We are writing to share our concern and acknowledgement of how challenging, hurtful and difficult the campus climate has been for many of our students. From the voices at the Freeze Out in the Fall to the most recent Speak Out protest hosted by the United Coalition for Racial Justice, we are sadly reminded that this campus community is not as supportive, welcoming or inclusive as we all wish it to be.

In January, University Provost Martha Pollack and University President Mary Sue Coleman reiterated the University’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. We applaud this commitment and look forward to contributing to the discussions necessary to make progress in these areas.

As the directors and senior staff of undergraduate programs across the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, we have been meeting over the past year to identify ways we can improve the campus climate. Our work includes developing new workshops and course modules to help educate students about issues of personal and social identity, inclusiveness and intercultural competency. We are expanding the hands-on diversity training and guidance for our student staff. Our aim is for these students to have greater intercultural sensitivity, group facilitation and problem-solving abilities in their varied roles as peer advisors, study group leaders and mentors. We are enhancing our professional growth through sharing best practices and undertaking the kinds of training we expect of our student leaders and of ourselves. These efforts will help us promote more inclusive and safer learning environments for all students. And we are pursuing collaborations with Student Life to align our support for incoming students and our collective message that we expect and need all students on our campus to foster a community of respect, support and inclusion. Together we hope that these efforts will facilitate academic success and an equal opportunity for students to reach their goals and aspirations in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

In addition, Undergraduate Education, a division of LSA, recently sponsored a workshop series on diversity and climate for faculty and staff. These workshops focused on improving climate in classrooms and related course activities, such as study groups. In May, two additional teaching institutes will highlight best practices for inclusive teaching and learning.

While we occupy a small space on this campus, we are more committed than ever to make sure that all of our programs are safe, respectful, and inclusive and that those who work for us and participate in our programs share and demonstrate this same commitment. We welcome your input on how we can achieve these goals. Please send an email to us at lsa.uged.climate@umich.edu.

Sincerely,

Chris Bass, Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program
Kira Berman, Museum of Natural History
Joe Colangelo, Undergraduate Education
Cathleen Conway-Perrin, Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center and Comprehensive Studies Program
Timothy Corvidae, The Program on Intergroup Relations, Global Scholars Program, and Center for Global and Intercultural Studies
Gregg Crane, Program in the Environment
Adrienne Dessel, The Program on Intergroup Relations
Angela Dillard, Residential College
Monika Dressler, Instructional Support Services
Henry Dyson, Honors Program
Kelley Emerson, Science Learning Center
Julie Evershed, Language Resource Center
Dwight Fontenot, Comprehensive Studies Program
Gayle Green, Honors Program
Sandy Gregerman, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program
Amy Harris, Museum of Natural History
Marjorie Horton, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education
Michael Jordan, Center for Global and Intercultural Study
Tina Kokoris, Lloyd Hall Scholars Program
Carolyn Madden, English Language Institute
Jennifer Maltby, Michigan Research Community
Kelly Maxwell, The Program on Intergroup Relations
Tim McKay, Honors Program
Philomena Meechan, Language Resource Center
Helen Morgan, Health Sciences Scholars Program
Esrold Nurse, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education and Executive Director of the Newnan Academic Advising Center
Catalina Ormsby, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program
Susan Perreault, Undergraduate Education
Susan Rinaldi, Science Learning Center
Robbie Routenberg, Global Scholars Program
Joe Salvatore, Science Learning Center
Claire Sandler, Science Learning Center
David Schoem, Michigan Community Scholars Program
Denise Galarza Sepulveda, Center for Engaged Academic Learning
Angie Shewan, Women in Science and Engineering Residence Program
Carol Tell, Lloyd Hall Scholars Program and Sweetland Center for Writing
Kyle Walton, Health Sciences Scholars Program
Donna Wessel-Walker, Honors Program
Wendy Woods, Michigan Community Scholars Program
Jennifer Yim, Global Scholars Program

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