Category: Engagement

OED Student Advisory Team, 2016-2017

OED Student Advisory Team, 2016-2017

The Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) Student Advisory Team is a cohort of undergraduate and graduate/professional students interested in engaging more deeply with the work of achieving the University of Minnesota’s most ambitious equity and diversity goals. Advisory team members play a pivotal role in advising the Vice President and OED leadership on policies, procedures and best practices, and assisting us in assessing our current student-facing programs and initiatives. Similarly, advisory team members serve as ambassadors of OED to the campus community, will work to foster a campus climate in which all students can achieve their full potential as learners and leaders, and will promote equity and diversity as a collective, shared responsibility of all members of the campus community.

We are thrilled to welcome and work with the 2016-2017 OED Student Advisory Team:

  • Roqayah Ajaj, Organizational Leadership and Policy Development
  • Deandra Bardell, Mathematics
  • Aravind Boddupalli, Political Science & Economics
  • Angela Carter, Feminist Studies
  • Max Chu, Political Science
  • Cara Claflin, Strategic Communication
  • Rebecca Cohen-Rencountre, Cultural Anthropology/American Indian Studies
  • Calvary Diggs, School Psychology
  • Kaylan Fernandez, Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance & Political Science
  • Dylan Galos, Epidemiology
  • Emily Horton, Organizational Leadership and Policy Development
  • Katty Kropf, Psychology, English, Neuroscience & Addiction Science
  • Ariana Lopez, Chicano & Latino Studies
  • Rebecca Mintz, Community Health Promotion
  • Simran Mishra, Finance
  • Megan Niemuth, Undecided
  • Matthew Odumuyiwa, Undecided
  • Andrea Paygar-Flangiah, Undeclared
  • Nadia Pedersen, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Rajesh Satpathy, Global Studies
  • Meida Surya, Human Resource Development
  • Heider Tun Tun, History
  • Kyle Whipple, STEM Education
  • May Yang, Organizational Leadership and Policy Development
  • Amy Zhang, Medicine
Don’t Miss the Appleby Hall Block Party!

Don’t Miss the Appleby Hall Block Party!

Greater Than 7 is over, but the opportunity to make meaningful connections continues with the Appleby Hall Block Party!

Thursday, October 6, 2016
12:00-2:30 p.m.
Appleby Hall

Everyone is welcome to come explore the resources housed in Appleby Hall (including three OED units, which are in bold below), enter to win a raffle prize, and enjoy free food and music!

Initiators:  Office for Equity and Diversity and Office for Student Affairs through Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, The Aurora Center, Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life, Women’s Center, Student Counseling Services, Multicultural Student Engagement, Housing and Residential Life, Orientation & First Year Programs

Co-Sponsored with Appleby Partners and Participants: Center for Community Engaged Learning/Leadership Minor/MLK Program/Office for Fraternity & Sorority Life/Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity/Parent & Family Program/President’s Emerging Scholars/Student and Community Relations/Student Conflict Resolution Center/Student Parent Help Center/Student Writing Support

For more information:

BCED Installs Computer Labs at Local Churches and Community Centers

BCED Installs Computer Labs at Local Churches and Community Centers

As a result of the Office for Business and Community Economic Development‘s (BCED) new partnership with the Stairstep Foundation, the BCED Technology Empowerment Center installed computer labs at 10 churches throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul communities. A computer lab was also upgraded with 8 new desktop computers at the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center. Over 80 computers in total have been installed in and will be made available to children and local residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul communities.

The mission of the Technology Empowerment Center (TEC) is to create innovative partnerships that bring technology to underserved populations by focusing on closing the digital gap and providing access to computer technology and software training. TEC aims to reduce the growing inequality of access to information technologies among low-income and disadvantaged groups. Learn more about the Technology Empowerment Center »

​University of Minnesota Lowers WMDBE Thresholds from $500,000 to $50,000

​University of Minnesota Lowers WMDBE Thresholds from $500,000 to $50,000

Originally posted on the blog of Darryl Peal, Executive Director of the Office for Business & Community Economic Development; reposted with permission.

