DEI Pillars

Four pillars to build a culture of belonging
View our plan

In October 2023 the Ford School launched its five-year strategic plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—a strategic and ambitious roadmap thoughtfully crafted with insights from student leaders, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

Over the next five years, the plan will guide our efforts to nurture our dynamic learning environment; ignite innovation in how we do our work; and deepen our culture of belonging, anchored in principles of justice.


DEI Pillars

Diversifying who we are

We aim to attract and retain new and diverse students, faculty, and staff with varied perspectives and experiences.

Actions include:
  • Early outreach to undergraduate students and explore strategies for increased financial support
  • Address bias in admissions processes
  • Continue to leverage existing internal visiting faculty, practitioners, and fellows opportunities to engage diverse experts.
  • Increase outreach and advertising for staff positions
  • Diversify our donor base
  • Dedicate resources to support a robust team of DEI staff
  • Collaborate with registered Ford School student organizations to support their leadership growth and impact.

And more…



Partnerships with Historically Black Colleges & Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions

In summer 2023, four outstanding Spelman students spent seven weeks conducting social policy research with the Youth Policy Lab as part of our new ASPIRE program.
Read more about ASPIRE

Racial Justice Cluster Hiring Initiative

Yousif Hassan will join the Ford School in winter 2024. Hassan’s work examines the social, economic, and political implications of emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and data focusing on the relationship between race, digital technology, and technoscientific capitalism.
Read more about Yousif Hassan


Diversifying how and what we teach

The best policy solutions are made possible when everyone has a seat at the table. We aim to: 

  1. Integrate global perspectives, antiracist perspectives, and focus on disability awareness and structural ableism in our curriculum and co-curricular offerings; and
  2. Promote and support inclusive teaching and learning among our faculty
Actions include:
  • Conduct an ADA audit for Weill Hall
  • Accommodate less visible disabilities 
  • Invest in more resources for Student & Academic Services and Career Services to support URM and international students.
  • Work with the Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to offer additional electives and core courses that center race, racism, and antiracism.
  • Work with the DEI team and the Center for Racial justice to regularly promote and offer programming that centers antiracism and racial justice.

And more…




Promoting an equitable and inclusive climate

Creating a community of belonging bolsters our collective impact. We aim to:

  1. Foster staff culture that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  2. Bolster and promote student financial resources and enhancing supportive wraparound services;
  3. Promote shared values, norms, and practices around mental health advocacy in an effort to foster a supportive environment for all members to work, learn, and thrive; and
  4. Promote shared values, norms, and practices around accessibility and disability advocacy in an effort to foster a supportive environment for all members to work, learn, and thrive.
Actions include:
  • Identify staff workshops, webinars, seminars, and/or best practices to support URM and international students.
  • Collaborate with the staff professional development committee to identify and curate workshop offerings aimed at fostering skill development, improving career effectiveness, and promoting job satisfaction among staff members. 
  • Work with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the DEI team to regularly promote and offer training and workshops on antiracist pedagogy.  
  • Work with the DEI team and DEI research fellows to organize opportunities that support faculty in their course design efforts.

And more…



Diversifying our research and policy engagement

We aim to forward solutions that remedy the impacts of systemic inequality.

Actions include:
  • Incorporate more storytelling in policy engagement and policy talks to spotlight our commitment to DEI and antiracism.
  • Strengthen and promote communication channels between faculty and our Communications & Outreach team to capture work that addresses systematic inequality. 

And more…




Past events and policy engagement

Please reach out to DEI Co-Leads Stephanie Sanders, Dom Adams-Santos, or Jenna Bednar to learn more and find out how to get involved.

View the full plan

Key results:  Learn about our first 5-year plan, 2022-23 interim priorities and some of our key accomplishments.

Past plans

Campus context

Read the University of Michigan's broader DEI strategic plan here.