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11-Step Anti-Racism Action Plan: Current Status and Plans

Originally published Nov. 10, 2020

Each of the 11 “anti-racist” action items first announced on June 15, 2020, is unique in terms of scope, expected level of effort, individuals or groups who will need to be involved or consulted, the length of time needed to make measurable progress, resources required, the metrics that will need to be tracked regularly, and more. While the particular paths to be developed for the items will be unique, we will track progress for each item and communicate to the campus community twice per year.

Each of the “accountable teams” named in the June 2020 letter to the community submitted a report by the end of September, and the brief summaries below provide insight into the status and plans for the 11 action items. Many people from across the institution will need to be involved in the development of specific plans and their implementation, and those administrators named as accountable will be reaching out to build inclusive teams. In addition, the University Inclusive Excellence Council will serve in an important advisory capacity as the action steps are advanced. Anyone interested in contributing to a particular area is encouraged to reach out to the named convener to discuss possible inclusion on the core team or in support of the overall effort.

Please note that these actions are steps in our journey toward becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive university. These actions are aimed at deep, structural change that, over time, have the potential to transform the systems and structure of the University in anti-racist ways. We appreciate that these are not quick fixes and that it will take time for the effects of these steps to be seen and felt. As we continue striving toward becoming an anti-racist university, we welcome the involvement of faculty, staff, and students in any of these initiatives. 

1. Faculty/staff learning and the role we each must play to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at UD

Vice Presidents Burnley (convener), Fitz, and Washington; Provost Benson, University Inclusive Excellence Council

The path to becoming an anti-racist university requires faculty, staff, and administration who recognize that diversity is inextricably linked with the University’s excellence, and that inclusion and equity are cornerstones of our Catholic and Marianist values. We set the expectation of a purposeful, thoughtful, and appropriate engagement in professional development for all members of the UD community in the areas of intercultural competence and equity-mindedness. Work is underway toward the following timelines:

  • By July 2021
    • Develop content highlighting the relationship between UD’s Catholic, Marianist identity and mission and our commitments to inclusive excellence and becoming an anti-racist institution.
    • Test and assess delivery and impact of this introductory educational content with select groups of UD employees.
    • Identify the themes and topics around which deeper professional development and educational content will be designed for employee participation, and identify the appropriate professional development resources for different employee groups.
    • Introduce the new professional development and education requirement for all employees noting that engagement will be addressed as part of annual performance reviews.
    • Develop the method of tracking engagement and set expectations for annual reporting by department/unit/division leadership.
  • By June 2022
    • Achieve 100% participation of new employees hired during the 2021 – 22 academic year.
    • Achieve 85% participation of current UD employees at the introductory level, with 50% engaging in deeper professional development.

2. Student learning through curricular and co-curricular vehicles 

While separated below, the curricular and co-curricular vehicles to advance learning on diversity, equity, and inclusion are ultimately part of an integrated approach driven by faculty and professional staff that can best prepare our students and graduates to succeed in a diverse world that increasingly requires intercultural knowledge and skills.

2a:  Curricular

Academic Senate President Picca (convener), College of Arts and Sciences Dean Pierce, Assistant Provost for Common Academic Program Pautz

Student learning on diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to prepare students to live in an increasingly global and diverse society, and is a cornerstone of the Catholic, Marianist charism.  Individual units, departments, programs, and faculty have accomplished significant work over time. A key deliverable for this action item is coordinating efforts and building the capacity to scaffold DE&I efforts in the classroom. For example, the coordinators for first- and second-year Common Academic Program (CAP) requirements (e.g., Humanities Commons, CMM 100, SSC 200) and the inaugural CAP Diversity and Social Justice coordinator have begun conversations about ways to coordinate and collaborate. Critical to the success of curriculum efforts is engaging with co-curricular partners. Expanding upon conversations that have taken place in the College of Arts and Sciences, further conversations will take place during the fall semester with the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center (MEC), Student Development, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, and the deans of the professional schools. In Spring 2021, CAP, Senate, and the College will host a series of sessions designed to spotlight opportunities for deeper engagement with DE&I. Because effective curricular work takes time and thoughtfulness, this step will require long-term planning and sustained conversation with faculty across the University. 

2b:  Co-Curricular

Dean of Students Schramm (convener), Associate Dean of Students and MEC Executive Director Allen, Associate Provost for Global and Intercultural Affairs Anderson, Vice Presidents Wilson and Fitz, and Campus Ministry Executive Director Sullivan

In the fall of 2017, students who observed and encountered bias incidents on campus as well as representatives from Black Action Through Unity (BATU) brought forth to the Division of Student Development the request for entry-level education on topics related to diversity and bias at UD. Through the leadership of the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center during 2018, students developed a diversity/bias module and launched it in July 2019. The UDiversity module is now a requirement for all incoming students and available as a PATH-eligible module for all other University of Dayton students. In 2020-21 and each year thereafter, an assessment of previous efforts will be completed, and the UDiversity module will be revised as appropriate, including the addition of questions or scenarios to deepen student understanding and provide more opportunities for assessment of learning. In addition, in-person UDiversity Chats and Diversity Peer Educator Chats will continue to be refined to engage students in intergroup communication related to the module, thereby further developing competence and critical thinking around UDiversity concepts. 

