The university will expand Rackham’s Faculty Allies for Diversity program, in which designated faculty allies work within their respective units to serve as graduate student support contacts on DEI issues. As of December 2017, there were 89 faculty allies representing 81 Rackham departments and programs. The future goal is for every Rackham program to designate a faculty ally and include that ally in its DEI efforts around graduate education.

Year Four Progress

During the 2019–2020 academic year, the Faculty Allies Program succeeded in extending its impact despite COVID-19 restrictions. In addition to three in-person workshops focused on building community and creating a network of faculty DEI practitioners, the program hosted two virtual town halls where faculty discussed the effects of the pandemic on graduate students and diversity efforts, and brainstormed concrete, program-level action in the wake of the nationwide protests against systemic racism and police violence. Faculty Allies also awarded 37 diversity grants totaling nearly $335,000 to faculty and students across campus.

Faculty allies (FA) serve as key contacts for DEI issues in graduate education within their respective departments—participating in DEI workshops, mentoring graduate students, and playing a vital role in raising awareness and marshaling resources to address issues of inclusion and climate in their programs. Rackham offers support in the form of workshops to discuss best practices for and challenges to DEI work; resource and information sharing on DEI issues; inclusion in Rackham Program Review meetings; and the opportunity to apply for a Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant of up to $12,000 per year on behalf of their graduate program.

During Year Four, Faculty Allies for Diversity hosted three in-person workshops and, due to COVID-19, two virtual town halls. At the in-person sessions, faculty had space for open dialogue, sharing of successful FA grant activities, and exchange of program-level best practices for student success and increasing student diversity. Virtual sessions provided venues for discussing the effects of the pandemic on graduate students and DEI efforts, and for brainstorming concrete, program-level action in the wake of the summer’s protest movement against systemic racism and police violence.

For the 2020–2021 Faculty Allies and Student Ally for Diversity Grant competition, Rackham received 39 proposals, a slight increase over Year Three. Of those, 22 were Student Ally (SA) applications. A total of 37 programs were awarded funding. Each program’s proposal was amended because of COVID-19 budget and spending restrictions, resulting in $242,944 allocated for FA grant activities and an additional $91,650 for SA grants.

Grants were awarded to both Rackham and non-Rackham programs, including Architecture, Cell and Developmental Biology, Chemical Biology, Combined Program in Education and Psychology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Educational Studies, History, Mathematics, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, Ross School of Business, School of Music Theater and Dance, Social Work and Social Science, and Sociology, among many others.

Responsibility: Rackham Graduate School