Campus Climate Study

The Climate Study survey instrument was created with the assistance of a consultant from the University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning and input from various National Science Foundation ADVANCE campus offices. A variety of methods and tools will be used to determine if progress is being made in response to the Climate Survey recommendations. These tools include annual longitudinal review of numbers and diversity of faculty, students, and staff; ongoing focus groups; formative evaluation of workshops and professional development activities designed to address issues identified by the Climate Survey; use of other related survey responses as comparison; and, eventually, a follow-up to the Climate Survey. Change in policies, procedures, language, and our physical spaces will be indicators of a more-inclusive environment. Change in behavior related to inclusiveness will be the most significant measure. The outcome will be recruitment, retention, teaching, and research practices that reflect a fully engaged, diverse community that supports our University mission and strategic plan.

The full Climate Survey Report and Recommendations is available here. Questions concerning the Climate Survey and the ongoing Climate Study can be directed to Jill Hodges, Director, Institutional Equity.

Areas for Improvement in Campus Diversity

The issues most frequently identified by respondents as concerns or areas for improvement to the campus climate were initially categorized into five general areas:

Definition of Diversity

The Climate Survey results challenge us to define our various perspectives of diversity, which can broadly apply to a range of human differences, including race, sex, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, physical and cognitive ability, social class, religion, and culture as well as the unique diversity that veterans bring to our campus community. The University’s strategic plan commits to attracting and supporting a world-class and diverse faculty, staff, and student population, and to providing an outstanding work environment and support opportunities for all members of the Michigan Tech community. This will require a sustained commitment to increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of the University’s domestic students, faculty, and staff and the percentage of females in disciplines in which they are underrepresented. We must also recruit a healthy mix of international students and faculty.

Concurrently, as the composition of the University community becomes more diverse, other aspects of diversity must be addressed. For example, the Climate Survey results point to the necessity for ensuring a safe and welcoming campus and community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) students, faculty, and staff; meeting the needs of first generation, nontraditional, and economically disadvantaged students; increasing the numbers of students enrolled across a wide range of disciplines; addressing issues related to the many different religious or spiritual practices on our campus; and focusing on strategies to retain our diverse students, faculty, and staff. Such elements of diversity will require attention if we continue to build a truly inclusive culture at Michigan Tech that offers students the full benefits of diversity and opportunities to gain critical multicultural skills for the global workforce. A commitment to diversity must remain part of the institution’s strategic plan. A climate of diversity requires that each individual contribute to this vision. As we encourage an active involvement in the life of the University, it is especially important that we:

  • integrate diversity across the curriculum;
  • foster a culture that values multiple perspectives; and
  • create an environment in which all members can be successful.

While the University desires more ethnic, racial, and gender diversity in its students, staff, and faculty, it also sees the diversity initiative as a learning imperative that includes people with a variety of perspectives contributing to our education mission. Michigan Tech must ensure that all University students, faculty, and staff are valued, experience a safe environment, and are engaged in teaching and learning that recognize our diversity as a powerful resource. The president, executive team, special assistant to the president, deans, department chairs, and directors must clearly and consistently call attention to our efforts to achieve short- and long-term goals for diversity and communicate that these efforts are essential to Michigan Tech’s vision of being a premier research university of international stature.

