September 15, 2017
Dear Rackham Community,
I am pleased to share this update on Rackham’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan and our collective work toward its implementation. We are now beginning year two of the plan, which was developed in collaboration with Rackham students, staff, and program faculty, and organized around the following objectives:
- High Quality Academic/Professional Environment
- Service, Partnerships, and Collaboration
Highlights from the first year include our ongoing faculty workshops on Graduate Admissions for Excellence and Diversity, the work of the MORE (Mentoring Others Results in Excellence) committee, and our Faculty Allies program, which includes a Student Ally component through which graduate students are selected by Faculty Allies to work collaboratively and receive Rackham support to advance DEI in their programs.
As we continue to build on this progress heading into our second year of the plan, we have identified four priority areas:
- Promoting interactions across campus with minority serving institutions (MSIs) to benefit both U-M and our MSI partners, for which the School recently hired Rackham’s first MSI coordinator.
- A new DEI Professional Development Certificate designed to prepare graduate students to work in a diverse environment while fostering a climate of inclusiveness.
- DEI professional development and intercultural communication workshops for Rackham staff, the first of which takes place later this month.
- Assessment of current DEI-centered practices, and year three and four DEI priority-setting; soliciting feedback and idea generation from the Rackham community to determine how we can best address challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.
All of us at Rackham remain committed to attracting, supporting, and empowering a diverse student body as an essential dimension of excellence in graduate education.
I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the many students and student organizations who have contributed their time, effort, and ideas to the Rackham DEI plan and our work so far. Rackham staff members have also been integral to advancing the plan’s objectives.
As I reflect on the hard work put into the Rackham DEI Strategic Plan, I have news that our DEI implementation lead, Assistant Dean Mark Kamimura-Jimenez, has recently left the University to become an Assistant Vice Chancellor at Texas Christian University. This is a tremendous opportunity for Mark—I congratulate him and wish him well. We will miss his innovative ideas toward making the Rackham community more inclusive, and we have initiated a national search to fill his role.
Associate Dean Robin Means Coleman will continue in her role as DEI implementation co-lead. Congratulations are also in order for Professor Coleman, as she was recently named a Minority Access National Role Model, to be honored in Washington, D.C., at the end of this month.
All of us at Rackham remain committed to attracting, supporting, and empowering a diverse student body as an essential dimension of excellence in graduate education. Thanks to all of you who have contributed your efforts and feedback, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you as we advance our DEI goals. We will provide more updates and announcements as they pertain to our DEI efforts as the academic year progresses.