Tag: communication

2017 Equity and Diversity Transformation Award Recipients

2017 Equity and Diversity Transformation Award Recipients

Established by the Office for Equity and Diversity, the University of Minnesota’s Equity and Diversity Transformation Awards seek to infuse equity and diversity into every aspect of the University’s teaching, learning, research, service and outreach by funding creative yet pragmatic proposals for projects that support equity and diversity initiatives.

The focus for the 2017 awards is assessment and communication of equity and diversity efforts. Projects should focus on identifying the impact of the efforts taking place, as well as strategies for communicating that impact to a broad audience.

Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2017 Equity and Diversity Transformation Award:

AHC-Wide Inventory of Support for Underrepresented Students: Enhancing Campus Climate through Building Awareness and Connections
Center for Health Interprofessional Programs (CHIP), Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Many Academic Health Center (AHC) schools, programs and departments dedicate time and energy to supporting underrepresented students. There is, however, limited awareness of equity and diversity efforts across schools and programs. This project will focus on compiling information about AHC efforts through student services and co-curricular programs to support enrolled underrepresented students. The project will result in an AHC-wide inventory of these programs that will be used to better support student-facing initiatives and identify opportunities for more collaborative efforts to improve the student experience.

Creating Inclusive Student Recruitment in CCE Graduation Programs
College of Continuing Education (CCE) Graduate Programs, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

This multiphase initiative will focus on meaningful assessment of current efforts and services provided to create an equitable and inclusive scholarly community. The data gathered in that assessment process will inform decisions about next steps in CCE’s ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts. The project will result in a communication of findings to the college’s leadership, marketing and enrollment management teams.

Story Mapping the Bruce Vento Project
Extension Center for Family Development, University of Minnesota Extension, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The goal of this project is to build an interactive and multimedia Story Map to best capture the developmental and emergent nature of the Bruce Vento Project. The Bruce Vento Project is a University-Community partnership between Extension and the Bruce Vento Elementary School. Other schools and communities are interested in replication and there is a need for something dynamic and engaging that families, schools, communities and evaluators can access for information.

 

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Improving Climate at the Law School:  The Communication Changes That Are Helping Make It Happen

Improving Climate at the Law School: The Communication Changes That Are Helping Make It Happen

by Amelie Hyams

The Diversity Community of Practice (DCoP) is a network of individuals from across academic and non-academic units on the Twin Cities campus who are working together to share ideas, information, examples, and take action towards improving equity and diversity at the University of Minnesota. Recently the DCoP’s Communications Subcommittee has begun conducting Appreciative Inquiries, inviting our member units to share examples from their ongoing efforts on equity and diversity including improving campus climate at the U. Our plan is to share a wide range of ideas across UMN departments and units, that can serve as inspiration for everyone working on these issues since “Diversity is Everyone’s Everyday Work.”

Our thanks to DCoP members with the Law School: Nubia Esparza, Senior Coordinator of Diversity and Student Programs and Erin Keyes, Assistant Dean of Students, who are the first to share an example of work from their unit.
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Esparza and Keyes have offered insights on an internal communication effort initiated in the Law School. These communications are intended to improve campus climate at the Law School and inspire equity and diversity among its stakeholder communities.

They introduced us to this plan by forwarding a newsletter the Law School recently sent to their stakeholders. In addition to updates and resources, the newsletter directs readers to the Law School’s website section containing resources and information about issues of equity and diversity.

In their response to my questions about these communications, Esparza and Keyes discussed the rationale for the plan, the approach they have used, and some assessment of how effective these efforts have been, so far.

How long has the Law School had a Diversity page on their website – is this new?

We’ve had a Diversity page for some time, but it was buried and rarely updated. The new version, which launched with our website overhaul last Fall [2015], has been adjusted over the course of the year to add links to key content within and beyond the Law School (including the Campus Climate page). New to this version is the calendar feature, where we add diversity and inclusion-related events on and off campus that may be of interest to the [Law School] community.

How often does the Law School send out these email newsletters to their stakeholders?

We circulated email updates to the Law School on behalf of the Diversity Committee in the Fall and Spring semesters. We’d like to make this a more regular feature (twice per semester as preview and wrap-up.)

Who is the intended audience for these newsletters?

The audience is the Law School community of students, faculty, and staff. This past year, the Diversity Committee’s work has been focused on internal climate issues, and fostering more avenues for open discussion. We’re certainly inextricably connected to a broader community, but the primary focus has been immediate to the Law School.

Has your invitation to suggest speakers and topics, etcetera, provided the level of engagement you had anticipated? (i.e., use this link to share your ideas, speaker suggestions, and constructive feedback with the Diversity Committee.)

We did not get significant on-going engagement/ideas from Law School community members through the general Google form, but the initial push did yield some helpful comments that we passed along for consideration by departments or programs that could respond to them. We will plan to continue to include the link in future communications and may also have it placed more prominently on the website.

Another tool that did yield some good ideas was our RSVP form for the MLK Convocation. We invited those submitting RSVP’s to make suggestions about future diversity programs, topics, and initiatives they would like to see at the Law School. [The RSVP form was included in a previous newsletter and is not available here]. Nearly 40 RSVP’d attendees made comments that we’ll consider in 2016-2017 programming.

Have there been any positive surprises from either the newsletters or the diversity page on the website?

There does seem to be an uptick in interest and inclination to discuss the sometimes-hard issues around diversity and climate. That may have happened anyway given current events, but bolstered by our communications, we’re able to foster engagement such as a [Law School] Faculty discussion on classroom climate, held on May 26, 2016.

Another surprising result of our efforts this year, which may not initially seem like “good” news, is the fact that students with specific concerns appear more open to addressing them with trusted staff or faculty.

It is our hope that highlighting diversity and inclusion initiatives and concerns may have the result of increasing students’ expectation of responsiveness.