3. Continue building capacity for leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Pierce (convener), Associate Provost for Global and Intercultural Affairs Anderson, Vice Presidents Burnley and Fitz, Campus Ministry Executive Director Sullivan, Provost Benson

As noted in the original letter introducing the Action Plan, there are numerous existing opportunities to build capacity for dialogue around the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This action item focuses on two such initiatives that can add value if they are expanded: Courageous Conversations and the Dialogue Zone. The President’s Cabinet has engaged in Courageous Conversations for two years, and has found that this combination of guided reading and sharing of personal narratives is a powerful way to expand individual capacity for discussing challenging issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and enhancing the understanding of difference and its value to the UD community. During 2020-21, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will work with the president’s office to extend the Courageous Conversations model to the larger (34-person) President’s Council that also includes deans, associate provosts, and other senior administrative leaders. The President’s Council Courageous Conversations will be launched during Spring 2021, and a plan will be developed to extend this vehicle to additional leadership teams for Fall 2021.

In its first year of development, the Dialogue Zone has proven to be an invaluable cross-University venue for structured dialogue across differences with participants from all corners of the University. The natural evolution of the Dialogue Zone will proceed based upon ongoing assessment and engagement of additional faculty and staff in its programming. It will be useful to focus on some clear actionable advances, including:

  • President’s Council members will encourage greater participation in Dialogue Zone programs planned for 2020-21.
  • President’s Council members will work with Dialogue Zone leaders to explore additional ways to link existing programming to the Dialogue Zone.
  • Greater student participation in the Dialogue Zone is desired, and focused efforts will be made to engage student leaders, including through Student Development, Campus Ministry, Student Government Association, and more.
  • A sustainable staffing and budget model will be developed for the Dialogue Zone that allows for growth while preserving the broad faculty/staff engagement model.

In all of these initiatives, it will be critical to ensure that all perspectives are welcome on issues discussed in the Dialogue Zone and that the dialogue remains respectful at all times.

4. Strengthen efforts to diversify the student body

The University is carefully reviewing the June 2023 SCOTUS decision on affirmative action and how this might impact this section of our anti-racist plan. Updates will be provided as necessary.

4a: Undergraduate Student Body

Vice President Reinoehl (convener)

The Division of Strategic Enrollment Management (EM) is central to the achievement of a more socioeconomically and racially diverse undergraduate student body. As such, a cornerstone of this effort is to ensure that the division maintains an organizational culture of inclusive excellence that each staff member embraces and demonstrates. A range of individual and group initiatives are being employed that will best prepare the staff to identify, recruit, and support a diverse student body, including mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion education; anti-bias and anti-racist education for new staff members; and the development of a forum for division staff from underrepresented groups including time with the vice president. In addition, key performance indicators for diversity will be tracked in each department, including at each point along the admissions process (applications, admits, enrollees) and for the division’s service functions.

The division’s measurable goals for Academic Year 2020-21 include:

  • All EM staff will participate in at least four learning opportunities provided by the Inclusive Excellence Academy, and the division will complete the unit-level diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning process by August 31, 2021.
  • EM will achieve at least 24% (vs. 22.8% in 2020) of the Fall 2021 admitted first-year, first-time undergraduate student pool from underrepresented racial/ethnic populations. 
  • The vice president for strategic enrollment management will work with UD’s executive leadership team and the Board of Trustees to determine and meet the Fall 2021 racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity targets within the first-year class, including enrolling at least 40 new Flyer Promise Scholars.
  • EM will work with other units to advance “new channel strategies” that will further enhance the socioeconomic and racial diversity of the undergraduate student body, specifically: 
    • Update transfer/CAP credit policies and implement a real-time process for review and acceptance of transfer credits, reducing service delays, inequities, and biases that exist in the current processes.
    • Identify needs and support efforts to re-allocate academic unit-based resources to support the UD Sinclair Academy, a growing pathway to UD that includes greater compositional diversity.
    • Establish the initial academic pathways that will comprise the core of new academic partnerships following the UD Sinclair Academy model. 

