DECEMBER 2019: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Ford School

December 2, 2019


Focus on our goal: Diversifying who we are
Sponsored by Students of Color in Public Policy (SCPP), the Pipeline Initiative aims to help prospective students navigate the MPP/MPA application process and to provide the student’s perspective on being a member of the Ford School community. SCPP invited current MPP/MPA students to participate as a mentor for prospective students. This outreach program pairs current students with prospective students to offer mentorship and guidance on the application process. Mentors and prospective students are paired on a variety of factors such as policy interests, undergraduate institution, and career goals.

Focus on our goal: Promoting an Equitable and Inclusive Climate

2019-2020 DEI Coalition

The Ford School DEI Coalition met on November 15. Caitlin Khalsa discussed capital planning and led the Coalition in an activity to identify how we might improve our physical space as we strategically plan for the Ford School's long-term future. The Coalition also discussed ways to amplify communication efforts and inform the Ford School community about DEI plan updates and progress. Laura Lee, Director of Communications and Outreach, and Nick Pfost, Communications and Marketing Specialist, attended the meeting to help facilitate the discussion.

  • From DEI Coalition Master's Student Representatives Safiya Merchant and Baltazar Hernandez:
  • As the Ford School develops a plan for its facilities, administrators are seeking input from faculty, staff and students about the renovations and additions they would like to see in the future. If students are interested in participating in a focus group on Dec. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., please email Special Assistant to the Dean Caitlin Khalsa at [email protected]. If you are unavailable or not selected to participate in the focus group, students can submit their ideas through this Google Form. Due to an interest in the creation of gender-neutral restrooms among Ford students, we communicated these needs at the last DEI Coalition meeting, where Khalsa facilitated a discussion about facility plans. In other news, we are working with the Student Affairs Committee to create a DEI memo related to building healthier faculty/staff-student interactions. If you would like to submit any feedback or recommendations on this topic, please email us at [email protected] and [email protected].

Reflection Space

As the academic school year comes to an end, remember the Ford School’s Reflection Space is available for use. The space is located in Weill Hall on the 5th-floor hallway that runs east-west from the main staircase and is available for use by Ford School faculty, staff, and students.

DEI Funding Request for Student Organizations

The Ford School is pleased to provide funding to student organizations who implement programs and initiatives that promote values related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The purpose of the funding is to encourage student-led programming that advance objectives in the Y4 Ford School Diversity Plan. Access the funding request form and send inquiries to [email protected].


Upcoming events

Tuesday, December 3rd | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM | 1210 Weill Hall (Frey)
DACA: What happened in the Supreme Court?

Professor Ann Lin will lead a special opportunity to learn about and discuss developments this past month related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Please rsvp here. We will serve lunch during the event.

Tuesday, December 3rd | 6:30 PM | DANA Building Ford Commons
Womxn of Color Mixer
With guest speaker Regina Strong

The People of the Global Majority for the Environment (PGMEnt) invites you to their inaugural Womxn of Color Mixer.
For questions contact the PGMEnt Executive Board at [email protected].

This event will be rescheduled winter term
Wednesday, December 4 | 11:45 AM - 12:50 PM | 1110 Weill Hall (Betty)
Public Policy and Institutional Discrimination Discussion Series

“Housing Insecurity among Former Prisoners” with faculty discussant Jeffrey Morenoff

The Public Policy and Institutional Discrimination Discussion Series is open to students, faculty, and staff and is designed to foster dialogue on important issues of U.S. public policy.

Thursday, December 5th | 6:30 PM | DANA Building Ford Commons
2020 Central Campus MLK Spirit Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Central Campus MLK Spirit Awards.

Monday, December 16th | 12:00 - 1:00 PM | Weill Hall, Great Hall
Therapaws of Michigan Destressing Event

During finals week Therapaws of Michigan a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, will visit the Ford School.

Wednesday, January 20 | 12:00 AM - 1:30 PM | Annenberg Auditorium (1120)
MLK Jr. Symposium | Weiser Diplomacy Center Series with Ambassador Susan Rice and Michael Barr

Join the Ford School for an arm-chair conversation between Ambassador Susan Rice and Michael Barr, Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

For U-M DEI events across campus visit


Ford School spotlight

We take pride in highlighting a wide array of team players and personalities at the Ford School. This month the spotlight features David Morse, Ford School Lecturer in Expository Writing.

Name: David Morse

Courses Taught: PP 521 Intro to Policy Writing; PP 522 Writing Effectively for Public Policy; PP 474 Lying and Public Policy; PP 495 Utopianism and Public Policy

Years employed at the Ford School:

What do you like most about mentoring students?
Be more specific—that’s one of the core messages to students from any writing instructor. And one of the great things about my job is that, when I urge students to be more specific, wonderful information emerges. Ford students possess professional knowledge and expertise—my job as a writing instructor is to discover that expertise and help them articulate it thoughtfully and concisely. But I also love it when students get more specific when writing about their personal stories—why they came to Ford, how they got here, why this work matters to them personally, and what they plan to accomplish when they leave. Knowing why a Ford education matters to students makes it all the more gratifying when I’m able to help them achieve their goals.

What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?
My father gave advice by example. As a small town lawyer in the south, he helped clients solve real-world problems. I saw him at the office, talking to folks, or I’d listen when he took calls at home. He always treated his clients with respect—no matter the nature of their complaint. And he always remained calm; he was a reassuring influence. I’ve tried to follow his example in my own work with students.



Ford School of Public Policy DEI Resources.

Additional Campus Resources

Got news?
Do you know of an upcoming DEI related event that may be of interest to others? Send your news updates to [email protected] or call (734) 615-4402.

Thank you for supporting our DEI mission.

Best wishes,

Stephanie Sanders
Ford School DEI Co-Lead