of you — and I know you have all
read the plan, right, kind of beginning to end. You know, as you go on, like
the plan really kind of digs down into really pretty
concrete programs, approaches, strategies, and the climate
stuff while it’s there, becomes a little less
focused and central. I think that’s something
that we really want to think a lot about
as a community. I think we want to
know a little more about what the university-wide
plan is going to do in that space. Right; we want to be able to
partner with Student Life, you know, with other
kinds of student orgs across the university to really
be able to think about that. But there’s an intersection
I think here in the parts of the plan that look at the
climate committee and other ways that we’re trying to engage
students, that we hope is going to be that kind of bridge
that we’ll be able to look at the other plans once
they’re more available, and to see where is it that we
can build some real connections, and to really think about
a critical mass role for undergraduates on campus, not only in LSA but
university-wide.

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