To the University Community,
Over the past five years, the University of Michigan community has united around the values of diversity, equity and inclusion: Our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to DEI. We cannot be excellent without being diverse in the broadest sense of that word, and we must also ensure that our community allows all individuals an equal opportunity to thrive.
Thanks to our initial Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the efforts of
thousands of individuals past and present, these values are built into our decision-making and the work we do in units all across our campus. This spans all that we do—teaching and learning, research, patient care, budgeting, hiring, student recruitment and campus events, activities and service. We’ve also achieved a goal expressed even before the development of our Strategic Plan, as our community has engaged in an ongoing and long-term dialogue on diversity for our campus to best fulfill our public mission.
Nationally, we have embraced changes that seek to address disparities that lead to
underrepresentation in science and called for bipartisan solutions that would let all qualified
students pursue their educational dreams at U-M regardless of immigration status.
While we recognize that our aspirations to perpetual excellence as a university are indivisible from DEI—and this report describes many of our specific accomplishments—we also know that our journey is far from complete.
As a venerable public university, we have a special responsibility to serve all of humanity. Diversity is essential to our scholarly endeavors, strengthening our impact and our intellectual power. U-M has always embraced taking on the biggest problems facing our society and creating lasting change. The challenges before us are complex and urgent.
The parallel pandemics of structural racism and COVID-19 have further exposed hate, divisions and inequalities in our society. Differential health impacts, violence and murder against Black and Brown people because of race, anti-Asian acts and rhetoric, Islamophobia, and antisemitism are among the many challenges that demand our attention as a top public university and a community that strives to be welcoming to all.
We’re also examining policies and procedures that unintentionally may have disparate impacts on groups and continuing to enact changes to prevent sexual and gender-based misconduct and transform our culture to reflect the core beliefs of our community.
Before we launch our next strategic plan, we are taking time to listen and assess what worked and what didn’t, where we may need further investments, and what we need our next plan to include. Next October, we’ll share findings from this evaluation period.
We will continue to advance our DEI values in the coming year, as well.
To make our university a better place today, we will examine the racism and lack of inclusion that has been part of our past, including actions that were taken and structures that caused harm to groups in our community. Many of these factors continue to influence U-M, generations later, and a fuller reckoning will help to make us a more equitable and inclusive campus and steer our direction in the future.
The Anti-Racism Initiatives launched by our Provost’s Office will move forward, including the faculty hiring initiative and implementation of many recommendations from the Advancing Public Safety at the University of Michigan Task Force.
Our DEI leads in campus units will also remain engaged over the next year. Their outstanding work has made our university better in all facets. I appreciate their considerable efforts and the valuable feedback they’ve provided, and their insights will be crucial to the development of DEI 2.0.
I want to also take this opportunity to thank Dr. Robert M. Sellers, U-M’s first chief diversity officer, who is stepping down from the post in summer 2022 and returning to our faculty. The successes of DEI 1.0 would not have been possible without his commitment to broad collaboration, his tremendous dedication to making U-M a better place for all, and his steadfast leadership that has inspired a university community of more than 100,000 individuals. I have very much appreciated his friendship, wise counsel and tireless advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Thank you, Rob, and thank you all for your outstanding work on behalf of our great university.
Mark S. Schlissel