Recommendations

  • Develop a University diversity policy (often referred to as a diversity mission) that drives the accomplishment of the University mission, strategic plan, Diversity Framework, and the recommendations drawn from the ongoing climate analysis
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Executive Team, Institutional Diversity
  • Integrate diversity in all University functions, from fundraising efforts to faculty research, program curricula, and even to landscaping and physical plant design
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Executive Team, Institutional Diversity
  • Regularly assess all academic and administrative units’ progress in meeting unit and University diversity-related goals, and report results to the University community
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Institutional Diversity, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors
  • Utilize resources, e.g., books, training, or conferences, that address such issues as affirmative action, strategies for recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, curricular development, and legal issues to help campus leaders engage their units in this initiative.
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Institutional Diversity, Deans, Department Chairs,Directors, Faculty
  • Ensure that professional development programs and University policies and procedures address issues related to students, faculty, and staff who are not in the majority, such as persons who are nontraditional, international, GLBT, or part of a religious or ideological minority.
  • Lead Responsibility: Diversity Council, Executive Team, Institutional Diversity, Human Resources, Deans
  • Regularly publicize and educate the University community about the Michigan Tech Harassment and Discrimination Policy and provide multiple ways to report and address related issues.
  • Lead Responsibility: Affirmative Programs
  • Continue to carefully expand the degree programs and interdisciplinary collaborations to increase the diversity of thought and the diversity of faculty and students.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans, Department Chairs, Faculty
  • Support diversity-related curricular reform through workshops and other professional development opportunities for faculty.
  • Lead Responsibility: Diversity Council, Provost, Institutional Diversity, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development.

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University Communications

Respondents believe that the University’s commitment to diversity needs to be frequently and publicly articulated. Critical to achieving this goal is the role played by staff and administrators who generate Michigan Tech’s internal and external communications. All communications must reflect the importance and seriousness of the initiative, and provide clear, consistent statements about the changes the University undertakes to achieve diversity, the value of diversity for all constituents, and how this commitment helps fulfill Michigan Tech’s mission. The University’s websites, brochures, magazines, and other communications should be used to describe and demonstrate integration of diverse perspectives into the University culture. Tech Today, the Lode, and the Michigan Tech Magazine, as well as local, regional, and national press releases, should subtly and sometimes boldly illustrate our increasingly diverse and inclusive campus. Our expectations that these efforts will significantly improve the education provided to all students and will enhance the creativity, opportunity, and productivity of the University’s research environment must be clearly articulated.

University Marketing and Communications staff, working closely with the president, executive team, special assistant for institutional diversity, the deans and chairs, the Lode, and external media, will lead this endeavor.

Recommendations

  • Use inclusive language in all University communications, including applications and forms.
  • Lead Responsibility: University Marketing and Communications, Individual Units
  • Include a set of strategies in the University Marketing and Communications’ strategic plan that addresses its role in the University’s diversity initiative. Staff members assigned to this effort will be expected to actively seek out related story lines.
  • Lead Responsibility: University Marketing and Communications
  • Continue to schedule regular participation in diversity workshops and other professional development by Marketing and Communications staff to support their ability to successfully lead this effort.
  • Lead Responsibility: University Marketing and Communications

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Recruitment and Retention

Respondents are emphatic about the critical need for greater numbers of female and domestic minority students, faculty, and staff. A majority of survey respondents agree that it is appropriate and necessary for Michigan Tech to actively recruit women and racial and ethnic minorities and to provide personal and program support for students, faculty, and staff.

Recommendations

Hiring Faculty and Staff

  • Take advantage of the large turnover due to upcoming faculty retirements to develop and implement strong recruitment and search process plans for faculty diversity.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, AQIP, Deans, Department Chairs, Institutional Diversity
  • Develop a process in which faculty and administrative hiring is coordinated, i.e., search teams are trained, hiring pools are diverse, and issues such as dual hires are addressed. Nondiverse pools should not be permitted to proceed unless the search committee can demonstrate that it has made significant efforts to attract a broad pool of candidates.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, AQIP, Deans, Department Chairs
  • Place a priority on hiring diverse individuals in critical, nonacademic areas such as advising, student life, counseling, and public safety.
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Vice Presidents, Directors
  • Grow our own faculty by partnering with other universities to provide a postdoc exchange program for potential Michigan Tech faculty.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans, Department Chairs
  • Develop and implement dual career strategies such as a job pool with other local employers (hospitals, Finlandia University, etc.) to assist with partner hires and relocation efforts.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Human Resources
  • Carefully review all recruitment, screening, and selection processes for potential faculty and graduate student positions to ensure a holistic review of each candidate.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans

