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Diversity Advisory Council Report
This Report describes the activities and progress of the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) during AY 2011 – 2012 in fulfilling its initial charge to conduct an environmental scan and develop a mission statement and operating procedures. The Report concludes with the DAC's recommendations to move forward in AY 2012 – 2013.
An Exceptional UND aspires to create and maintain a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive campus environment in which difference is valued as a critical element of discovery and learning at a world-class university. To enrich the student learning experience, encourage collaboration, facilitate gathering, expand UND's presence, and enhance the quality of life requires a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Toward that end, President Robert Kelley announced the creation of the UND Diversity Advisory Council (DAC or Council) in December 2010. The President's action followed a recommendation by the former Diversity Advisory Subcommittee of the Council on Campus Climate to elevate the campus commitment to diversity and inclusion through an advisory body reporting directly to the President, and a subsequent joint recommendation to create the DAC by current Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul LeBel and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori Reesor.
The DAC reports directly to the President and is comprised of 15 members (see appendix 1):
- 3 students nominated by the Student Government President
- 3 faculty members nominated by the University Senate President
- 3 staff members nominated by the Staff Senate President
- 3 undesignated members nominated by the Vice President for Student Affairs
- 3 undesignated members nominated by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
In view of the breadth and depth of matters related to campus diversity and inclusion that are particularly germane to the Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, President Kelley appointed Dr. Cara Halgren, the Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, to Co-Chair the DAC with Steve Light, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.
President Kelley's initial charge to the DAC was to broaden, deepen, and invigorate UND's commitment to a diverse, multicultural, and inclusive campus community in keeping with the university's mission and Exceptional UND priorities (see appendix 1).
The President asked the DAC to examine that charge in AY 2011-2012 and to
- create a solid foundation for the work of the DAC by gaining familiarity with existing information about diversity policies, programs, and practices;
- review the charge and recent work of the [former] Diversity Advisory Subcommittee and draft a mission statement for the DAC; and
- develop an initial agenda and operating procedures for the DAC.
In spring 2011, Steve Light engaged key campus leaders, including the Chairs of the University, Staff, and Student Senates, Paul LeBel, and Lori Reesor in a thorough and inclusive process of soliciting interest and identifying nominees to serve a one-year term on the DAC in AY 2011-2012. From those nominees, President Kelley selected fifteen representative students, staff, and faculty from across the UND community, listed below (see also appendix 2).
Co-Chairs & Staff Support
- Cara Halgren (Co-chair), Dean of Students & Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
- Steve Light (Co-chair), Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Vicki Morrissette (staff support), Student Services Officer, Dean of Students Office
- Jeffrey Langstraat, Assistant Professor, Sociology
- Jacqueline Gray, Assistant Professor, Center for Rural Health
- Sagini Keengwe, Assistant Professor, Teaching & Learning
- Madisson Whitman
- Kaitlyn Kelly (graduated December 2011; succeeded in spring 2012 by Kyle Krebs)
- Josh Raynes (stepped down December 2011 due to other commitments; succeeded in spring 2012 by Brent Jaenicke)
- Thomas Brockling, Officer, University Police Department
- Linda Skarsten, Office Manager, Multicultural Student Services
- Janice Hoffarth, Administrative Assistant, Music
- Jane Croeker, Director of Health/Wellness Promotion
- Linda Neuerburg, Assistant Director, American Indian Student Services
- Tony Trimarco, Director, Memorial Union
Provost & VPAA
- C. Carolyn Ozaki, Assistant Professor, Teaching & Learning
- Jo-Anne Yearwood, Program Director/Instructor, Teaching & Learning and University Children's Center
- Phoebe Stubblefield, Associate Professor, Anthropology/Program Director Forensic Science
Fulfillment of Charges
The DAC met biweekly throughout AY 2011-2012 to fulfill its charges in the order listed below.
Mission and Vision (charge 2). After considering how best to fulfill its general and specific charges, the DAC decided its first step was to identify a basic mission and vision as a means to consider the Council's alignment with university mission and priorities, and as a precursor to developing operating procedures. While grappling with the distinction between a vision for the DAC and a campus-wide vision for diversity and inclusion, the Council determined that in addition to its mission, it wished to develop both vision statements, as follows:
Mission: The DAC will broaden, deepen, and invigorate UND's commitment to a diverse, multicultural, and inclusive campus community.
Vision for UND: UND will be a place where everyone is valued for the richness their different abilities, cultures, experiences, identities, and perspectives bring to the University community.
