A five-year plan, launched October 2016
In October 2016, the Ford School released a five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The plan addresses four central goals: (1) diversifying ‘who we are’, (2) diversifying ‘what and how we teach’, (3) promoting an equitable and inclusive climate, and (4) diversifying ‘our research and policy engagement’.
The plan was developed with broad community input over the course of the previous academic year. Led by co-chairs professor Shobita Parthasarathy and Susan Guindi, director of student and academic services, the planning process was spearheaded by a committee comprised of faculty, students, and staff.
Associate Dean Paula Lantz served as faculty lead for the Ford School’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives for the first year, and will continue in that capacity in Year Two.
Building on decades of commitment
The Ford School’s plan builds on the school’s longstanding strength and commitment in this area, including:
- A large number of Ford School faculty whose research focuses on equity in health, education, economics, and more
- A high-profile speaker series that is known for its diversity across a number of dimensions
- Strong student leadership, with student organizations such as Students of Color in Public Policy, Fordies for Inclusion, Women and Gender in Public Policy, First-gen students, International Policy Students Association, and more
- A diverse masters program
- Thirty-plus years of support for the Public Policy and International Affairs Program, an undergraduate pipeline program that increases diversity among public policy professionals
"A long way to go"
In announcing the school's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan, then Dean Susan M. Collins said, "We still have a long way to go. To realize our goals, we must further diversify who we are--in terms of students, faculty, and staff. And we must ensure that our classrooms and climate truly and demonstrably respect diversity, value equity, and foster inclusion.”
Collins noted that she sees “a particular imperative here for a school of public policy. We’re training policy leaders who will be serving the needs of an increasingly diverse country and world,” she says. “The ability to navigate and lead on issues of equity and diversity is an integral part of the skillset we must provide our students.”
What's special about our plan? The Ford School set out to achieve three overarching goals for the planning process and the plan itself. First, we worked to build broad community and student involvement via townhall conversations, surveys, and a creative communications strategy. Second, we were determined that our plan would take a proactive approach to tackling classroom issues--engaging the faculty to evolve what and how we teach across the curriculum. Finally, we sought to integrate rigorous academic work into the rationale and next steps for each strategic objective.
Initiatives completed to date
The plan was publicly released on October 5, but school leaders implemented a number of DEI-related activities earlier, as academic year 2016-2017 got underway. In early September, all of the school’s incoming students participated in bystander training, and a version of that program was customized for faculty and held at the first faculty meeting of the year. Several Ford School faculty also recently participated in a STRIDE (Committee on Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) workshop on how to best conduct faculty searches that are consistent with the school’s values regarding diversity.
In April 2017, Dean Collins wrote to the Ford School community with her reflections on the full range of year one activities: read her message here. It includes progress to date on each of the core pillars of the Ford School's plan.
In June 2017, the Ford School announced another year one accomplishment: the hiring of the school's first-ever chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, Stephanie Sanders, PhD.
A living document
The Ford School's DE&I strategic plan is a living document. We currently engage in multiple efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; we'l continue these efforts in fiscal year 2018, while also reviewing and developing new means of evaluating them as appropriate. After each year Plan, we will review the success of these continuing actions along with the new ones we have proposed in this plan, and prioritize our efforts accordingly.
Read full details here on the Ford School’s yearlong strategic planning process.
DE&I initiatives at the Ford School (summer 2016 - spring 2017): a wrap up of nearly 3 dozen news articles from year one of the DE&I plan.