In support of one of the primary commitments in the University of Minnesota’s recently updated systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025, the Board of Regents will discuss at its upcoming September meeting strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion among University staff members. This presentation will be the third in a three-part series, following conversations in February focused on faculty and in June focused on students.
Led by Dr. Michael Goh, the University’s vice president for equity and diversity, Friday’s presentation will share perspectives and strategic insights about how the University is currently approaching its priorities around staff diversity and building an inclusive and welcoming campus for its employees, and what it might consider doing in the future.
Data from 2019 regarding campus climate, taken from a biannual employee engagement survey across the University’s five-campus system, indicates that faculty and staff of color feel more respected as individuals and feel their departments demonstrate a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion than in 2013. Though encouraging, Goh and his co-presenters will emphasize that there is still much work to be done, both at the University-wide level and locally within colleges, units and departments.
As part of that work, the University’s Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) and Office of Human Resources (OHR) continue to explore ways to increase representational diversity through inclusive and equity-focused efforts to recruit, retain and develop underrepresented staff. This work includes ongoing efforts and training to help identify and disrupt individual and systemic implicit biases that can stymie this work.
Similarly, OED and OHR have partnered to establish development programs for supervisors and leadership skill-building aimed at equipping supervisors to support the University’s broader diversity and inclusion goals. Reviewing these competencies as part of the professional development process complements educational programs offered through OED, among them a 10-module course that drew more than 800 University community members over the past spring and summer and will work with more than 1,000 people this fall.
Goh and his co-presenters will also highlight the community-building value of the University’s growing number of affinity groups, staff-led networks that help foster a sense of belonging while also focusing on development opportunities for members, as well as the success and growth of the University’s Diversity Community of Practice (DCoP). DCoP is a grassroots community of faculty and staff that meets monthly to share experience, expertise and discuss strategies for advancing equity and diversity goals at the University. The group has grown more than ten-fold since its inception in 2016 and currently has more than 300 members.
The University’s commitment to this work, as part of MPact 2025, falls under Commitment 4: Community and Belonging. The work to address this commitment includes recruiting and retaining diverse talent, cultivating an inclusive and welcoming campus, advancing understanding and nurturing enduring partnerships.
As part of its September meetings, the Board is also expected to:
For more information, including future meeting times, visit regents.umn.edu.