4b: Graduate Student Body

Associate Provost for Graduate Academic Affairs Anloague (convener) and School/College Deans

In concert with the academic units during the 2020-21 academic year, Graduate Academic Affairs will conduct a deep self-study of current practices, policies, and procedures that may systemically hinder accessibility to graduate education at UD for racially diverse populations. This will include taking inventory of diversity metrics across programs, identifying past and current efforts used to recruit students from diverse populations, and then assessing which of these initiatives have been effective and could be replicated elsewhere within UD (articulation agreements, MOI’s, bridge programs, etc.). Focus groups and/or surveys of current graduate students will be conducted to understand factors that may help in recruiting, supporting, and retaining graduate students from racially diverse backgrounds. 

The associate provost for Graduate Academic Affairs will also lead an effort to create additional accessible pathways to graduate study for students from diverse populations. This may include both traditional graduate degree programs and alternative paths such as certificates and credit-bearing opportunities that offer a variety of credentials, micro-credentials, bootcamps, short courses, course stacks, etc. The considerably higher racial diversity in UD’s online programs demonstrate that such alternative pathways may provide the kind of flexibility that a more diverse graduate student body requires. Pathways, accessibility, and mode of delivery will be studied to understand which strategies may improve the recruitment of racially diverse students. Finally, the associate provost and deans will identify specific diversity metrics during the 2020-21 academic year that will enable the tracking of progress across UD’s graduate programs, just as is done at the undergraduate level.

5. Faculty, staff, administrator diversification

Vice Presidents Washington (convener) and Burnley, Associate Provost Roecker Phelps

The key deliverable for this action item during the 2020-21 academic year is the hiring and onboarding of a key staff position that will enable the University to be more proactive and successful in building more diverse pools for faculty, staff, and administrative searches and to help support key hiring initiatives that will diversify our academic and non-academic units. The action item will be led by the named administrative leaders and select members of the Working Group on Hiring and Advancement for Diversity, Inclusion, and Mission that reported out in Summer 2018, who will first work together to inform the duties and responsibilities to be included in the description of the proposed position. A proposed position description, reporting relationships, and search plan will be presented to senior leadership by December 1, with a March 1 target date for hiring (assuming a strong candidate pool and a successful search). Before the end of the academic year, the selected candidate will be on-boarded and acclimated to the campus community, and will begin actively working to support the work of hiring authorities and search committees in developing and implementing strategies to aggressively increase diversity and equity among faculty, staff, and administrators. 

6. Continue to build a climate of safety

Vice President Fischer (convener), Chief Kidd, and Vice President Recker

The UD Department of Public Safety is pursuing four specific action items to continue building a climate of safety for people of all identities on the UD campus. These are:

  • Engage in assessment and improvement to obtain the Ohio Collaborative Law Enforcement Certification, which has standards developed by people representing the community and law enforcement that focus on force, bias-free policing, community engagement, telecommunication training and investigation, hiring and recruitment, body camera use and vehicle pursuits. The Ohio Collaborative is focused on improving community-police relations and finding solutions to the tensions and concerns that exist between community members and the police that serve them. The initial application has been submitted, and a determination will be made by June 2021 if UD will be certified; if so, work must be done to recertify every four years.
  • In June 2020, UD Public Safety officers began the Certified Campus Protection Officer Course offered by the National Association of Campus Safety Administrators, which includes sessions on mindset in policing, tactical communication, policing the bridge between cultures, and diversity.  All UD police officers will complete this course by December 2020 and maintain compliance.
  • Led by Chief Kidd, UD Public Safety will continue working with the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center to co-facilitate training, open discussions, and educational opportunities to strengthen relationships between Public Safety and underrepresented student populations.
  • UD police officers and their leadership will continue to interact with the broad campus community to create an intentional environment for all to share identity experiences and affirm one another. UD Public Safety will work closely with a full range of campus partners — including Student Government, Center for International Programs, Housing and Residence Life, and UD Public Safety Advocates — to maintain relationships and be seen as a resource for every member of the University community.

7. Deploy University marketing and communications assets to support diversity, equity, and inclusion

Vice President Wilson (convener)

A key enabling factor in this action item is the diversity audit of our University Marketing and Communications assets and products done during 2020 by an external vendor with deep experience. In the current year, key findings from that audit related to deployment of resources and faithful representation of the UD community will be implemented. University Marketing and Communications will also strive to accurately and intentionally cover and represent all forms of diversity in the UD community by amplifying a variety of voices and telling a range of stories. A dashboard will be further developed that tracks key metrics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will help identify the impact of the work being done. Finally, central marketing and communications will support offices across campus with marketing resources and best practices related to diversity.

