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DEI 1.0 at ADVANCE

The ADVANCE Program uses evidence-based approaches to focus on four areas relevant to the success of a diverse and excellent faculty: recruitment, retention, climate, and leadership. Together, these encompass not only multiple stages of faculty careers but also multiple mechanisms by which faculty DEI and excellence at U-M are enhanced. The four strategies we use to address our goals can be broadly categorized as: research and evaluation; knowledge and skill development; community building; and resources and support.

ADVANCE’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion began in 2001. Here we highlight some of our work and its impact on faculty during the University’s DEI 1.0 initiative, which started in 2016, including work with departments, schools and colleges, and the Provost’s Office to support DEI. Further, the ADVANCE Program itself is a unit of staff and faculty that has benefited from our internally-focused DEI efforts, and we describe that work as well.

ADVANCE’s DEI 1.0 work on behalf of U-M faculty

Faculty recruiting: STRIDE

The Committee on Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence (STRIDE).

With attention to new and emerging challenges around equity and inclusiveness, STRIDE continues to facilitate a series of faculty recruitment workshops with one main goal: to provide faculty search committees with the best evidence-based practices that lead to more robust applicant pools and more equitable selection processes. STRIDE’s materials are revised annually to incorporate new scholarship and respond to emerging concerns.

During DEI 1.0, the workshop was updated to include additional context and new research related to anti-racism and racial equity. Participants increased their understanding of structural-level biases, e.g., related to disciplinary norms and institutional practices that may lead to racial inequities, and learned better strategies to counteract those biases. During the five years of DEI 1.0, over 1,500 faculty and staff attended a STRIDE workshop, and the diversity of our faculty increased.

Per the Provost’s directive in early 2020, all schools and colleges are asked to engage with STRIDE in their faculty searches. A pivot to primarily virtual workshops due to the pandemic was very successful, and STRIDE continues to offer most workshops in this format to increase accessibility.

Faculty climate

The RISE (Respect in Striving for Excellence) Committee, a committee of senior faculty and staff, was created in 2018 to focus on workplace climate, an area of concern repeatedly identified in our departmental climate studies, campus-wide climate surveys, and exit interviews as well as national data. The committee developed an interactive workshop on climate, describing the research on workplace climates for (dis)respect, the climate at U-M, and what leaders can do to foster a more respectful and equitable work environment.

To date, over 400 faculty and staff have attended the highly rated workshop, including invited presentations for particular schools and colleges. RISE has developed additional resources available to the community, including the popular Climate Case Studies, which provide specific advice for common challenges

Faculty disability

Faculty and staff in LSA shared their experiences with disability and securing accommodations at the university. Too often, the onus is on the person with a disability to learn and navigate the university to secure and extend their own accommodation. Suggested improvements included confidential, centralized support, increased awareness of invisible disabilities, addressing accessibility challenges, and dismantling the culture of ableism. This work was used by LSA in creating their new Disability Navigator positions.

In concert with this work, ADVANCE has added a greater focus on accessibility to our events and materials. This includes redesigning our website in 2018 to work with screen readers; following accessibility guidelines for color blindness and contrast needs; and adjusting our events to offer captions, CART services, early access to materials, large-print materials; and including questions about the disability in our unit-level climate studies.

Retention of faculty of color

Although U-M has made progress in hiring faculty who are Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC), in recent years these faculty, especially those from underrepresented, racially minoritized backgrounds, have chosen to leave the university at a greater rate than white faculty (U-M ADVANCE Program, 2019). From our focus groups, exit interviews , and climate studies , ADVANCE has identified five primary challenges and concerns for BIPOC faculty at U-M:

  • invisible and overwhelming levels of service
  • lack of leadership opportunities that resonate with career goals
  • structural inequalities
  • family needs (e.g., for partners and children)
  • poor departmental climates.