Recruitment and Retention of Students

  • Continue to identify barriers to, and take advantage of opportunities for, recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff.
  • Lead Responsibility: All, Educational Opportunity, Enrollment Management, Academic Units
  • Continue to develop and refine recruitment strategies that attract diverse students who bring unique perspectives to Michigan Tech. Encourage a holistic view of admissions; for example, add a short essay question to both the graduate and undergraduate applications, such as, through your life experiences and background, what unique perspectives and contributions will you bring to the University community?
  • Lead Responsibility: Enrollment, Marketing and Communications, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Use the Admissions selection process to build a broadly diverse student body that will contribute to the intellectual development of all.
  • Lead Responsibility: Enrollment, Marketing and Communications, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Ensure that all new programs (e.g. Enterprises and institutes) establish a process to recruit diverse participants.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Faculty, Program Directors
  • Ensure that professional support organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE), and others that serve as anchors for underrepresented students maintain an adequate level of staff mentorship, funding, and programming.
  • Lead Responsibility: Educational Opportunity, Deans, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Build strong Cass Tech–like relationships with additional target high schools by using a multi-pronged approach (e.g., Riverside in Milwaukee; and Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Charter School in Chicago), to recruit students.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunity, Admissions
  • Aggressively recruit precollege Youth Programs alumni.
  • Lead Responsibility: Admissions

Financial and Institutional Support

  • Ensure that the diversity initiative is one of the categories in Michigan Tech’s capital campaign.
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Institutional Diversity, Advancement
  • Provide appropriate financial support and rewards to those who are successful in building on the University’s current outreach partnerships and academic support programs.
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Deans, Directors
  • Provide appropriate financial support for student success programs that meet the personal, professional, and academic assistance needs of all students.
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Deans, Directors
  • Provide financial incentives for academic departments that require a diverse candidate pool for all of their open positions and which actively seek out potential diverse faculty candidates. When exceptional candidates are identified, it is imperative that an academic unit, with the assistance of the dean and provost, has opportunities to hire even if no positions are currently open in that unit.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans
  • Budget adequate funds for recruitment of diverse undergraduates.
  • Lead Responsibility: Vice President for Student Affairs, Enrollment, Marketing and Communications
  • Budget adequate funds for recruitment of graduate students from institutions with a large percentage of female and/or domestic minority undergraduate students.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans, Department Chairs
  • Provide a pool of money for visits and scholarships to ensure sustained recruitment of graduate students through professional organizations like NSBE, SHPE, AISES, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) as well as Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCU), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and Puerto Rican and Mexican universities.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans, Department Chairs
  • Identify and hire a GLBT staff advocate and provide an appropriate SS&E budget.
  • Lead Responsibility: Vice President for Student Affairs, Educational Opportunity
  • Budget adequate funds to help address dual career partner issues as effectively and efficiently as possible.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Executive Team
  • Identify individuals in every department/unit who will have diversity responsibilities, and specifically add this to job descriptions. Convene these individuals as an internal advisory and implementation group or diversity council for the special assistant and president.
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Institutional Diversity, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors

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Dialogue and Training to Improve Campus Climate

The Climate Survey and focus group results indicate that a significant number of staff feel undervalued by their supervisors and by faculty. The manner in which staff members interact with students plays a major role in the way our students feel about Michigan Tech and in student retention. It is important that the University include all staff in our mission, valuing their knowledge and skills to improve our campus climate. Creating an environment of respect and inclusion will improve the climate for both staff and students.

Hourly employees indicate that they often feel removed from the University’s diversity initiatives. Faculty and professional staff responses show that they support a diversity initiative; however, a large percentage were not certain how they could contribute.

Students, faculty, and staff indicate that the University’s diversity initiative is not shared or taught consistently.

