Office of the Provost

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Click here to see the University's strategic plan on the DEI Website


Five-Year Strategic Objectives, Measures and FY20 Actions

I. Diversity Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan: Overview

At the University of Michigan, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is
inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

President Mark S. Schlissel                           
Charge to the University of Michigan Community                           
Fall 2015                           

Goals: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity: We commit to increasing diversity, which is expressed in myriad forms, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status, and political perspective.

Equity: We commit to working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment, and discrimination. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.

Inclusion: We commit to pursuing deliberate efforts to ensure that our campus is a place where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard and where every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We know that by building a critical mass of diverse groups on campus and creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage the resources of diversity to advance our collective capabilities.

Rationale: Mission, Vision, Values of the Office of the Provost

The Office of the Provost leads academic affairs across the Ann Arbor campus. Its mission is to ensure that the University of Michigan, as a whole, can fulfill its mission “to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving, and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.”

The work of the Office of the Provost impacts faculty, students, and staff at the University. The vice provostial areas indicate the breadth of responsibilities handled by the staff in the Fleming Building: academic affairs, budget, diversity, equity, faculty affairs, global and engaged education, inclusion, and space planning.

Each of these areas offers opportunities for work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As befits a central office in a decentralized institution, much of the work done in the provost’s office supports the work of the schools, colleges, and other academic affairs units. With deep knowledge of and experience with University of Michigan policies, procedures, and practices, the staff in the Fleming Building assist the schools, college, and academic units in areas including budgeting, faculty recruitment and retention, international and community partnerships, leadership development, relationships with community colleges, student recruitment and retention, and use of space to support academic excellence.

II. Implementation Highlights and Planning Process Used

Implementation Leads Additional Key Contacts
Kimberly Brown Christine Gerdes
Crystal Flynn Erin Fluharty
Tyne Lucas

Year Three Implementation Summary

Year three of implementation was the first year we had the benefit of an entire year of structured meetings with leadership. We found this helpful in keeping leadership apprised of our progress and checking in on action items that are owned by leadership. Leadership support is necessary in moving forward on action items that require procedural/structural changes. It also continues to be a key factor in the engagement of staff at all levels.

In year three, we had three major focuses: 1) addressing findings in our unit climate survey results; 2) offering a wide array of DEI activities at a regular cadence; and 3) increasing participation in DEI activities, particularly with Vice Provosts and Associate/Assistant Vice Provost level staff. We were able to begin addressing our climate survey results and we more than doubled the number of DEI learning opportunities by offering or promoting a DEI event every month during the academic year. Overall, engagement is still a struggle; however, it was encouraging to have greater participation from the Associate/Assistant Vice Provosts and a slight increase in participation amongst all staff.

In our efforts to engage staff, we scheduled most events during the lunch hour, which has had some success in the past; we sent email “save-the-dates” and formal invitations with several follow-up reminders, and we scheduled some events during our senior leadership meeting times to increase the likelihood of their availability. While we did experience a slight increase in staff participation but there is still opportunity for improvement.

To address the need for improving participation, we plan to focus year four on facilitating a deeper level of commitment by the Provost, Vice Provosts, Special Counsel to the Provost, and Chief of Staff/HR Director. There must be a paradigm shift in the prioritization and expectations connected to the DEI initiative in order to make meaningful changes to the culture within the Office of the Provost. That shift should begin with leadership.

Year Two Implementation Summary

In year one of implementation we identified several challenges that impeded engagement of staff within our office. Primary to those challenges was the lack of a strong connection of leadership to the unit’s DEI plan and related activities. Therefore, in year two we specifically focused on reaching out to leadership and stressing the importance of having their support and visibility connected to our DEI efforts. It was particularly important to have leadership encourage the participation and engagement of senior level staff. Having two key leadership positions filled was important in activating leadership and developing deeper engagement. Although this was positive progress during year two, it happened late in the year given the timing of hiring. Despite this stalling of efforts in the early part of the year, the impact of leadership support was immediately evident and allowed us to gain great traction and momentum in the latter part of the year.

Engagement of senior level staff and time constraints for all staff continue to present some barriers. However, we are encouraged by having leadership at the table to brainstorm ideas for how to address these barriers and increase participation in DEI-related events at the unit level and across campus.

The establishment of the Provost office DEI Newsletter has also given us another avenue to communicate with staff and create awareness about DEI events happening across campus and within our unit. Also, the establishment of weekly DEI lead touch base meetings and monthly touch base meetings with leadership creates dedicated time to review implementation progress, plan engagement activities and develop ideas to address challenges/barriers.

Year two implementation had a slow start but is closing out very strong. We hope to carry this momentum forward for a stellar year three.