Addressing these may help retain faculty. We developed a series of workshops for campus leaders to examine the retention of BIPOC faculty and strategies to help retain faculty, including working to create pre-emptive “conditions” that support retention, broadening assessments of teaching quality, increasing service equity, changing the narrative around excellence and diversity as being in conflict, and improving department climates (U-M Record article).

Collection and analysis of institutional data

In addition to studies mentioned above, ADVANCE analyzes faculty demographics and patterns of hiring, retention, and leadership years in yearly Indicator Reports. To better share information with campus, during DEI 1.0 ADVANCE created interactive dashboards about tenure track faculty: faculty demographics 1979-2021, a forecasting model for the composition of the faculty, and leadership and recognition. We also reported on a Tenure Cohort Analysis and a Study of Named Lectureships. These resources inform campus policies and procedures.

Faculty pipeline development

The President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP), a collaboration with the Provost’s Office, has been very successful in recruiting faculty to U-M following a mentored postdoctoral experience here. Seventeen new faculty, all of whom happen to come from underrepresented groups, have been hired via this program since it began in 2011, with 12 hired during DEI 1.0.

ADVANCE also collaborated with LSA on the NextProf: Science workshop. NextProf: Science provides an opportunity for faculty to meet, inspire, and advise individuals from across the country, many from backgrounds underrepresented in academia, who are interested in pursuing careers in academia and may ultimately pursue those careers at U-M. This LSA workshop, patterned after a similar one in Engineering, brought over 190 potential faculty to campus (in person or remotely) during DEI 1.0.

Faculty exit interviews

Why Do Tenure Track Faculty Leave U-M? describes our exit interviews with faculty who chose to leave the university between 2011-2019. Faculty point to poor departmental climates, wanting to improve resources for research, a lack of mentoring or opportunities for leadership, and family needs as top reasons for departing the university.

Faculty equity and COVID-19

We reported on the faculty equity concerns that were exacerbated by the pandemic, and made recommendations to campus

This work was based in part on our two surveys of U-M faculty (The Effect of COVID-19 on UM Faculty Life, 2020; The Effect of COVID-19 on U-M Faculty Experiences, 2021) as well as national data.

  • One recommendation is that metrics be developed to assess the impact of the pandemic on faculty by race, gender, and rank.
  • Other recommendations highlight ways to support faculty in their research, teaching, service, and caregiver roles, putting forth principles and recommendations for a future with greater equity and inclusion. One principle for supporting faculty is ‘Equal is not always equitable.’ Strategies that support all faculty identically may inadvertently replicate existing inequalities

Individual faculty mentoring, coaching, & skill development

Launch Committees provide support and guidance to new junior faculty as they begin their careers at Michigan. During DEI 1.0, the reach of this program on campus expanded. ADVANCE now forms and oversees committees for Engineering, Information, and all divisions of LSA: 341 new faculty (262 during DEI 1.0) have been “launched” since the program began as a pilot in 2012. The program has spread to SMTD and several of the health sciences schools and colleges, with whom ADVANCE collaborates. While aimed at faculty retention, the program also contributes positively to faculty recruitment, climate, and the development of mentoring skills.

ADVANCE also offers a coaching program for senior faculty, in collaboration with LSA, Engineering, and Information. This program was built on the observations that new full professors constitute an outstanding resource for continued cultivation of future faculty leadership generally and with respect to the climate. Faculty who participate in this program engage in a one-year process of coaching by experienced academic leadership coaches, with particular sensitivity and experience related to issues of race/ethnicity, gender, and underrepresentation.

ADVANCE leadership additionally offers consultation with individual faculty on a range of topics related to DEI, and numerous workshops (e.g., LSA-ADVANCE Workshops for Faculty) that address common concerns of faculty.

Campus-wide climate assessment

In 2017, ADVANCE conducted our fourth study of campus climate for faculty at U-M since 2001. In important dimensions, comparing 2017 with 2012, campus climate did not improve and in some cases declined, a discouraging finding that led to our increased efforts to improve climate and support individual faculty.

