The University of Michigan announced the launch of its newest campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, the DEI 2.0 Plan, on Oct. 9. The official launch comes after a yearlong evaluation period and the end of the DEI 1.0 Plan, which lasted from 2016 to 2021.
Tabbye Chavous, vice provost for equity and inclusion and the University’s chief diversity officer, introduced the DEI 2.0 Plan to about 150 U-M community members at an Oct. 18 information session in the Michigan League. At the event, Chavous explained that the next stage will continue to expand and adapt DEI policies to make them more comprehensive over the next five years.
“Our work in DEI 2.0 is doubling down and not backing down on DEI,” Chavous said. “What we do in our next 2.0 journey will impact (the University), higher education and our broader society.”
Chavous said DEI 2.0 is centered around three topics: people, process and products — each with specific campus-wide initiatives to improve DEI at the University.
“People” involves updating the Rackham Merit Fellowship Program to build stronger relationships with graduate programs, converting more Wolverine Pathways graduates into transfer students, implementing a faculty recruitment and retention practice initiative, and partnering with community organizations to increase the visibility and well-being of Native and Indigenous students, staff and faculty.
“Process” includes assessing disability infrastructure on campus and looking for physical improvements that may need to be made to buildings. Under the new plan, the University is already prepared to build a new child care facility on the Medical Campus for Michigan Medicine staff and invest in more affordable on-campus housing options. Chavous said DEI 2.0 entails evaluating the commitment of U-M investors to DEI, establishing additional University sustainability administrators and leading a staff salary equity study.
The “Products” component of the plan entails the establishment of a vice provost for undergraduate education position and a search for an individual who will take on that role. The Inclusive History Project (IHP), which was planned over the past year, will work to examine the University’s past in relation to DEI.
Judy Schabel, assistant dean for diversity at the School of Information, spoke at the information session about implementing universal design, a concept focused on making products and environments usable by all people without needing adaptation or specialization.
“Our goal is to build features and options that meet the needs of a wide range of individuals rather than requiring individuals to request accommodations to be able to view, read, listen or otherwise media being transmitted,” Schabel said. “The goal is to achieve 100% compliance by the end of year five of the 2.0 Plan.”
LSA senior Brooklyn Blevins, speaker of the U-M Black Student Union, attended and spoke at the information session. In an interview with The Michigan Daily after the event, Blevins said she was happy to see tangible, actionable steps outlined in the DEI 2.0 Plan.
“I’m excited that there are seemingly more actionable oriented items in the 2.0 Plan,” Blevins said. “Of course, no plan is going to be perfect and I think there is always room for improvement. But within some of the central action items … it’s so important that they are engaging.”
Daily News Contributor Shane Baum can be reached at email@example.com.