8. Strengthen connections with Black and other alumni of color

Vice President Howe (convener) and President Spina

The central objective in this and coming years is to enhance the connectivity of more Black and other alumni of color to UD for the benefit of current students and the alumni themselves, which ultimately benefits the University as a whole. Current and future students benefit from networking opportunities, by learning the history and stories of previous generations of students of color, and through the philanthropy and volunteer leadership of alumni of color. The alumni benefit from the digital and in-person opportunities increasingly being provided to UD alumni around continuous learning, networking, and professional engagement. In the 2020-21 year, University Advancement will continue to build on recent progress made in direct outreach to Black alumni, including through the efforts of the new Senior Associate Director of Development, Diversity, and Access Initiatives; the enhanced support provided to the Black Alumni Affinity Group; and tentative plans being developed for a Black Alumni Reunion in Fall 2021. The vice president for advancement, the president, and other administrators will continue to lead efforts to ensure representation of Black alumni and other alumni of color in key places of volunteer leadership, including the Board of Trustees, unit advisory councils, the alumni association board and other alumni leadership positions, peer-to-peer ambassadors, and more. Key metrics will include the number Black and other alumni of color who engage regularly with UD and our students as well as the number in volunteer leadership positions (with a special focus on ensuring that there is appropriate representation on all key leadership groups).

9. Make marginalized histories visible

Vice Presidents Wilson (convener), Krysiak, and Burnley; Dean Webb

This group recommends developing a working group, similar to the Public Art Review Committee (and with a linkage between the two groups), and charging it to look actively for opportunities to make more visible the contributions of our underrepresented populations and their presence in our community today. This group (with a name to-be-determined) should have membership from current members of the campus community with under-represented identities (e.g., MEC, LGBTQ+, Women’s Center), the Archives/Library, Facilities, University Marketing and Communications, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, faculty whose work is tied to underrepresented communities, and an alumni relations representative. This new working group will begin by performing a historical analysis of diverse alumni, faculty/staff, and community members to develop an understanding of individuals, milestones, or events that could be considered for recognition or identification over time. 

Three projects already under development illustrate the types of opportunities that can be utilized to enhance the visibility of people with marginalized identities:

  • A plaza that recognizes the identity and history of the traditional “Divine 9” African-American Greek organizations at UD.
  • An acknowledgement of the indigenous lands on which UD is located that could be included in some formal University ceremonies.
  • The installation of a UD timeline on the second floor of St. Mary’s Hall that recognizes key milestones and individuals across the history of the University, and that will be fully representative of identities at the University historically and today.

10. Work with the Dayton Black community

Vice President Burnley (convener), Provost Benson, Executive Director of Campus Ministry Sullivan, Director of the Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Lewis, Interim Executive Director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community Pair, Manager of the Greater West Dayton Incubator Marshall, Director of SBA Community Engagement and D, E, I Sweet 

Beyond the many faculty- and staff-driven engagements with the Dayton Black community, UD leadership is now in the fourth year of an ongoing, regular dialogue with the Black community centered in West Dayton. This effort at mutually beneficial dialogue and action has led to a variety of new relationships, productive conversations, and the first tangible fruits of these relationships in the realization of the Greater West Dayton Incubator (GWDI). The high-level objectives for this action item for 2020-21—all done with representation of Dayton’s Black community—include developing a stronger, trusted “structural governance” model for what is called the UD-Greater West Dayton Conversation; developing an operational framework to drive these efforts through an anti-racism lens; and identifying additional mutually beneficial projects that can engage UD faculty and students.  More broadly, an effort will be made to develop a method to identify, track, and report on the ways that UD engages with Dayton’s Black community.  On the GWDI project specifically and with the advice and counsel of the steering committee and the GWDI Advisory Council, an interim physical location will be selected and in development within the first half of 2021, and progress will be made on fundraising and development of initial incubator programs ranging from education through business actualization.

11. Expand UD’s utilization of local minority and women-owned businesses

Executive Director Harrison (convener), Associate VP Madden, Executive VP Horner, VP Burnley

Considerable work has been done in Business and Administrative Services over the past four years to provide the structure, systems, and leadership to enable UD to expand our utilization of women- and minority-owned businesses, with an emphasis on locally-owned enterprises. Currently, an all-University Procurement Advisory Council is being established that will further create the conditions to support the work to be done in this action item. The specific next steps are to support the Executive Director of Procurement and Payable Services, in identifying additional minority-owned businesses with which the University can partner. The primary goal by January 2021 is to have enough information about UD spending needs and the local business context to establish 3- and 5-year goals for the percentage of UD’s available spending that will be done with women- and minority-owned businesses. 

In addition, Procurement and Payable Services will work through the Inclusive Excellence Academy to create and offer supplier diversity training for all campus requestors. The University “Procurement for the Common Good” scorecard will track local spend for all relevant minority- and women-owned business metrics. In addition to what are fairly typical supplier diversity goals, the University will focus on sustainability metrics through the lens of the UN Global Compact. Supplier Diversity is considered a component of Sustainability Development Goal #8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.