Recommendations

Building an Inclusive Environment

  • Require training for middle managers, directors, and department chairs regarding diversity awareness, sensitivity topics, and improved communication.
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Executive Team, Institutional Diversity
  • Establish specific expectations for middle managers, directors, and department chairs related to supervision, mentoring, communication, harassment and discrimination, and other human development responsibilities for position performance reviews.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Institutional Diversity, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors
  • Include diversity awareness, intercultural skills, and/or the value of diverse life experiences in all job descriptions at Michigan Tech.
  • Lead Responsibility: Human Resources
  • Formulate and implement a plan to provide opportunities for more-frequent communication with, and training related to diversity for, hourly employees.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Human Resources, Unions
  • Work with Human Resources and union representatives to identify ways to use attendance at campus diversity events and programs as part of a staff professional development plan.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Human Resources, Unions
  • Cultivate the essential value and need for intercultural skills to all students through course work, campus speakers, communications pieces, and classroom management.
  • Lead Responsibility: Writing Centers, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development, General Education, Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunity, Faculty
  • Support underrepresented students who do not experience a critical mass environment by providing social and learning experiences through collaborative programs and functions with other institutions in the state or region.
  • Lead Responsibility: Student Life, Educational Opportunity

Orientations

  • Ensure that all orientation messages to new students, faculty, and staff integrate diversity as an essential component.
  • Lead Responsibility: Student Life, Vice President for Student Affairs, Educational Opportunity
  • Send a clear message from the president about the intellectual, professional, and personal benefits of building diversity and cultural competencies. Emphasize the University’s expectations for student learning and behavior in regard to respect, tolerance, and diversity.
  • Lead Responsibility: President
  • Continue to integrate diversity-related topics into new student orientation sessions and ongoing programming conducted by COMPASS.
  • Lead Responsibility: Vice President for Student Affairs, Student Life, Educational Opportunity

Engaging Students

  • Assign additional diversity-related responsibilities to resident assistants, and provide training to help them promote informal interaction and discussion on diversity topics.
  • Lead Responsibility: Student Life
  • Provide a variety of structured formats through University administrative and academic departments in which students can positively engage in dialogue about diversity issues.
  • Lead Responsibility: Vice President for Student Affairs, Educational Opportunity, Student Life, Institutional Diversity, Department Chairs, Faculty
  • Identify additional opportunities to engage students in activities related to diversity.
  • Lead Responsibility: Student Affairs, Academic Affairs
  • Encourage Martin Luther King Jr. Day diversity activities to be initiated by academic and student affairs units and by student clubs and organizations. Promote these activities campus wide.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Institutional Diversity, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Encourage Undergraduate Student Government and Student Life to set aside student organization funds for events that would require inter-organizational involvement and/or sponsorship of cross-cultural or diversity programming.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Vice President for Student Affairs, USG, GSC
  • Create opportunities to build diversity elements into all events and programming for students, e.g., add a diversity-related question/s to the Summer Reading program discussion.
  • Lead Responsibility: Student Affairs

Engaging the University

  • Provide ally training for greater numbers of students, faculty, and staff in the University community, and build a climate that demonstrates an appreciation for all groups and individuals.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Institutional Diversity, Vice President for Student Affairs, Educational Opportunity
  • Create a President’s Institutional Diversity Award.
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Institutional Diversity
  • Add contributions to the University diversity initiatives as part of all employees’ annual reviews.
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Human Resources
  • Add a section in the faculty vita update that includes efforts undertaken to support the University’s diversity initiatives.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost
  • As part of an effort to understand how to create a more-inclusive environment, foster a closer examination of positions and identities of social privilege such as being white, male, and/or a US citizen through specific dialogues and programming.
  • Lead Responsibility: Affirmative Programs, Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunity
  • Ensure regular opportunities for faculty to be engaged in topics such as creating and facilitating effective student teams, improving communication skills in the classroom, nurturing an inclusive classroom environment, and integrating international and domestic diversity issues across the curriculum. The provost and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development should play leadership roles in this effort.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development, Institutional Diversity
  • Establish a competitive grant fund to support faculty who would like to address critical areas, such as the integration of diversity components in curriculum, intercultural communication, team building, and reconfiguration of a more-diverse classroom.
  • Lead Responsibility: Provost, Deans

These actions will increase awareness, overcome misperceptions, enhance relevance, and provide a richer learning environment and higher level of excellence for all.