University of Minnesota is very proud to announce the realignment of thresholds for which it requires majority owned businesses to engage women, minority, and business owned by disabled persons (WMDBEs) for sub contractual opportunities on University of Minnesota purchases.  Prior to January 1, 2016 the thresholds for the engagement and utilization of WMDBEs for Goods and Services contracts was $500,000.  The new Threshold for the engagement of WMDBEs is $50,000 for all University of Minnesota Goods and Service purchases.  Under the new policy, the Targeted Business Program requires that a contractor, as a condition of bidding on any goods and service purchase where the aggregate project sum exceeds $50,000, present objective evidence demonstrating their commitment to achieve meaningful levels of participation of targeted businesses as subcontractors and suppliers.

The University of Minnesota Office for Business and Community Economic Development (BCED) is laser-focused on increasing the utilization of WMDBEs in the University’s supply chain.  In FY 2015 U of M’s total spend with WMDBE suppliers increased by $13 million dollars from $46 Million in FY 2014 to $59 Million in FY 2015.  In construction, the University experienced a 14% increase and spent $43 Million dollars with WMDBE firms, up from $28 million in FY 2014.

“Lowering these thresholds aligns our policies and our mission.  By reducing the threshold by $450,000, the number of opportunities for WMDBEs to do business University will increase dramatically.” said Darryl A. Peal, Executive Director of the University of Minnesota Office for Business and Community Economic Development.

University of Minnesota Supplier DiversityThe U of M Board of Regents (Board) supports the use of the purchasing power of the University of Minnesota (University) to enhance equal employment and business opportunities for minorities, women, and disabled persons. Consistent with the Board’s long-standing policies and achievements in advancing diversity, equal employment opportunity, and affirmative action, the University is committed to promote actively the utilization of businesses owned and operated by minorities, women, and disabled persons (targeted businesses), and to prevent discriminatory practices against such businesses.

Consistent with the University’s outreach and public service mission, it is appropriate that the University foster economic growth in the urban communities of which it is a part. Reduction of poverty and unemployment in the urban community is of vital interest to the University. The University shall take advantage of opportunities, presented by its construction projects and its contracts for goods and services, to promote the training and employment of urban community residents in skilled trades and professions.

The U of M thresholds and policies for construction will remain the same.  The U of M’s Targeted Business Program for construction projects requires that a contractor, as a condition of bidding on any construction contract where the aggregate project sum exceeds $100,000, present objective evidence demonstrating: (1) its past record and continuing commitment to achieve meaningful levels of participation of targeted businesses (WMDBEs) as subcontractors and suppliers; and (2) its commitment to achieve meaningful levels of employment of minorities, women and disabled persons.

The Urban Community Economic Development program requires, as a condition of any construction contract where the aggregate project sum exceeds $100,000, that the contractor: (a) employ meaningful numbers of residents of urban communities, such communities designated by the administration based upon levels of poverty and unemployment; and (b) collaborate with the University in the development, funding and implementation of programs designed to train residents of such urban communities and to increase the number of such urban residents who are skilled and union-certified in building trades to participate in construction projects at the University.

If you are a WMDB and are interested in doing business with the University of Minnesota register for MBid by going to, choosing the New Supplier Registration Link and following the directions provided.  You will be asked to provide certification as a WMDB by one of the following U of M recognized certifying organizations:

[Header image credit: Office for Business & Community Economic Development, 2015]

Sharing A Great IDEA

Sharing A Great IDEA

A Conversation with Dr. Michael Goh & Dr. Priscilla Gibson

March, 2016

“The idea around IDEA – pun intended – is that we can grow a community of scholars who care about equity, diversity and social justice issues.”

That’s how Professor Michael Goh answered the question, “What is the Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy, (IDEA) and what does it do?”

Dr. Goh is a professor in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in the College of Education and Human Development and he is just beginning his second year leading the institute within the Office for Equity and Diversity. Dr. Priscilla Gibson in the School of Social Work is just concluding her third year as the IDEA Faculty Development Fellow. They talked about the work being done through IDEA.

