University Policies, Practices, and Organizational Changes
As outlined in a communication on June 29, 2020, the University's commitment to an equitable and inclusive University community is being expressed through a range of actions. In addition to training and collaborative partnerships and new programs and events, these include the following policy and organizational initiatives.
- Campus climate survey. The University conducted a campus climate survey during the 2020-21 school year, using an instrument that is impartial, valid, and reliable so it can be used repeatedly and within a larger national context.
- Leadership reorganization. Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer Christopher Jones, whose expertise includes civil rights, law, and equal opportunity programs, joined the President’s Cabinet on July 1, 2020; he also assumed leadership of the Office of Campus Diversity and Inclusion and Native Student Programs. Jones is leading the effort to create a University-wide diversity and inclusion plan that includes strategies that focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Anti-racist statement. An anti-racist statement has been created and endorsed by the faculty, administration, and trustees.
- Inclusive strategic plan. The next strategic plan, which is currently being started, will incorporate our diversity, equity, and inclusion work. The senior diversity and inclusion officer (SDIO) will join the strategic plan leadership group, and the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness and Community (UCIC) will be engaged in a consultative capacity.
- Anti-discrimination policy. The University has created a more robust policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This policy is similar to the University’s Title IX policy in clearly outlining the procedures for making a report and the process the University will follow to investigate complaints/reports received.
- Performance evaluation change. Performance evaluations are being modified to include accountability for the advancement of an inclusive and diverse work environment (e.g. “Please assess employee’s commitment to, and what you believe they have done, to make the University more diverse and inclusive.”). Training for supervisors and staff will be provided once modifications are made.
- Hiring procedure modification. Hiring procedures will be revised so candidates are expected to submit a statement about what they will contribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of the institution; this also helps set expectations for our future employees.
- Board member recruitment priority. Trustee recruitment strategies are prioritizing demographics to increase racial, ethnic, and gender diversity over the next three years to keep our University in touch with the needs of all our constituencies and to help hold the Board accountable to those they serve. Additionally, the trustees commit to building a culture of inclusion within the Board.
- Trustee resources and training. Diversity, equity, and inclusion resources and training are available to support members of the Board of Trustees as they work to be more intentional in their critical role in leading an institution that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- Advisory body. The UCIC continues to act as an advisory body to the Cabinet, the Board of Trustees, and the entire University community.