Vision for DAC: The DAC will champion diversity awareness, education, and practice as a continual process for all members of the UND community; advocate for and advance diversity policies, practices, and procedures that are inclusive, clear, explicit, and implementable; serve as a key resource for information, analysis, and strategies related to diversity and inclusion; and facilitate a climate where diversity is not an afterthought but a way of life.
Organizational Structure and Operating Procedures (charge 3). Through careful and thoughtful discussion, the DAC then developed its organizational structure and operating procedures with an eye toward its appropriate roles within and for the campus community. Key elements include:
- Reporting and membership – continue as specified in initial charge
- Leadership – continue with Co-Chairs
- Mission and institutional role – advocate, plan, inform
- Member responsibilities – prepare, attend, participate
- Operation – participation, voting, agenda and minutes
See appendix 3 for a full description of these elements.
Environmental Scan (charge 1). After the DAC generated a list of campus resources as background materials for an environmental scan, it determined that a full scan would be overly time-intensive and therefore prohibitive to fulfilling the DAC's initial charges, so the Council identified nine priority documents for review (see appendix 4). The DAC then performed a SWOT analysis of each document to discuss its specific implications and identify general themes (see appendix 5).
The fulfillment of the above charges, including the SWOT analyses and discussion throughout the year, informed several recommendations for short- and long-term planning and action.
Recommendations for Future Action
Throughout the year, the DAC discussed critical "big-picture" questions that might inform its recommendations or such follow-up steps as identifying national best practices or those at peer institutions. These questions largely revolved around the following basic categories:
- Academic, curricular or co-curricular, and programmatic initiatives
- Campus climate
What follows are the DAC's six overarching recommendations to continue forward momentum in the coming academic year. Each recommendation is followed by bullet points that capture rationales and/or sub-recommendations that inform or flow from the main recommendations.
1. Reconvene the DAC for AY 2012-2013
- DAC demonstrated its efficacy in successfully meeting and exceeding its initial charge
- Reconvene DAC in fall 2012 with invitation to existing membership to continue (successors to be identified as needed)
- Develop new charge that takes into account the DAC's progress, recommendations made below, and evolving institutional challenges and opportunities in the coming AY
2. Consider changing the DAC's name to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council
- "Diversity and inclusion" was used throughout discussions and felt appropriate
- Aligns with national practices
3. Maintain collaborative leadership in the Divisions of Student Affairs & Academic Affairs
- Co-Chair model worked well
- DAC chose to build into recommended organizational structure (see appendix 3)
- Divisions have a particularly strong interest in and responsibility for diversity and inclusion
4. Charge the DAC with developing a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion
- Charge the DAC with engaging in a thoughtful, informed, and inclusive strategic planning process to develop a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion that aligns with institutional mission and Exceptional UND vision
- Proposed broad charge: Identify what diversity and inclusion should look like at an Exceptional UND and create a road map to get there
- Planning process should take into account or incorporate the following:
- UND's mission and Exceptional UND vision and value propositions
- Institution-specific, using criteria of Rankin Report/NDUS Policy
- Environmental scan to identify current objectives, policies, resources
- Annual reports that include information on diversity and inclusion
- Consider whether to authorize and initiate needs assessment
- Unit-level mission and vision, strategic plans, goals, needs
- HLC reaccreditation
- National best practices and practices at peer or aspirational institutions
5. Provide modest additional staff support to the DAC for the strategic planning process
- Environmental scan to inform the DAC's planning process is time-intensive
- Staff support Vicki Morrissette (Student Affairs) was outstanding but has a full-time position split for AY 2012-2013 between the Dean of Students office (50% as a Student Services Officer) and University Counseling Center (50% as a Staff Counselor)
- A dedicated part-time undergraduate student work-study or graduate student assistant could collect and prepare materials, assist with webpage, outside of meetings
6. Authorize the designation of a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) or the equivalent
- UND lacks a point person to provide institutional strategic vision and leadership for diversity and inclusion
- DAC is neither charged with nor capable of serving as a CDO's functional equivalent
- Many if not most comparable institutions have a CDO at the level of the President's Cabinet or Executive Council
- Appointment process takes time and can occur in tandem with strategic planning
- Authorization & visioning
- Position description
- Search/hiring process
The DAC's Co-Chairs commend its members for their strongly expressed interest in and commitment to diversity and inclusion, their thoughtful, respectful, and sensitive dialogue throughout the year, and their dedicated efforts to finding new and productive ways to advance the university's mission and vision.
The first iteration of the DAC more than fulfilled its charge and laid the foundation for critically important institutional advancement in the areas of diversity and inclusion. There is more work to be done to advance UND's mission and the Exceptional UND vision of a more fully diverse, inclusive, and welcoming campus community.