As with all units within the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED), Goh tells us his work with IDEA follows the tenet that “at the University of Minnesota, diversity is everyone’s everyday work.”

IDEA works behind the scenes through Bridge Funding and in pre-doc and post-doc programming, towards their mission to recruit and retain a diverse faculty.

But Goh feels these terms are inadequate in defining the goals of IDEA. He prefers the terms “attracting and thriving.”

“Attracting means more than just putting out a job ad and looking at applicants. It’s about actively seeking out diverse candidates through colleagues and national networks and developing relationships with potential leads,” Goh explains. He feels that that faculty candidates need to “feel that there’s a future at this university, in this community, for them to succeed.

Goh adds that he feels the term “retaining” has a survival feel to it. He prefers to be proactive in helping faculty to “thrive” here.

Gibson is helping faculty to thrive through her Faculty of Color writing workshops and through social events to help create a sense of community. “I love this term ‘thriving’”, she declares, “because I feel it is connected to welcoming and belonging.”

Gibson shares that the literature shows that faculty of color don’t always feel they belong. But forming relationships helps. And bringing people together helps form relationships.

“That’s why I think the writing group is so important,” says Gibson. “We are asking them to leave the convenience of their office or their home to come and write as a group.” Research has shown that this kind of activity, routinely gathering to work on their writing, helps writers to be much more productive and successful.

One of the most prominent programs IDEA supports is the Multicultural Research Award (MRA). This award is open to all faculty engaged in research on equity and diversity issues. Since it began in 1996, the MRA has been awarded to more than 180 faculty members. For many junior faculty, this award is often a springboard to larger, external research awards.

The MRA research is presented each spring in the Diversity Through the Disciplines Symposium, scheduled this year for May 5, 2016. These presentations highlight the interdisciplinary breadth of multicultural research and are open to the public. They provide the presenters a forum to share their discoveries with colleagues and engender future research collaborations.

Faculty seeking guidance in adding diversity into teaching methods, find it in the Diversity in the Curriculum workshops. These sessions are offered twice a year and represent a partnership between Gibson (IDEA) and Dr. Anita Gonzalez at the Center for Educational Innovation.

Recently Goh and Gibson have been working with Virajita Singh, Assistant Vice Provost with OED. They are trying to learn more about faculty’s perception of the work of equity and diversity in higher education, how have they been involved, where are we now and – what does this indicate for the future?

Goh is pleased that, “there is a lot more interest from administrators, faculty, staff, and students,” about equity and diversity work. Goh explains that, “student, faculty, and community activism clearly signal different ways in which we all seem to go about this work.”

This research project, says Goh “is not trying to intellectualize the issue but is a genuine attempt to learn about what motivates the different ways we engage in equity and diversity work so that we can potentially coalesce rather than collide in our efforts.”

Their findings from this research will be presented at the upcoming Keeping Our Faculty Symposium VII (April 17-19, 2016). This biennial conference has been held since 1998. So – why is this gathering still so important?

Goh tells us the symposium founders recognized the need to work together to create change. “And they recognized that no one university, no one office, no one group of scholars has the answers. Hence, the need to confer nationally about how to address this issue.”

“Issues continue to be identified,” adds Gibson, “as people become a little more comfortable, a little more empowered to talk about their lived experience as underrepresented faculty”

This makes Gibson especially excited that for this symposium “we have some of the best minds coming here to discuss, to critique and to analyze.”

“We are bringing up the next generation of scholars, and university administrators”, Gibson says. “We still need to develop that cadre.”

Goh feels, “there are a lot of good ideas being generated by higher education scholars locally and around the country that we can learn from. We need to cultivate the wisdom that is already out there and we need to be committed to moving to action.”

“Our goal for this symposium,” Goh says, “is to provide a space for scholars, campus leaders, and students to critically and honestly engage on urgent issues confronting faculty diversity so that we can discover meaningful, practical, and effective solutions for our campus and beyond.”

[Header photo credit: Amelie Hyams]