Year One Implementation Summary

Year one was a year of learning for the 2016-2017 DEI leads. The challenges that were identified during the planning process proved to be barriers to completing the planned action items. Time constraints for the leads made it difficult to develop extensive communication strategies and plan unit level events. Similarly, staff had difficulty finding time to participate in DEI related events and activities. The siloed approach to staff meetings was also identified as a barrier. Leadership and support staff meet separately and the DEI leads do not have access to leadership meetings. This made it difficult to engage all levels of the staff.

Given the many challenges, there were things that did work well. Having a small staff made it easy to communicate and encourage participation. The leads used this to their advantage by speaking face-to-face with each member of the staff to encourage attendance at the DEI Strategic Plan Launch event to encourage participation in the All Staff Climate Survey. This proved successful with approximately 60-70% staff attendance at the DEI Plan Launch and 82.3% participation in the All Staff Climate Survey. Hosting unit level events over the lunch hour also worked well, particularly with support staff. The DEI leads met with other DEI leads and joined the Fleming Building DEI Committee, which was established to collaborate, share best practices, and produce DEI events aimed at building community across units within the building. Because many of the leads on the Fleming DEI Committee are in units much like the Office of the Provost – small in size and staff centric – ideas shared within this group translate well and can be easily replicated.

Moving forward, the leads will focus on developing communication strategies that are consistent, effective, and that reach all levels of staff. Identifying a DEI champion within the leadership team that can carry information to leadership will also be a goal.  Having support and buy-in from leadership will be critical. A new Provost will start in the fall of 2017. This is an opportunity to educate him about the Office of the Provost DEI Plan and outline how leadership can support the work of the DEI leads. Planning and creating a budget for 2017-18 unit level DEI events and activities will increase success and support from leadership.

III. Data and Analysis: Key Findings

Year Three Key Findings

Data from RSVPs versus actual attendance in the tables below show that on average, only 38% percent of Provost Office staff attended events that encourage growth and learning around DEI. There was also an observation that primarily support staff attended most events.

Office of the Provost DEI Activities – AY 2018-19
Participation/Attendance Data

Actual Atttendance
(based on sign-in sheets)
Percentage of Staff
(based on 45 individuals on Provost Staff in Fleming email group who received invitations)
And Then They Came for Us Film & Discussion
No data
Understanding Generations at Work
No Data
The Out List Film & Discussion
Self-Defense Class
Sushi Making with Mary Rose
Field Trip: Labadie Collection
Reflections & Looking Forward Year-End Wrap- up

Key Findings:

  1. A deeper commitment from leadership is necessary for greater staff engagement at all levels, particularly at the Vice Provost and Associate/Assistant Vice Provost level.
  2. A paradigm shift in prioritization and expectations related to DEI initiatives is essential to the success of implementation.
  3. More intentional and less passive forms of engagement will be necessary to ensure every staff member participates and progresses in their learning.

In year three of implementation, a concerted effort was made to capture data that would evaluate the effectiveness of activities sponsored by the Office of the Provost. The chart below summarizes data collected from four (4) events.

Office of the Provost DEI Activities – AY 2018-19
Summary of Evaluations

(Average score; scale: 1-5)
Liked MOST
(selected comments)
(selected comments)
And Then They Came for Us
Film & Discussion
"The film – it was very timely. Brought the important issues to life regardless of a specific race. Applicable to all."
"I would have liked more facilitated discussion. Perhaps have some probing questions for the audience."
"Thank you for the food and for providing this opportunity."
Understanding Generations at Work
"Interaction between participants."
"Making sure all generations are heard in discussion even if numbers in the room aren’t equal."
"The core of generational issues is change – a challenge that exists in all generations, and always will."
The Out List
Film & Discussion
"The openness and honesty – very powerful!"
"Longer discussion."
"Will do a very nice job of integrating the film into further discussion."
Sushi Making with Mary Rose
"The fellowship with colleagues and the cultural experience."

"It was great!"
"Do it again!"

"Mary did an excellent job!"

Planning, Development and Implementation
At the end of year three, the DEI Committee hosted a wrap-up event (Reflections and Looking Forward) where we engaged staff in a thought exercise, which asked them to think “big” about ideas for the implementation of DEI within our unit. The objective was to generate a collection of “big ideas” from which we could develop themes or scale an idea for our office. The table below shows the ideas that were collected and are listed by staff rankings.

