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UMich looks to advance DEI in every part of university over next 5 years

‘Process’ goals aim at ‘creating effective systems for reporting bias,’ and ‘establishing dedicated DEI committees and/or roles with new levels of accountability’

The University of Michigan launched a five-year effort to integrate DEI into every aspect of the university and beyond, including through hiring committed faculty, bias reporting, and “de-emphasizing singular Western historical narratives” in an architecture program.

“The University of Michigan’s second five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion will help propel the institution toward a more welcoming, diverse and inclusive future,” according to an article in The University Record, the school’s news website.

The College Fix reached out to the U-M public affairs office and received an email from Director Kim Broekhuizen, who directed The Fix to The University Record article and did not comment further.

The Fix also reached out twice by email to School of Information Assistant Dean for Diversity Judy Schabel, Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Deputy Chief Diversity Officer Katrina Wade-Golden, Provost Laurie McCauley, and Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. None responded.

The DEI 2.0 Plan “launched earlier [in October] after more than a year of planning and community engagement,” according to the news release. The program “provides an opportunity where the 51 units across campus are able to refine their strategic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion work for their students, faculty, and staff.”

U-M Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Tabbeye Chavous said the university was implementing DEI 2.0 in part to “move toward a process of institutional change and global transformation.”

The DEI 2.0 Plan “launches with plans provided by central administration and by the 51 university units throughout U-M.”

The “Goal: People” section of the DEI 2.0 61-page plan states it is committed to building “a critical mass of diverse groups on campus and to provide those groups with vital resources and support.”

Activities and initiatives for “climate building” under DEI 2.0’s goal “Process” include “creating effective systems for reporting bias,” and “establishing dedicated DEI committees and/or roles with new levels of accountability.”

“Process” also involves “Enhancing Religious, Spiritual & Interfaith Diversity on Campus” and “DEI Education and Training Resources.”

The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan plans to accomplish “curriculum reform” as a part of the goal “Product.”

Curriculum reform includes “de-emphasizing the singular Western historical narratives of design education,” and “centering the global South and historically marginalized populations in particular,” among other initiatives.

One DEI 2.0 health and sciences plan alone will cost nearly $80 million, including a $15.8 million investment from the National Institutes of Health and a $63.7 million investment from the University of Michigan, The Fix reported in July. The program aims to “enhance inclusion and equity across the biomedical and health sciences community” and will “address persistent and significant underrepresentation of minoritized individuals and groups,” according to a June article in The University Record.

Vice Provost Chavous is leading the efforts, according to the DEI office website.

Chavous’ husband, Robert Sellers, was vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer during the launch of DEI 1.0, before stepping down in 2021, according to a news release at the time.

The Fix reached out to Chavous and Sellers for comment twice each by email over the past several days. Neither responded.

The DEI 2.0 Plan also states that the program will extend beyond the university.

According to the plan document, DEI 2.0 aims to “enhance the learning experience for students nationwide,” in addition to students of U-M,. Nationwide impact will be accomplished “by encouraging original scholarly research and by establishing culturally sensitive and inclusive pedagogical models that can be replicated at other institutions.”

MORE: UMich botanical garden employs DEI manager

IMAGE: University of Michigan

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Tate Miller is a student at Liberty University studying journalism. She is the founder Thatsasnap Productions, a photography business launched in 2018.