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Work Environment and Space

The need for increased opportunities for dialogue and interactions with others across campus is a clear message from each group of respondents. These kinds of informal gatherings often lead to more-productive work relationships and the appreciation of diversity. Respondents indicated that there are too few welcoming places on campus where people can meet in an informal, social atmosphere to share their work and get to know others.

Students also indicated a need for space to socialize as well as to undertake course work that requires collaboration. They stated a need for an environment that offers a variety of venues in which to exchange ideas about broad topics related to diversity and climate.

The majority of staff supports gender, racial, and ethnic diversity efforts, but a large percentage of respondents, especially from the hourly staff, focused on the more immediate work environment and their feelings of lack of respect and lack of empowerment to contribute.

Finally, the extent to which the local community accepts Michigan Tech’s diversity initiative will impact our success. Businesses, religious organizations, schools, and civic groups that are welcoming of students, faculty, and staff from many different backgrounds will influence their decisions to come here and to stay.

Recommendations

  • Form a committee on public art and spaces to examine the physical and symbolic representations of diversity across campus. Implement changes to highlight a diverse campus and plan gathering spaces to encourage informal interactions.
  • Lead Responsibility: Vice President for Administration, Institutional Diversity
  • Charge the Student Commission to work with the director of campus facilities operations to identify campus spaces that invite informal interactions. Inform students and faculty about what is already available, and work with Campus Facilities to develop new spaces to help address space concerns.
  • Lead Responsibility: Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Establish regular focus groups with staff to discuss specific issues in their work environment that are not currently being addressed.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Human Resources
  • Encourage all faculty, staff, and graduate students to consider how their offices communicate openness, sensitivity, and inclusivity for all visitors and colleagues through images, symbols, celebrations, magazines, etc.
  • Lead Responsibility: All, Institutional Diversity
  • Consider diversity issues when planning construction and building projects. Those issues include facility design for auditory and visual impairments, restroom design (e.g., unisex restrooms), and other structural adaptations required to reasonably accommodate a diverse campus community.
  • Lead Responsibility: Dean of Students, Vice President for Administration
  • Although not specifically referenced in the survey responses, the steering committee suggests that the administration consider the establishment of a multicultural center, a visible place that helps facilitate educational dialogue, presentations, informal discussions, and meetings; displays or hosts art exhibits; and provides a gathering place for the University community.
  • Lead Responsibility: Executive Team, Educational Opportunity
  • Invite the local community to participate in Michigan Tech’s diversity programs.
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunity
  • Tap into existing resources, such as the Community Reads project with the Portage Lake District Library and/or a Study Circles community discussion project to enhance the climate both on and off campus.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunity, Student Affairs
  • Collaborate with the local community to engage them in efforts to enhance the local climate for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Lead Responsibility: Institutional Diversity, Educational Opportunity, Student Affairs
  • Work with the community to provide a greater variety of entertainment and events that generate positive cultural learning experiences. Promote the local environment to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Lead Responsibility: President, Institutional Diversity, All

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After a comprehensive review of the Climate Survey and focus group responses by the Climate Study Steering Committee, no additional categories were added, and specific recommendations were developed. This second report presents a more complete set of recommendations and identifies the individuals or units that will have the responsibility of taking a leadership role to implement each recommendation. The Addendum lists the recommendations in terms of the financial commitment required to ensure their implementation and identifies the recommendations, as of April 2006, that are already being addressed. As the responses of various subgroups are examined more closely, and additional focus groups are conducted, other actions will be recommended in follow-up reports.

Conclusion

The University’s strategic plan reflects the institution’s core values and encourages consistent and persistent attention to its critical interests and goals. Diversity, as a significant contributor to the vitality of University life and function, has to be an explicit and central component of the University’s strategic plan.

Given the University’s strategic plan, the climate study provides the opportunity to examine our collective and individual perspectives and behaviors and to identify problems and solutions consistent with achieving Michigan Tech’s goals. We can and should take action to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff are diverse and that the context in which they work is one that supports treating all members of the campus community with respect and equity. The Climate Survey and focus groups provide a baseline from which we can measure our progress toward these goals.

