February 2021: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Ford School

February 1, 2021

Updates regarding faculty, staff, and student DEI-related activity at the Ford School

Diversifying what and how we teach

faculty handshake

Parthasarathy profiled: why we need to diversify expertise. In a Public Books Public Thinker profile, Shobita Parthasarathy discusses what drew her to science and technology policy, gene patents and testing, COVID-19, and the role of diversity and activism in science/technology to regain public trust. Read the profile in Public Books

New Ford School sociologist Celeste Watkins-Hayes works at the intersection of inequality, public policy, and institutions, with a special focus on urban poverty and race, class, and gender studies. Her most recent book Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Inequality, uses a rigorous qualitative approach to understand the experiences of women to inform policy. To learn more about her approach to research and how she uses her findings to inform policy discussions visit here.

Ford School professor Earl Lewis joined Stephanie Fryberg as recipients of two $5 million grants through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative competition. The grants will fund projects that focus on addressing racial inequity. Read the full article here.

Promoting an equitable and inclusive climate

  • During the January 19 faculty meeting faculty heard from Kristen Carney on supporting students in distress. As the Ford School’s embedded counselor, Kristen’s efforts continue to promote help seeking behaviors and emotional well-being practices among students.
  • The Ford School is pleased to provide funding to student organizations whose programs and initiatives promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) related values. The purpose of the funding is to encourage student-led programming that advance objectives in the Ford School Diversity Plan. For more information and to access the DEI Funding Request for Student Organizations click here.
  • Ford School undergraduates receive prestigious MLK Spirit Awards. Three Ford School undergraduate students, Julianna Collado (BA ‘22), Cydney Gardner-Brown (BA ‘21), and Marianna Boully Perez BA ‘21), were among the honorees who received the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award. The MLK Spirit Award recognizes students who exemplify the leadership and extraordinary vision of Dr. King. Visit here for more information.
Group collaborating
  • During the December 10 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Coalition meeting, members received updates and discussed progress being made regarding diversifying who we are and how that might translate to the next iteration of strategic diversity priorities.

    The DEI Diversity Officer provided updates on progress made to staff diversity efforts—which is critical to our DEI strategy to support student needs, expand institutional knowledge, and be a more inclusive community. Beginning fall 2020, the Ford School Human Resources and Diversity Officer(s), began reviewing staff hiring protocols to identify areas in our current recruitment/hiring process where we can improve and better leverage outreach to connect with diverse populations. The team plans to share final recommendations with Ford School leadership as well as additional stakeholders for feedback and future implementation.

    Implementation of the Ford School’s DEI 5-year Strategic Plan (2016 -2021) officially ends in July 2021. As representing constituencies, DEI Coalition members continued a brainstorming session to identify new and innovative ideas for consideration that will help identify strategic priorities for the Ford School’s next DEI strategic plan. The DEI Coalition did not meet in January 2021.


Upcoming events

February is Black History Month. This is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event is the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson as well as other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. For information on Black History Month events visit here.

Group of team members

Black History Month Opening Event

February 1, 6:00 - 7:15 PM EST

For black History Month, MESA is proud to present, "A Conversation with Thought Leader and Change maker LaTosha Brown!" Co-sponsoring this event is U-M Ross Business + Impact, Central Student Government, LSA-English Language and Literature, Michigan Law, Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach, and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. This conversation will be moderated by Associate Professor from the Department of Theatre & Drama, School of Music, Theatre & Dance Dr. Antonio C. Cuyler (Kyler). He will be joined by the following panelist - BSU Vice Speaker Cydney Gardner-Brown; Turn Turn Out President Josiah Walker, and Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion; and Chief Diversity Officer Office of the Provost Dr. Robert Sellers.

LSA Book Talks: Just Mercy

February 4, 3:00 - 4:30 PM EST

Please join us for the 2nd round of group discussions on the title, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, facilitated by LSA DEI Manager, Jessica Garcia. Discussions will occur on the following dates:

  • Talk 1: Thursday, February 4 [Introduction through Chapter 4]
  • Talk 2: Wednesday, February 10 [Chapters 5 - 10]
  • Talk 3: Thursday, February 25 [Chapters 11 through the Epilogue]
  • For more information visit the event page.

The Future of Art: "Art and Activism: Designing the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia"

February 8, 4:00 - 5:30 PM EST

Presented by the Institute for the Humanities and the U-M Arts Initiative, this is the first in a series of annual Art and Activism lectures as part of High Stakes Art, a project designed to enhance exhibitions and programming at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery. High Stakes Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. To learn more visit the event page.

History, reparations and policy 2.0 with Earl Lewis

February 18, 12:00 - 12:50 PM EST
Public Policy and Institutional Discrimination Discussion Series

As part of the Public Policy and Institutional Discrimination Discussion Series, the next session on, History, reparations and policy 2.0 will be facilitated by faculty discussant Earle Lewis, Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of History, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Public Policy. Open to students, faculty, and staff, the series is designed to foster dialogue on important issues of U.S. public policy. RSVP here. For more information on the series visit here.

Book Talk event - Reuben J. Miller

Book Talk on Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration

February 19, 12:00 - 1:00 PM EST

Join Professor Rueben Jonathan Miller as he examines the afterlife of mass incarceration, attending to how U.S. criminal justice policy has changed the social life of the city and altered the contours of American Democracy one (most often poor black American) family at a time. To learn more visit here.

For more DEI-related campus-wide events visit here.


Learning and development

Registration is now open for the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) Winter 2021 Seminar Series. This series provides an opportunity for participants to share ideas across disciplines, improve their teaching skills, expand their repertoire of teaching methods, and gain new perspectives on teaching at Michigan. For a full list of CRLT seminars and to register for individual sessions visit our upcoming events page.



  • Through an agreement with Care.com, university faculty, staff and students can access a network of caregivers in their area. The service includes caregivers for children (including tutors), adults, seniors, pets and more. The monthly membership fee is covered but employees and students will be responsible for the cost of the care they utilize. This benefit is currently available through mid-January 2022. Visit umich.care.com to get started. If you already have a premium membership to Care.com, you may be eligible for a reimbursement after signing up for U-M's Care@Work program. Contact Care.com member care at 855-781-1301 for assistance.
  • 2020 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19 UHR Site (including child care resources)
  • Guide to Well-Being (including financial, mental and emotional health, ways to support colleagues, staying connected via workplace, ect…)
  • Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office (including Counseling and Consultation, Educational Classes and Discussion Groups, Stress Management, U-M Emergency Hardship Program)
  • MHealthy/Mental and Emotional Health (including online mental health screening, insurance coverage, mental health in the workplace)
  • Online Tutorial for Supervisors
  • Resources for Supervisors
  • Maize and Blue Cupboard