Archive: Planning process for "DEI 1.0" (2016-2021)

In September 2015, Dean Susan M. Collins officially launched the Ford School’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning initiative.

The Ford School's five-year strategic plan was launched in October 2016, along with the University of Michigan's broader campus-wide plan.

Learn about some of the key accomplishments from DEI 1.0.

Learn about the Ford School's current priorities for diversity, equity, and inclusion.


The Dean's charge


Mark S. Schlissel, 14th President of the University of Michigan
Martha E. Pollack, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Susan M. Collins, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy

Background, Goals & Values

At the University of Michigan, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is central to our mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment, for we believe that diversity is key to individual flourishing, educational excellence and the advancement of knowledge.

From being one of the first universities to admit women in 1870 to our historic defense of race conscious admission policies at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, the University of Michigan has had a fierce and longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This commitment rests upon our recognition of the history in the United States of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination as well as our understanding that our progress as an institution of higher learning will be enhanced with a vibrant community of people from many backgrounds.

At the Ford School of Public Policy, we embrace this commitment. Furthermore, we recognize that attention to and respect for diversity is integral to the study and practice of public policy. It requires us to think critically and analytically about how public policies may affect people differently. And it encourages us to think through how to develop and implement public policies to ensure their benefits across populations.

Diversity Plan Goals

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. We recognize the history in the United States of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination and the intergenerational effects of poverty, and we commit to work assiduously, in accordance with the law, to promote and extend opportunities and outcomes for members of those groups that have been historically marginalized by these profound inequalities.

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 school 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 and creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage the resources of diversity to advance our collective capabilities.


  • We must act with deliberateness and humility as we seek to respect and leverage diversity, ensure equity, and promote inclusion.
  • We must examine and learn from the outcomes of our past efforts and work to improve them.
  • We must act on our commitment, in accordance with the law, to contribute to a just society and to affirm the humanity of all persons.

Statement of Purpose

The function of the Ford School’s Diversity Strategic Plan Committee is to oversee a high-quality and engaging planning process that results in a five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, and that covers all key constituents of the school.

Specific Charge

The Diversity Strategic Plan will be:

  1. highly aspirational — consistent with the leading role U-M has played in matters of diversity throughout its history, and with the Ford School’s strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion;
  2. concrete and supported by a series of specific measurable goals; and
  3. consistent with the wide variety of research, educational and public engagement activities that occur throughout the Ford School.

In addition to covering all key constituents of the school, the plan will describe activities in the following domains:

  1. Recruitment, retention and development
  2. Education
  3. Scholarship and Policy Engagement
  4. Promoting an equitable, inclusive environment

The objectives of the planning process are the following:

  1. Develop an engaged process that generates a sense of ownership and a collective commitment from the constituents of the Ford School.

Conduct and provide a comprehensive evaluation of where we are as a school with respect to:

    1. how diverse we are as a community;
    2. the degree to which individuals experience our school as inclusive; and
    3. whether individuals have equitable opportunities to be successful.
  1. Within the constraints of the law, propose specific, achievable, and sustainable short- medium- and long-term goals and actions to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion with specific timetables for execution.
  2. Identify resources and points of accountability for achieving the goals.
  3. Identify steps to ensure that our plan is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect both progress towards its goals and newly identified opportunities and challenges.


Draft report for Ford School review; Draft report for DELTAA; Final report for DELTAA


Shobita Parthasarathy, Co-Chair, Associate Professor of Public Policy
Susan Guindi, Co-Chair, Director, Student and Academic Services
Paul Courant, Professor of Public Policy, Economics and Information
Alexandra Thebaud, Business Manager
Susan Waltz, Professor of Public Policy
Demar Lewis, Master’s Student
Eric Riley, Undergraduate Student

Content experts will attend meetings as needed.
Subcommittees or working groups drawn from areas representing the issues may be formed.

Staff Support

Roberta Saling, Assistant to the Dean


Draft report for internal Ford School review due February 8, 2016 to Dean (tentative)
Draft report for DELTAA (Provost group) due February 29, 2016 (tentative)
Final report for DELTAA (Provost group) due April 15, 2016 (tentative)

Progress Reports

To be finalized – check-ins with Dean, Executive Committee, Senior Staff

Facts about the DEI planning process

  • The Ford School's work is part of a university-wide strategic planning effort, headed by President Schlissel and Vice Provost Robert Sellers. Each unit across the university, including the Ford School, has been asked to develop a strategic plan that will guide its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts over the next 5 years.
  • We recognize that attention to and respect for diversity is integral to the study and practice of public policy. It requires us to think critically and analytically about how public policies may affect people differently. And it encourages us to think through how to develop and implement public policies to ensure their benefits across populations.
  • There are three phases to the Ford School's effort: data collection, developing recommendations and metrics for evaluation, and drafting the report. See proposed timeline.
  • The Ford School DEI report will focus on four categories: 1) Diversifying Who We Are (faculty, staff, and students), 2) Teaching (diversifying what and how we teach), 3) Climate (facilitating an inclusive and equitable climate), 4) Research and Policy Engagement (ensuring that the research, policy engagement, and activities at the Ford School provide attention to and respect for diversity, equity, and inclusion).
  • The report will include recommendations, detailed strategies and actions for achieving those recommendations, and metrics for evaluating our performance in completing the actions and recommendations.
  • In order for our efforts to be successful, we need widespread participation from students, staff, and faculty, understanding that it’s only with the perspectives and visions of all us that we can achieve the best plan possible.
  • Our data collection involves surveys (of students, staff, and faculty), facilitated community conversations, and suggestion boxes for anonymous comments.
  • We envision that the Plan itself will recommend ways to obtain alumni and other stakeholder input.
  • Ford School DEI Committee co-chairs, Susan Guindi and Shobita Parthasarathy are working across units and with university officials to share information and get help in these efforts. Eventually, the Ford School's plan will become part of the comprehensive UM Diversity Strategic Plan.


Phase I, September through December 2015: Data collection

  • Dean's formal announcement to the Ford School community: Sept. 29
  • Staggered dissemination of surveys for Ford School community members
    • Faculty Survey: Oct. 5
    • Staff Survey: Oct. 12
    • Student Survey: Oct 14
  • Informal DEI information sessions: Oct. 1 and Oct. 8
  • Facilitated conversations to brainstorm recommendations and strategies for achieving them
    • Undergraduate students: Oct. 27
    • Graduate students: Oct. 29 and Nov. 4
    • Staff: Oct. 30
    • Faculty: Nov. 3
  • All School Town Hall conversation: Dec. 9
  • Suggestion boxes for anonymous input, located in the Student Services suite and the 4th floor kitchen throughout the Fall semester

Phase II, January through February 2016:

  • All school meeting to discuss data, recommendations, and draft report -- January 2016
  • Draft Ford School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 5-year Plan -- Jan - Feb, 2016
  • Submit Ford School Plan to University's Diversity Executive Leadership Team -- Feb. 28

Phase III, March and April 2016:

  • University Diversity Executive Leadership team reviews school/college/unit plans

Phase IV, May and June 2016:

  • Final submission and quality review of all the school/college/unit plans

Phase V, July and August 2016:

  • Synthesis of school/college/unit plans into comprehensive UM Plan

September, 2016 – Final U-M Diversity Plan Announced and Implemented