DEI Strategic Plan
SEAS’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Five Year Strategic Plan is comprised of ten (10) sections. The process through which the plan was created included a series of community engagement activities (e.g., a climate survey and focus groups), the outcomes of which are fully documented in the in the plan. Highlights are below.
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Highlights from Climate Survey Students, alumni, staff, and faculty all had the opportunity to share their experiences and opinions anonymously through a survey administered between October 2015 and December 2015. Complete survey results are available in the report.
Students Programming Recommendations Students were most concerned with recruitment, cross-cultural exchanges, and international focus. Respondents suggested making a concerted effort to recruit a wider pool of students over the next five years. Half of those who mentioned recruitment suggested that the school should expand and intensify efforts to recruit domestic minority students.
Alumni Programming Recommendations Alumni were most concerned about infusing DEI content into the curriculum. The second most common suggestion was for more diversity in conferences, forums, discussions, talks, and speakers. One alumnus said, "SEAS does an excellent job preparing students with the "hard" skills needed for success in their professional careers, but unfortunately there are very few opportunities for students to develop "soft" skills (e.g., communication, conflict resolution, and engaging people, as those relate to cultural and other differences) in a formal setting."
Staff Programming Recommendations Sensitivity training and SEAS-wide diversity were the most frequently mentioned. The trainings staff suggested ranged from "anti-racism, ally, and sensitivity training" to "workshop seminars on how different cultures have different needs for environmental work" and "knowing what a good amount of diversity, equity, and inclusion looks like in our building."
Faculty Programming Recommendations Faculty recommendations centered on increasing diversity in the faculty cohort. Student recruitment was the second most common theme. The Provost's Faculty Initiative Program and the Target of Opportunity Program were cited several times as valuable tools for recruiting post-doctoral researchers and faculty of color.
Highlights from the Student Town Hall On January 25, 2016, the DEI Office hosted a student town hall to share the survey results and to gain more input on the plan. Two facilitators from the provost's office led 40 participants through a crowd-sourcing exercise to develop the top 25 issues and recommendations that should be included in the strategic plan. Each participant wrote down an issue and action response on a note card and then over a series of exchanges, each card was rated on a scale of one through five, with five being the highest.
The most highly rated recommendation was for the SEAS to provide more scholarships for low income and minority graduate students. The second highest was "more inclusion of alternate perspectives in curriculum/research/presentation," followed by "there are not enough forums (outside of class) to discuss issues of diversity and inclusion, etc."