Visit a new city to discover varying cultures and relationships
Professional development fund that provides $5,000 for each staff member
Walking tour of campus that highlights events/people/milestones in UM's DEI history
Field trip to large events in Detroit and Chicago
Trip to various countries around the world. Have a cultural exchange. Total immersion
Off-Site DEI Retreat; create model for other units
Every staff member had access to on-demand, confidential, free DEI consultations to talk through things like difficult conversations/situations; make a plan for deliberate growth and accountability - kind of like a "Personal DEI Success Coach!"
Conduct a full scale, impartial salary equity review process to ensure that compensation is equitable and aligned with the duties and responsibilities of the role
Midday field trip to and lunch at Arab American Museum or African American Museum
Visit DC for MLK Day
More events that allow staff members to share an aspect of their cultural background or heritage (like Mary Rose's sushi lessons). Could be food, holiday, craft or storytelling. Something that helps us learn more about each other, as well as about cultural identities in our community.
DEI Suggestion Box
A concert for the office that includes all genres
Equity for all; no money limits; group activities to major event like theatre
Day long office team building retreat for the entire office away from campus
Host events that focus on specific cultures, perhaps in the diag with food, music, etc. so that we can showcase our diversity
Hold a facilitated retreat
Trips to various countries to experience the culture
Weekend retreat/training for DEI with everyone in Provost Office -- with fun included, of course!
Serve a meal at a prison
Office trip to foreign country to live and learn about different cultures

Key Findings:
The themes we extracted from the collection of ideas were 1) a desire for a staff retreat related to DEI; and 2) more professional development opportunities. We have bolded instances in the chart where these themes appear.


IV. Strategic Objectives, Measures of Success and Action Plans

The Office of the Provost’s strategic objectives, planned activities, and measures of success are presented below. All strategic objectives and related actions will be pursued in accordance with federal and state law and University of Michigan policy.

A. Recruitment, Retention, and Development

To sustain and enhance diversity, the Office of the Provost recognizes that it is important to have standard and well-documented human resources practices, particularly in recruitment, hiring, and professional development. Clear human resources practices will help to promote diverse applicant pools, that all applicants receive equitable treatment, and that all staff members have opportunities that will help them reach their career goals.

Five-Year Strategic Objective 1:
Attract a diverse staff in accordance with the UM Human Resources Diversity Recruitment Initiative, hire staff members with diverse backgrounds.

Measures of Success:
• Composition of applicant pools for future positions (# URM, # male), compare with past pools.
• Hiring of staff members with diverse backgrounds.

FY20 Action Items:
• Continue to monitor, document and update best practices that ensure diverse applicant pools.
• Continue to use University Human Resources practices and guidelines for recruiting and hiring.
• Assess makeup of applicant pools, interview pools and hires for any/all open staff positions.
• Regularly review onboarding guide to update and align with current information, trends and practices

Primary DEI Goal: Diversity
Other applicable domain(s): Equity, Inclusive Community

Five-Year Strategic Objective 2:
Support high quality professional development and other learning opportunities to encourage professional growth of staff and strengthen performance throughout the office.

Measures of Success:
• Development of policy and distribution of policy to all staff members.
• Professional development plans included in annual reviews of staff.
• Staff participation in appropriate programs on or off campus.

FY19 Action Items:
• Continue to allocate funding for professional development.
• Regular communication from leadership encouraging professional development. These messages will come directly from the Provost at least twice each academic year..

Primary DEI Goal: Equity

B. Education and Scholarship

Five-Year Strategic Objective 1:
Create opportunities for staff to increase their knowledge and awareness regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and within the University more broadly.

Measures of Success:
• Increased understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues at the University.
• Development of ideas for continued learning in this area.
• Staff participation in office or campus activities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

FY20 Action Items:
• Plan, develop and implement DEI related trainings and presentations.
• Encourage staff participation in unit level and appropriate campus DEI activities.
• Encourage supervisors to support staff participation.
• Use staff meetings for training and discussion of DEI related topics.

Primary DEI Goal: Diversity
Other applicable domain(s): Inclusion

C. Promoting an Equitable and Inclusive Community

Five-Year Strategic Objective 1:
Increase staff engagement in developing, evaluating and prioritizing actions to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the Office of the Provost.

Measures of Success:
Number of suggestions for updating diversity strategic plan / activities
Participation by broader group of staff in planning process.

FY20 Action Items:
• Discuss diversity strategic plan at regular staff meetings, for all levels of staff.
• Determine ways to increase staff participation in the planning process.
• Seek staff input and recommendations for diversity related initiatives, activities and continued development of the strategic plan.
• Assign Office of the Provost staff to groups, which will meet and design a single DEI event.
• Link Office of the Provost strategic plan in all DEI communications.
• Host Provost Office DEI Retreat to give staff dedicated time to learn what is in the strategic plan and engage in brainstorming ways to accomplish goals.

Primary DEI Goal: Equity and Inclusion

Five-Year Strategic Objective 2:
Develop means for resolving conflicts by providing all staff members with opportunities for education and training about conflict resolution, empowering the staff to develop tools for conflict resolution that are applicable to the workplace and beyond.

Measures of Success:
• All staff members have access to education and training about conflict resolution.

FY20 Action Items:
• Publicize existing University pathways for reporting concerns and encourage staff to report concerns for resolution.
• Identification of UM and/or other resources for conflict resolution education and training.
• Information about conflict resolution opportunities are shared with staff at all levels.