We also found that diverse departments have more positive climates for faculty. Given that underrepresented faculty hired into departments without a critical mass of women or URM faculty may experience their department’s climate more negatively, we must strengthen our efforts to support and retain them.

Funding

ADVANCE offers funding for career-relevant needs of faculty if meeting those needs will reflect ADVANCE’s mission of enhancing the climate for and the success of a broadly diverse faculty. Importantly, funding can be used for non-routine dependent care, e.g., care for a child while the faculty member is traveling to advance their scholarship. For example: during DEI 1.0

Faculty Networks

ADVANCE supports four faculty networks, open to all who support their missions:

  • the Network to Advance Women Scientists and Engineers,
  • the Network to Advance Faculty of Color (in collaboration with the Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion and Academic Affairs),
  • the Single Faculty Network, and
  • the LGBT Faculty Alliance. Support for the LGBT Faculty Alliance, an existing group, began during DEI 1.0. Common to all are supporting the goal of increased diversity in academia, providing opportunities to connect across disciplines and share experiences, and fostering community.

Unit climate and salary equity studies

At the request of chairs and deans, ADVANCE offers unit climate assessments as well as analyses of faculty salary equity to help units identify areas for improvement. The goal is to assist the unit in making appropriate policy changes to enhance the environment for all members of the department. During DEI 1.0, 172 groups (e.g. faculty, postdocs, staff, graduate students) in 56 units participated in a unit climate assessment, and 23 units received a salary equity analysis.

ADVANCE’s DEI 1.0 work on behalf of ADVANCE itself

 

ADVANCE also turned the lens of DEI to our own program. Some highlights include

  • DEI skills training and professional development opportunities, including training and workshops on: data equity, Canvas and accessibility, assessing diversity in online samples, intersectional allyship, and dismantling ableism. 
  • Our internal hiring processes have benefited by engagement with U-M’s HR consultation service (e.g., enhanced outreach to increase the diversity of the applicant pool, more inclusive staff job descriptions, more effective interviewing protocols).
  • Hiring an ADVANCE HR staff member (2021). With this expertise, we have been able to more effectively implement salary equity reviews for staff and graduate student workers, initiate staff exit interviews, and provide additional support to our diverse community of staff. In addition, this HR expertise was critical during the many pandemic-related policy and benefit changes.
  • Creating staff social events to help us stay connected during remote work and to protect against siloing of teams.
  • Increased collaboration across teams to ensure that new staff members see the connection of their contributions to the work of the unit as a whole.
  • Creating equitable work-from-home and hybrid schedules for staff and student workers.
  • Enhanced communications and feedback, including a new staff handbook outlining policies and procedures, a staff internal newsletter, mid-year performance discussions, and a staff intranet.
  • The increased accessibility of our materials and workshops has also been a benefit to ADVANCE staff and to those who work closely with us on our programs (e.g. reviewers for our grants programs). This increased focus has encouraged ADVANCE staff to keep accessibility as a high priority when developing new materials and programs.
  • Developing authorship policies to ensure that staff and students receive appropriate credit for their contributions to reports and publications.
  • Began discussions of ADVANCE’s values in both small groups and staff meetings to underscore our commitments to DEI, collaboration, and campus support

Looking Ahead to DEI 2.0

During DEI 2.0, we look forward to generating and analyzing institutional data that will help us reflect on the effectiveness of our policies and practices – and develop new ones – for supporting a broadly diverse faculty. We will develop more strategic partnerships with schools and colleges to support them in their DEI work. We will continue to find ways to support individual faculty careers, e.g., through funding, skill and leadership development, addressing bias, improving campus climate, and using data to advocate for policy changes. This work will require continued professional development of our own staff, e.g., on analysis methods, and continued attention on fostering an ADVANCE Program that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

ADVANCE Program Address

University of Michigan
1214 S. University Avenue
2nd Floor, Suite C - Galleria Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2592

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Phone: 734.647.9359
Fax: 734.647.6112
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