The President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion recommends that the Eastern Michigan University institute the following:
Biennial Campus Climate Assessment developed by an external agency according to specified criteria and implemented through appropriate university offices as designated by the President. Administered on an ongoing basis, this assessment will use mixed methods to measure:
The atmosphere or ambience of Eastern Michigan University as perceived by the campus community, and as reflected in institutional structures, policies, and practices;
The attitudes and values of the campus community members and its leaders; and
The personal interactions and experiences, regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion, that reflect the level of personal safety, value, fairness and respect perceived by all sectors of the university community, i.e., students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
A Periodic Institutional Diversity Audit, administered by appropriate offices as designated by the President, to gather data on the diversity, equity and inclusion profile of all university programs, protocols, policies, facilities, students, and personnel. This data will be a first step in determining the impact of institutional inequity on all phases of university operations, and in developing a path forward toward comprehensive institutional excellence.
The Creation of an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion led by a chief diversity officer reporting directly to the President and sitting as a member of the Executive Council. The office will have responsibility for coordinating diversity, equity and inclusion at Eastern Michigan University. This includes oversight of development and implementation of the Comprehensive University Strategic Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, per Preliminary Recommendation # 4.
DEI is a core plank of institutional excellence in higher education, as in any other complex organization. However, EMU has historically lacked an administrative structure to steward this overarching, cross-divisional strategic imperative.
The CDI recommends the immediate convening of a critical mass of university in-house expertise, to define the scope, responsibilities and operating parameters, and available resources of an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and its administrative head.
A Comprehensive University Strategic Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, informed by the data secured from the Biennial Campus Climate Assessment and the Institutional Diversity Audit. The Strategic Action Plan for DEI will be developed through a process coordinated by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in conjunction with appropriate administrative offices as designated by the President. The plan will include metrics by which to evaluate success in achieving designated DEI goals, as reflected in periodic audits and assessments.
Diversity Impact Analysis will demonstrate how proposed recommendations regarding programming, re-organization, personnel, and budget will affect the pursuit of DEI within the unit in question. Its goal is to address the operation of implicit bias and systemic inequities by creating purposeful pro-active awareness of and integration of the impact on DEI of routine university decision-making. Appropriate offices, as designated by the President, will develop the Diversity Impact Analysis.
An Accountability Driven Performance Evaluation System that includes DEI metrics for all hiring authorities. This will be synchronized with unit or divisional metrics identified in the Comprehensive University Strategic Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. These metrics will be linked to DEI focused themes of the University Strategic Plan. A tie-barred component of the Performance Evaluation System will be DEI training applicable to university staff with hiring or supervisory authority.
Curricular Improvement and Development.
The curriculum focused items of the Black Student Ten Point Plan implies a critique of the effectiveness of EMU’s curricular requirements: that the current requirements do not address, in full academic capacity, the unresolved issues of inequity, marginality and exclusion at EMU or in the greater society. Curricular improvements, scaled to this potential, requires the initiation, support, and leadership of the Office of the Provost, in collaboration with Faculty Senate, appropriate bargaining units, and other appropriate faculty input committees. The process of programmatic improvements should include:
Development of a Masters degree in Africology and African American Studies. This is in process in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the efforts on the part of AAAS faculty and the College Advisory Council (CAC) to review and implement this proposal is commended by the President’s Commission. It is recommended that the proposal, once approved by the CAC, receive full support by the Provost and President for eventual approval by the Board of Regents.
General Education assessment of student learning outcomes for DEI. A widened, cross-cutting scope of GE assessment to include measurable learning outcomes pertaining to students’ acquisition of conceptual and applied tools to recognize and address challenges of pervasive inequities, both on campus and in the broader world;
Inclusion of student representation in General Education Assessment. The General Education Assessment Committee will ensure the inclusion of student voices in the development of cross-cutting General Education learning outcomes, and student participation in developing the metrics devised to measure these outcomes;
A required team-taught, interdisciplinary, interdepartmental undergraduate course on systemic and structural inequity. Offered by each College and supported by the Dean of each College, to foster students’ acquisition of conceptual and applied tools to recognize and address challenges of pervasive inequity, both on campus and in the broader world. The President’s Commission encourages the Deans, and the EMU faculty in each College to consider the feasibility and structure of such a course.
This recommendation recognizes systemic and structural inequities in American life and culture as deeply rooted, difficult to extricate, complex and layered phenomena with multiple points of entry for solutions. It further invites the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, working in conjunction with the Deans, Faculty Senate, appropriate bargaining units, and faculty input, to assess the operational, cost, and contractual aspects associated with these recommendations, and to provide resources and leadership in development
Community Engagement and Transformation
Located in a region that is a microcosm of the challenges of racial and economic inequities in the nation, EMU has engaged these challenges for several decades through various institutes, programs and collaborations. The President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion believes that an even more robust engagement is required. An initiative in this direction would build upon EMU’s tradition in this area and would acknowledge that Eastern Michigan cannot address its DEI vision without simultaneously attending to operating inequities within the county and region.
The process should include a group, bringing together students, faculty, administrators, and community representatives, to assess the various initiatives historically and currently being offered in the community. The goal would be to leverage the university’s assets with a community/regional consortium and maximize transformative impact upon the region, through grants and collaborations. The group should synchronize with the research and community transformation initiatives coming from EMU (e.g. Climate Study, Diversity Audit) Washtenaw County government, local municipalities, higher education, business and the philanthropic sector. This initiative will be led by appropriate university offices as designated by the President.