In June, I sent an email with a request for a “Call to Action” to Deans and Chairs. I asked them to look at their schools and departments, and to communicate to my office action items that they are currently taking or plan to take that will intentionally create a culture of inclusivity. I asked that these actions be repeatable acts that improve the culture of inclusion in their local communities.
Since then, we have received many great ideas. Here are just a few specific examples:
- Create a “Courageous Conversations” space with a trained facilitator to discuss ongoing events related to IDE in our nation and on campus. (Learning, Teaching & Curriculum/Education)
- Develop a diversity statement to P&T guidelines and annual evaluation process. Faculty will now be expected to engage in activities (through research, teaching, or service) that foster diversity and inclusion. (Sociology/A&S)
- Review the comments from all student evaluations for indications of racism or sexism in the classroom. (Animal Sciences/CAFNR)
- Ask faculty and staff to take the Harvard Implicit Bias Survey. (Animal Sciences/CAFNR)
- Have each member of our team take the MU IDE Office’s online curriculum over 10 weeks. We will then use our Friday team check-ins each week to discuss what we are learning and exploring. (CAFNR Communications)
- Look into a peer education program for our student leaders (e.g., FPA, OFS leadership). One offering is here (https://multiculturalcenter.missouri.edu/dpe-programs/), but there may be others from student groups. Our student leaders, some of them paid, are often great representatives of our dept. and can set the tone for other students. (Department of Personal Financial Planning/HES)
- At the end of the Spring 2020, DBS adopted the following hiring policy/evaluation process). We take an entirely new approach designed to eliminate implicit and explicit bias in our hiring. In short, we will adopt blind rubric driven review of candidate three candidate statements: diversity, teaching, and research. These are scored independently and blind to applicant. Based on the scores of these reviews, there is an initial cut made to the candidate pool, only after which are the statements married to the CV and other information of the candidate. (Biological Sciences/A&S)
- We are continuing our One Read Program. Here is what our One Read Program website states: “Over the past several years, our attention has been drawn to events around the U.S. to issues of race and the experience of “otherness.” These issues reflect the challenges of seeing the world from another’s perspective – an imperative skill in the practice of law. While the program is directed towards students, faculty participate also. (Law School)
- Create promotional/marketing videos in multiple languages. We have begun the process of creating promotional videos for our graduate programs and translating them into multiple languages in order to recruit students from other countries and increase our relationship with foreign universities, beyond our two already well established MOU partnership programs (NTNU and BNU). (Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology/College of Education)
- Provide annual travel support for up to five underrepresented graduate students to attend the MANNRS (Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources Related Sciences) National Convention. (Division of Biochemistry/CAFNR)
Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions and your willingness to take a close look at areas that could use improvement. This is an ongoing process that will take collaboration and commitment across disciplines and departments.