The Climate Study Steering Committee recommends that annual focus groups be conducted to assess progress in critical areas identified by the preliminary and summary reports. Annual review and modification of unit and University diversity plans must be required and should reflect ongoing analysis of the survey and focus group data. In addition, our successes, challenges, and model efforts need to be communicated to the campus community.

Michigan Tech’s vision to be a premier research university of international stature requires an open and inclusive climate, which is best achieved when its students, faculty, and staff reflect different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, scholarly pursuits, points of view, and ways of life. Such a university attracts the best and brightest who come from all walks of life and seek environments where they will have the opportunity to thrive. Michigan Tech has many challenges with respect to recruiting diverse students, faculty and staff. Some of the solutions involve increased funding for hiring, scholarships, training, and space for engagement and interaction.

Other solutions are as simple as opening our minds to the possibilities and opportunities to learn from others who are different from us and taking the time to interact in meaningful ways. Such openness is a hallmark of an institution that is productive, vibrant, and caring as it welcomes future development with confidence. The Climate Study Steering Committee urges all students, faculty, and staff to regularly dedicate some portion of their time to meeting and learning from others who offer new and different perspectives. Only in this way can the recommendations in this report enable us to achieve an open and inclusive climate which respects and fosters diversity.

Areas for Improvement at 'Low-to-no' Financial Commitment

Definition of Diversity

  • Develop a University diversity policy (often referred to as a diversity mission) that drives the accomplishment of the University mission, strategic plan, diversity framework, and the recommendations drawn from the ongoing climate analysis.*
  • Integrate diversity in all University functions, from fundraising efforts to faculty research, program curricula, and even to landscaping and physical plant design.
  • Regularly assess all academic and administrative units’ progress in meeting unit and University diversity-related goals and report results to the University community.*
  • Ensure that professional development programs and University policies and procedures address issues related to students, faculty, and staff who are not in the majority, such as persons who are nontraditional, international, GLBT, or part of a religious or ideological minority.*
  • Regularly publicize and educate the University community about the Michigan Tech Harassment and Discrimination Policy and provide multiple ways to report and address related issues.*

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University Communications

  • Use inclusive language in all University communications, including applications and forms.
  • Include a set of strategies in the University Marketing and Communications’ strategic plan that addresses its role in the University’s diversity initiative. Staff members assigned to this effort will be expected to actively seek out related story lines.
  • Continue to schedule regular participation in diversity workshops and other professional development by Marketing and Communications staff to support their ability to successfully lead this effort.

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Recruitment and Retention

Recruitment and Retention of Students

  • Ensure that all new programs (e.g., Enterprises, institutes) establish a process to recruit diverse participants.
  • Aggressively recruit precollege Youth Programs alumni.*
  • Continue to develop and refine recruitment strategies that attract diverse students who bring unique perspectives to Michigan Tech. Encourage a holistic view of admissions; add a short essay question to both the graduate and undergraduate applications, such as, Through your life experiences and background, what unique perspectives and contributions will you bring to the University community?*
  • Use the Admissions selection process to build a broadly diverse student body that will contribute to the intellectual development of all.

Financial and Institutional Support

  • Ensure that the diversity initiative is one of the categories in Michigan Tech’s capital campaign.

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Dialogue and Training to Improve Campus Climate

Building an Inclusive Environment

  • Establish specific expectations for middle managers, directors, and department chairs related to supervision, mentoring, communication, harassment and discrimination, and other human development responsibilities for position performance reviews.
  • Include diversity awareness, intercultural skills, and/or the value of diverse life experiences in all job descriptions at Michigan Tech.
  • Work with Human Resources and union representatives to identify ways to use attendance at campus diversity events and programs as part of a staff development plan.

Orientations

  • Ensure that all orientation messages to new students, faculty, and staff include a diversity reference.*
  • Send a clear message from the president about the intellectual, professional, and personal benefits of building diversity and cultural competencies. Include the University’s expectations for student learning and behavior in regard to respect, tolerance, and diversity.
  • Continue to integrate diversity-related topics into new student orientation sessions and ongoing programming conducted by COMPASS.*

Engaging Students

  • Assign additional diversity-related responsibilities to resident assistants, and provide training to help them promote informal interaction and discussion on diversity topics.*
  • Encourage Martin Luther King Jr. Day diversity activities to be initiated by academic and student affairs units and by student clubs and organizations. Promote these activities campus wide.
  • Create opportunities to build diversity elements into all events and programming for students, e.g., add a diversity-related question/s to the Summer Reading program discussion.
  • Identify additional opportunities to engage students in activities related to diversity.

