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Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant

The Rackham Graduate School announces the availability of funding to support diversity in graduate education. Grants of up to $12,000 per year, with the possibility of further renewal, will be available to support diversity innovations in graduate programs—activities that improve climate, retention and completion, academic and professional development, career progress and success for Rackham and non-Rackham graduate students, and alumni engagement.


The Rackham Graduate School values diversity of its students and graduates as essential dimensions of excellence in graduate education. The University of Michigan’s commitment to diversity is long-standing and reflected in active efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in all schools and colleges. For generations, Michigan has been a national leader in producing graduate degree holders who are more diverse demographically, culturally, and intellectually than those from nearly all of our peer institutions. We are proud that our graduates come from all backgrounds and have used their Rackham degrees to build careers and assume national leadership across the disciplines and professions.

The Rackham Graduate School sponsors numerous activities aimed at recruiting and developing an outstanding and diverse student body. We seek to provide intellectual, social, emotional and financial supports so that students from all groups–including those that have been historically underrepresented in higher education–feel welcome and thrive in their studies at Michigan. While the passage of Proposal 2 in 2006 necessarily changed some of the ways in which we pursue this goal, it has not changed our fundamental belief that all students benefit from the rich and challenging experiences and perspectives offered by a diverse student community.

Program Description

The diversity initiatives of the Rackham Graduate School complement the activities of faculty to strengthen the diversity in individual graduate programs and departments. This grant opportunity is designed to support Rackham Faculty Allies, as well as faculty in non-Rackham programs, with interest in building diversity initiatives within their own departments, with their own students and colleagues.

The proposal must describe a set of activities to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts in the areas most relevant to the graduate program (for example, transition into graduate school, academic and professional development, climate, completion, alumni engagement, etc.). This funding can be particularly useful to those seeking seed money to pursue new, innovative ideas. Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grants should focus on support opportunities and climate issues for current graduate students.

At least one Principal Investigator (or primary proposal author) must be a faculty member who has been designated as a Faculty Ally for Diversity for the Rackham graduate program. Non-Rackham graduate programs are invited and encouraged to submit proposals as well. If a proposal from a non-Rackham program receives funding, the program will have to designate a Faculty Ally and inform the Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant program of the designee.

Purview of the Faculty Allies Diversity Grant

Recruitment efforts (for example, prospecting, application submission, evaluation, recruitment, pre-enrollment) are not the purview of the Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant. You can apply for support for your recruitment efforts through the Rackham Recruitment Grant program.

infographic illustrating the purview of the Faculty Allies Diversity Grant

Other Program Information

Programs may apply for one Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant per year up to $12,000 (Rackham Graduate School reserves the right to fund proposals in an amount smaller than $12,000). Grants cannot be used to pay faculty or staff salaries and benefits, or U-M tuition or fees.

For approved proposals, Rackham Graduate School will disburse grant awards at the conclusion of the project/activities. To receive funds, grantees must submit a report on grant activities (outlining how the grant made a difference for students) including an accounting of expenditures. Rackham Graduate School will disburse funds on actual money spent to the P/G designated by the grantee. Funds must be claimed for activities taking place within the proposed grant time frame (i.e., May 2017-July 2018).

Cost-Sharing, Rackham Programs

Rackham programs can apply for funds annually, without cost-sharing, for the first two years. Year two renewal is often likely. We encourage grant seekers to try new, innovative programming in this initial period. In years three and four, proposals should present cost-sharing (2:1, Rackham: Unit). The fourth year will be the final year for a renewal of a proposal.

Cost-Sharing, Non-Rackham Programs

Non-Rackham programs can apply for funds annually, with 1-to-1 cost-sharing. The fourth year will be the final year for a renewal of a proposal.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

  • The fit between the graduate program’s DE&I needs and the proposed innovation or initiatives
  • The likelihood that the proposed innovations will make a significant, lasting difference to students in the graduate program
  • The fit between the proposed innovations and the unit’s academic and research directions
  • Demonstrated commitment of the faculty, program, and department leadership to the proposal, including willingness to share costs and to create structures to support the proposed initiatives beyond the period of the grant
  • Number of students impacted

Proposal Submission

Proposals are due on March 24, 2017. The following required documents must be uploaded as a part of the application:

Narrative (No more than five pages):

  • Summary of the current status of DE&I issues within the degree program, including strengths and weaknesses
  • Detailing of proposed activities, and how the activities will address the particular circumstances of the program in order to strengthen DE&I
  • Outcomes (what does project aim to accomplish?)
  • Explain DE&I goals for graduate students as they pertain to climate, academic/professional development, retention, etc.
  • Evidence of faculty and program commitment to the goals of the proposal
  • Provisions for administrative support of the proposed activities

Budget (One page):

  • Breakdown of activities and costs
  • Commitments of financial support from other sources (cost-sharing), if applicable
  • Total budget amount and how much is being requested from Rackham (maximum $12,000)

Letter of support (One page)

From the department chair, director, or dean with responsibility for the graduate program

Award Notification

No later than Mid-April 2017.