Eastern Michigan University: The Power and Potential of Individuality

Recognizing that a truly global classroom is contingent on a diverse, equitable learning and teaching platform, Eastern Michigan University has championed its rich history as an institution of opportunity for decades, supporting the individuality and aspirational journeys of students. This is accomplished through the development of relevant, strategic initiatives that represent, embrace, and engage students and staff from diverse groups, backgrounds, and identities to achieve a sense of community and belonging. EMU, one of the most diverse public universities in Michigan with the highest percentage of Black and Hispanic students, is committed to preparing future leaders for the workplace of tomorrow while helping students celebrate their individuality and forge their own paths to meaningful and impactful lives. 
Recently, the success of its Early College Alliance (ECA), an educational program designed to immerse high school-aged students into the post-secondary learning environment, showcased remarkable metrics for EMU and the community. College graduation rates at Eastern Michigan University among Black students in the program are 700 percent higher when compared to Black high school graduates across Michigan.
The individuality, diversity, and distinctive characteristics of EMU's student body are highlighted in a series of award-winning commercials. The spots, called "Come as you Are," are an authentic expression of the deeply personal journey of discovery that EMU students embark on and are a testament to how the University supports each student and their unique passions.

Watch Award-winning "Come as You Are" TV Ad Spots



Part of Our DNA

“Diversity has and will always be part of our DNA and academic community,” said University President Dr. James Smith. “We recognize that a diverse learning environment will not only offer unique perspectives and spark innovation but is key to preparing individuals to succeed in an increasingly interconnected and complex world. For EMU, inclusion is a moral issue, and we want to ensure people from different backgrounds have access to an excellent education that prepares them to thrive and contribute to society.”

U.S. News & World Report named EMU among the three “Top Performers in Social Mobility” of Michigan’s public universities, reinforcing EMU’s core value as an institution of opportunity. The ranking reflects Eastern’s success at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded with Pell Grants -- the vast majority are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000.

Claiming the Culture

Inclusiveness, another of EMU’s core values, is not only reflected in the student and alumni body, but in its skilled faculty as well. The University has a dedicated teaching community with faculty mentors who juxtapose teaching and research to prepare students with leadership skills, technical expertise, social influence, and awareness to handle situations in the workplace.

Being able to holistically bring these entities together with the goal of equitable learning in a supportive environment makes the University unique while preparing young students for their respective roles as global citizens and leaders.

In fact, EMU faculty members are leading the discussion about what it means to have an inclusive campus climate, and how it affects students when we fail. One compelling result of their work is a three-part video series that amplifies student voices to address diversity, equity and inclusion.

Greater Culture Diversity Fosters Greater Ideas

Eastern Michigan University is Michigan's second oldest public university. From its founding as a small teacher's college 174 years ago, today EMU is a major learning and research institution with a distinct mix of comprehensive academic resources and strong community initiatives. The school’s historical legacy, its geographic location in southeastern Michigan, and its institutional strengths help position the award-winning educational institution for 21st century leadership in transforming the region and the nation. EMU consists of a diverse, growing student body with representation from all 50 states and 83 countries.

As president of EMU, Dr. Smith is steadfast in his commitment to furthering cultural diversity and inclusion in the learning environment. Showcasing how innovative academic strategies translate into a competitive advantage for students faced with the challenges of the global marketplace, the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, established in 2017, outlines a robust template to advance diversity, equity and inclusion creating viable systems and structures to transform the ideas to reality.

Innovative Programs & Recognitions

Some of the university’s innovative programs and recognitions, in addition to the Early College Alliance, to further its DEI commitment include: 

  • #AllAreWelcomeHere – a campaign geared towards inviting international students and scholars to fully participate in the EMU community.
  • EMU’s student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) was awarded the 2021-2022 Outstanding Student Chapter designation by the national organization for providing superior growth and development opportunities to student members with a focus on the important issue of diversity, equity and inclusion. More than 200 schools applied for the award and EMU was one of 12 selected.
  • Eastern Michigan University student chapter of National Association of Black Accountants was honored as one of the four best in the country.
  • “Give Rise” campaign - a $100 million comprehensive campaign that provides EMU students with expanded study abroad opportunities and scholarships to support student success, advance programs of distinction, and help high-potential, high-need students excel beyond the classroom.
  • Center for Health Disparities and Innovation Studies Center – a group whose efforts are focused on underserved Asian Americans and other minorities to promote health and well-being.
  • Beibu Gulf University partnership – A landmark partnership between EMU and the Beibu Gulf University in China establishing a joint college of engineering.  This expands EMU’s international footprint and when fully established will enroll up to 1,200 students.
  • Digital resources examining topics of diversity, equity and inclusion to promote best instructional practices are being developed led by the Faculty Senate Task Force on Campus Climate, Race and Diversity, supported by the Office of the Provost and Division of Communications, to promote the best instructional practices.