Engaging the University

  • Add a section in the faculty vita update that includes efforts undertaken to support the University’s diversity initiatives.
  • Add contributions to the University diversity initiatives as part of all employees’ annual reviews.
  • Provide ally training for greater numbers of students, faculty, and staff in the University community and build a climate that demonstrates an appreciation for all groups and individuals.*
  • Create a President’s Institutional Diversity Award.

(top)

Work Environment and Space

  • Form a committee on public art and spaces to examine the physical and symbolic representations of diversity across campus. Implement changes to highlight a diverse campus and plan gathering spaces to encourage informal interactions.
    Charge the Student Commission to work with the director of Campus Facilities Operations to identify campus spaces that invite informal interactions. Inform students and faculty about what is already available, and work with Campus Facilities to develop new spaces to help address space concerns.*
  • Establish regular focus groups with staff to discuss specific issues in their work environment that are not currently being addressed.
  • Encourage all faculty, staff, and graduate students to consider how their offices communicate through images, symbols, celebrations, magazines, etc., about openness, sensitivity, and inclusivity for all visitors and colleagues.
  • Invite the local community to participate in Michigan Tech’s diversity programs.*
  • Tap into existing resources, such as the Community Reads project with the Portage Lake District Library and/or a Study Circles community discussion project, to enhance the climate both on and off campus.
  • Collaborate with the local community to engage them in efforts to enhance the local climate for students, faculty, and staff.*

(top)

Areas for Improvement at 'Some' Financial Commitment

Definition of Diversity

  • Utilize resources, e.g., books, training, or conferences, that address such issues as affirmative action, strategies for recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, curricular development, and legal issues to help campus leaders engage their units in this initiative.*
  • Support diversity-related curricular reform through workshops and other professional development opportunities for faculty.

Recruitment and Retention

Hiring Faculty and Staff

  • Develop a process in which faculty and administrative hiring is coordinated i.e., search teams are trained, hiring pools are diverse, and issues such as dual hires are addressed. Non-diverse pools should not be permitted to proceed unless the search committee can demonstrate that it has made significant efforts to attract a broad pool of candidates.*
  • Place a priority on hiring diverse individuals in critical, nonacademic areas such as advising, student life, counseling, and public safety.
  • Carefully review all recruitment, screening, and selection processes for potential faculty and graduate student positions to ensure a holistic review of each candidate.
  • Take advantage of the large turnover due to upcoming faculty retirements to develop and implement strong recruitment and search process plans for faculty diversity.

Recruitment and Retention of Students

  • Continue to identify barriers to, and take advantage of opportunities for, recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff.*
  • Ensure that professional support organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), the Society of Women in Engineering (SWE), and others that serve as anchors for underrepresented students, maintain an adequate level of staff mentorship, funding, and programming.
  • Build strong Cass Tech–like relationships with additional target high schools by using a multi-pronged approach (e.g., Riverside in Milwaukee; and Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Charter School in Chicago) to recruit students.

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Financial and Institutional Support

  • Identify individuals in every department/unit who will have diversity responsibilities and specifically add this to job descriptions. Convene these individuals as an internal advisory and implementation group or diversity council for the special assistant and president.
  • Provide appropriate financial support for student success programs that meet the personal, professional, and academic assistance needs of all students.
  • Budget adequate funds for recruitment of diverse undergraduates.
  • Budget adequate funds for recruitment of graduate students from institutions with a large percentage of female and/or domestic minority undergraduate students.
  • Identify and hire a GLBT staff advocate and provide an appropriate SS&E budget.
  • Provide appropriate financial support and rewards to those who are successful in building on the University’s current outreach partnerships and academic support programs.
  • Provide a pool of money for visits and scholarships to ensure sustained recruitment of graduate students through professional organizations like NSBE, SHPE, AISES, SACNAS, HBCU, HACU, and Puerto Rican and Mexican universities.

