At the University of Michigan, the chief diversity officer’s equity initiatives have been expanded across campus by academic diversity officers who have developed goals for each of the 50 schools, departments and divisions they represent.
Academic diversity officers work on behalf of three constituencies: students, staff and faculty, says Katrina Wade-Golden, the university’s deputy chief diversity officer, who supervises this team.
“These individuals serve as key change agents to point out the priority areas and ensure that traction is being made on strategic objectives,” she adds.
Academic diversity officers guide department heads on a range of strategies, including diversifying recruitment and retention, creating inclusive environments, and conducting climate surveys. With faculty, the officers provide professional development on inclusive teaching practices that engage students with diverse learning styles and identities.
And on the tech side of the spectrum, the officers make sure university websites and other digital assets are accessible to users with disabilities.
Recent university surveys have shown an increasing sense of belonging in departments where employees had reported some of the lowest rates of satisfaction, she says.
“A big positive is the pervasive nature of diversity, equity and inclusion in our environment,” Wade-Golden says. “The very fact that we can go to any corner of this university and say ‘diversity, equity and inclusion,’ and folks know what we’re talking about, that’s a key outcome.”
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Matt Zalaznick is senior writer of UB.