Primary DEI Goal: Equity and Inclusion

Five-Year Strategic Objective 3:
Educate our community of sexual harassment and misconduct prevention in an effort to promote a safe and supportive environment for all members to work, learn, and thrive.

Measures of Success:
• All staff members have completed mandatory sexual harassment and misconduct prevention training.
• All staff members participate in the Office of the Provost sexual harassment and misconduct prevention training session

FY20 Action Items:
• Support unit-level participation in mandatory training.
• Invite Organizational Learning to host training and facilitate discussion of sexual harassment and misconduct prevention for staff.

D. Service
The Office of the Provost serves the schools, colleges, and other academic affairs units of the University. Many office activities support the diversity, equity, and inclusion work of these units.

Five-Year Strategic Objective 1:
Review Office of the Provost activities that support diversity, equity, and inclusion in other units and identify ways to make them better known and more effectively used.

Measures of Success:
• Increased awareness/inquiries about and use of existing programs.

FY20 Action Items:
• Update Provost Office website to make information easier to access.

Primary DEI Goal: Diversity

V. Goal-related Metrics – School, college or unit measures tracked over time

School, College or Unit Metrics

Staff Demographic Composition:

  • Headcount
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Age (Generation cohort)

Climate Survey Indicators

  • Satisfaction with unit climate/environment in work unit
  • Assessment of semantic aspects of the general climate in work unit
  • Assessment of semantic aspects of the DEI climate in work unit
  • Feeling valued in work unit
  • Feeling of belongingness in work unit
  • Assessment of work unit commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Perceptions of equal opportunity for success in work unit
  • Feeling able to perform up to full potential in work unit
  • Feelings of professional growth in work unit
  • Feelings of discrimination in work unit

VI. Action Planning Tables with Details and Accountabilities

A. Recruitment, Retention and Development

Key Constituency Strategic Objective Measures of Success Detailed Actions Planned
(measurable, specific)
Group/persons accountable Resources needed (if applicable)
Staff in Office of the Provost in Fleming.

Attract a diverse staff

Composition of applicant pool, hiring results.

Assess makeup of applicant pools, interview pools and hires for all open staff positions; develop best practices handbook for onboarding staff; continue to use UHR practices and guidelines for recruiting and hiring.

HR Director and additional staff most engaged in staff hiring.


Staff in Office of the Provost in Fleming. Increase professional development opportunities. Included in annual review, increased participation; development of policy and distribution of policy to all staff members; increased participation in programs on and off campus. Determine appropriate programs, share information within office, support attendance with time and funding. All supervisors

DEI Leads
Funding to support attendance.


B.Education and Scholarship

Key Constituency Strategic Objective Measures of Success Detailed Actions Planned
(measurable, specific)
Group/persons accountable Resources needed (if applicable)
Staff in the Office of the Provost in Fleming. Increase knowledge of DEI. Increase awareness of campus DEI concerns; Suggestions/ideas for continued learning within office; increased participation in DEI-related activities. Identify relevant activities; encourage staff participation; encourage supervisor support; use staff meetings to discuss DEI; develop mechanism to track staff participation. Supervisors

DEI Leads
Funding for training, marketing, incentives, etc.


C. Promoting an Equitable and Inclusive Community

Key Constituency Strategic Objective Measures of Success Detailed Actions Planned
(measurable, specific)
Group/persons accountable Resources needed (if applicable)
Staff in the Office of the Provost in Fleming. Increase engagement with DEI issues within office. Suggestions for updating diversity plan; participation of staff in planning process. Discuss plan at staff meetings; develop activities informed by climate survey; develop ways to increase staff participation in planning; seek staff input and recommendations for DEI activities. DEI team

HR Director
Survey developer; funding
Staff in the Office of the Provost in Fleming. Develop mechanism for conflict resolution. All staff members have opportunities for education and training in conflict resolution. Identify UM and other resources for conflict resolution education and training; share information about conflict resolution with staff at all levels. DEI team Funding


D. Service

Key Constituency

Strategic Objective

Measures of Success

Detailed Actions Planned
(measurable, specific)

Group/persons accountable

Resources needed (if applicable)

Schools/Colleges Increase diversity, equity, inclusion for faculty. Increased knowledge and use of Provost Office programs. Update website with DEI-related information Provost administrative staff Website development and support.


VII. Plans for Supporting, Tracking and Updating the Strategic Plan

• During the 2019-20 academic year, the office will undertake activities described in the plan. The implementation leads will be supported in this work by the key contacts. The implementation team will continue to meet monthly with the Special Counsel and Chief of Staff to ensure continuity in planning, developing and implementing events and activities as well as creating messaging directly from the Provost.
• The implementation team will create a process to track the completion of action items and will use this information to update the strategic plan.


Updated July 10, 2019