(top)

Dialogue and Training to Improve Campus Climate

Building an Inclusive Environment

  • Formulate and implement a plan to provide opportunities for more frequent communication with and training related to diversity for hourly employees.
  • Require training for middle managers, directors, and department chairs regarding diversity awareness, sensitivity topics, and improved communication.
  • Cultivate the essential value and need for intercultural skills to all students through course work, campus speakers, communications pieces, and classroom management.
  • Support underrepresented students who do not experience a critical mass environment by providing social and learning experiences through collaborative programs and functions with other institutions in the state or region.

(top)

Engaging Students

  • Encourage Undergraduate Student Government and Student Life to set aside student organization funds for events that would require inter-organizational involvement and/or sponsorship of cross-cultural or diversity programming.
  • Provide a variety of structured formats through University administrative units and academic departments in which students can positively engage in dialogue about diversity issues.

(top)

Engaging the University

  • As part of an effort to understand how to create a more-inclusive environment, foster a closer examination of positions and identities of social privilege such as being white, male, and/or a US citizen through specific dialogues and programming.
  • Ensure regular opportunities for faculty to be engaged in topics such as creating and facilitating effective student teams, improving communication skills in the classroom, nurturing an inclusive classroom environment, and integrating international and domestic diversity issues across the curriculum. The provost and the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development should play leadership roles in this effort.
  • Establish a competitive grant fund to support faculty who would like to address critical areas, such as integration of diversity components in curriculum, intercultural communication, team building, and reconfiguration of a more-diverse classroom.

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Work Environment and Space

  • Consider diversity issues when planning construction and building projects. Those issues include facility design for auditory and visual impairments, restroom design (e.g., unisex restrooms), and other structural adaptations required to reasonably accommodate a diverse campus community.
  • Work with the community to provide a greater variety of entertainment and events that generate positive cultural learning experiences. Promote the local environment to students and faculty.

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Areas for Improvement at 'Significant' Financial Commitment

Definition of Diversity

  • Continue to carefully expand the degree programs and interdisciplinary collaborations to increase the diversity of thought and the diversity of faculty and students.

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Recruitment and Retention

Hiring Faculty and Staff

  • Grow our own faculty by partnering with other universities to provide a postdoc exchange program for potential Michigan Tech faculty.
  • Develop and implement dual career strategies such as a job pool with other local employers (hospitals, Finlandia University, etc.) to assist with partner hires and relocation efforts.

Financial and Institutional Support

  • Budget adequate funds to address dual career partner issues as effectively and efficiently as possible.
  • Provide financial incentives for academic departments that require a diverse candidate pool for all of their open positions and which actively seek out potential diverse faculty candidates. When exceptional candidates are identified, it is imperative that an academic unit, with the assistance of the dean and provost, has opportunities to hire even if no positions are open in that unit.

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Work Environment and Space

  • Although not specifically referenced in the survey responses, the steering committee suggests that the administration consider the establishment of a multicultural center, a visible place that facilitates educational dialogue, presentations, informal discussions, and meetings; hosts displays or art exhibits; and provides a gathering place for the University community.

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Measuring Progress

Baseline data will be identified and the following tools used to track, measure, and communicate progress:

  • growth in diversity of the faculty, students and staff
  • retention rates
  • graduation rates
  • retention and satisfaction of faculty and staff
  • focus group input
  • implementation of Climate Survey recommendations
  • continued research and actions using Climate Survey data
  • annual review and updates of academic and administrative diversity plans
  • regular discussion of challenges and progress by executive team
  • professional development opportunities related to diversity
  • University Diversity Factsheet
  • annual report to the campus

The special assistant will continue to monitor issues related to campus climate, work with campus and other constituents to develop additional action plans as needed, and help coordinate institution-wide programming and professional development for faculty, students, and staff.

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