Pillar 4: Structural and Resource Support

Nearly every academic and administrative division at Miami has devoted energy and resources to improving diversity and inclusion on campus. There has been success in many areas with events, programs, curriculum, and extracurriculars developed by the students, faculty, and staff. However, we as a campus have not effectively coordinated all those efforts. That lack of coordination can create gaps or duplication in our efforts and keep us from learning from each other and utilizing our resources effectively. The Task Force will engage with each division and unit to explore and learn more about their work and to examine and evaluate our efforts as a whole. How can we re-envision our university structure to enable effective coordination of our DEI efforts? We acknowledge that not all our efforts in diversity and inclusion have worked. We will add, adapt, and advance with fresh ideas and a commitment to become as diverse, equitable, and inclusive as we can be.

Beyond our Miami University communities in Oxford, Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester, how can we work with peer institutions and affiliated organizations to take more action and seek more change? Those include the Inter-University Council (IUC) of 14 Ohio Public Institutions, the cohort of private and public institution in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, Mid-American Conference (MAC), National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), and our connectivity with Cintrifuse in Cincinnati and the many companies they support. We have many connections around the state, especially in Southwest Ohio, and the country, and already initiated interactions with them as well as our local communities to pool ideas and resources and effect more powerful change.

Recommendation 1: Restructuring Office of Institutional Diversity - Addition of Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Rationale:

To provide additional support to the Vice President of Institutional Diversity, the Office of Institutional Diversity and to ensure implementation of the recommendations and organizational priorities of the University.

Recommendation 1 Details

Accountable Party:

Human Resources/Office of Institutional Diversity

Consequences:

The addition of an SDDI and DEI Program Coordinator (recommendation #2) would allow for the Office of Institutional Diversity to be proactive in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on campus.

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Review of the Office of Institutional Diversity should be performed annually. The committee recommends the Office of Institutional Diversity, along with other critical DEI centers, programs, etc., be reviewed externally every 3 years to minimize bias in findings and recommendations and to ensure the effectiveness of programming.

Recommendation 2: Office of Institutional Diversity - Addition of Program Coordinator

Rationale:

To provide additional administrative support to the Vice President of Institutional Diversity, the Office of Institutional Diversity and to ensure the coordination of the implementation of the recommendations and organizational priorities of the University.

Recommendation 2 Details

Accountable Party:

Human Resources/Office of Institutional Diversity

Consequences:

The addition of an SDDI (recommendation #1) and DEI Program Coordinator (recommendation #2) in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on campus.

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Review of the Office of Institutional Diversity should be performed annually by the President’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group. Additionally, the committee recommends the Office of Institutional Diversity, along with other critical DEI centers, programs, etc., be reviewed externally every 3 years to minimize bias in findings and recommendations.

Recommendation 3: Office of General Counsel - Addition of Civil Rights/Title IX General Counsel

Rationale:

To provide counsel to the President and University at-large on legal matters pertaining to civil rights and Title IX. The subcommittee recommends that the position report directly to the President’s Chief Staff, VP of Institutional Diversity, or President rather than the University General Counsel.

Recommendation 3 Details

Accountable Party:

Human Resources/Office of the President

Consequences:

Potential conflict and difference of opinion and legal advice from University General Counsel and the Civil Rights/Title IX General Counsel of the Office of the President.

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

The position was posted and reporting structure defined. Success will be filling the position within the 2020 - 2021 academic year.

Recommendation 4: Academic Affairs - Permanent Faculty specializing in subjects critical to DEI initiatives

Rationale:

In order to properly educate our students on DEI initiatives and subjects, we must support the faculty who regularly teach these courses. It has been perceived by this committee that many faculty who teach these courses are the most vulnerable to economic changes (budget cuts) such as adjunct or visiting faculty. These should be protected positions, i.e. tenure-track positions, that would allow faculty in those positions to teach and develop their pedagogy to improve DEI education.

In addition, those faculty who would teach courses in the area of intercultural perspectives within the Miami Plan must have at a minimum a terminal degree either specifically ethnic studies, critical race or those with a concentration in cross cultural studies within a specific field of study (such as LGBTQ+ studies, disability studies, history, sociology, business practices, etc.) as certified within the various disciplines. A substantive research publication record in these areas can also be used to certify competencies. The goal of this requirement is to ensure that the faculty teaching intercultural perspectives are indeed competent to do so.

Recommendation 4 Details

Accountable Party:

Academic Personnel/Academic Affairs

Consequences:

Additional full-time faculty in these positions with appropriate credentials, signal to the Miami community that we are investing our faculty resources to align with the commitment to DEI education.

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Review of faculty composition within each college and department should be compared across campus by Academic Affairs. Departments with DEI efforts should be assisted to hire long-term positions, filled by faculty with the proper credentials. The Advancement Office could be used to help raise money to set up endowed chairs focused on DEI efforts. 

Regarding the teaching Assessment Mechanism of these faculty, it should be noted that studies across the country show that students in these classes tend to give lower evaluation scores because of this challenging material. We also must recognize the long history of penalizing faculty from diverse groups (people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, faculty with disabilities), particularly who teach these courses, at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). We therefore should devise a quality measure that recognizes the increased likelihood of negative student evaluations in such courses.

Recommendation 5: Divisions/Colleges - Addition of Diversity & Inclusion Liaison/Specialist

Rationale:

To provide additional support to the Office of Institutional Diversity. These positions will also ensure the communication and implementation of the DEI priorities and programming initiatives of the University and Office of Institutional Diversity within each College and Division. This recommendation calls for an unclassified position in each of these areas. The Liaison/Specialist will ensure the sustainability and implementation of DEI priorities in their particular area of the University. These individuals should be given professional development support to help them to become a Certified Diversity Professional through organizations such as the Diversity Executive Leadership Academy or Cornell University or have this certification upon hiring. It is expected that the liaisons/specialists will also have a dual reporting structure: to their current College/Division and to the Office of Institutional Diversity. Specialists/Liaison will also be considered to be a part of and appear in the organizational structure/directory for both College/Division and the Office of Institutional Diversity. The Diversity Liaison Specialist shall be involved in the hiring process (job description development, job postings, resume review, interviews, etc.) of all individuals that will be hired within their College/Division.

Recommendation 5 Details

Accountable Party:

Human Resources/Office of Institutional Diversity/College/Division

Consequences:

Additional staffing and management for the Office of Institutional Diversity. Increased efficiency and coordination of DEI efforts University wide.

Timeline:

1-3 years

Assessment Mechanism:

Regular DEI training, educational opportunities, and events in each College and Division.

Recommendation 6: Divisions/Colleges - Addition of a graduate or undergraduate student to all faculty/staff hiring committees.

Rationale:

As a key constituency of the university, it is recommended that students be added to the faculty/staff hiring committees to foster inclusiveness. The students represent the institution as it is experienced in real time and very often know when someone will or will not fit with the ethos and environment of the institution. Most importantly, they are present to speak for their constituency.

Recommendation 6 Details

Accountable Party:

Human Resources, Office of Institutional Diversity, colleges/divisions, departments

Consequences:

Administrative challenges, potential breach of confidentiality, potential increase in diversity, student-centric approach

Timeline:

< 1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Student involvement on hiring committee becomes codified in MUPM and survey of student experience following each hiring committee experience.

Recommendation 7: Land Acknowledgment.

Rationale:

Land acknowledgments are becoming an increasingly common practice when hosting events and activities across higher education. According to the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, “acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.”

Miami University's land acknowledgment states:

Miami University is located within the traditional homelands of the Myaamia and Shawnee people, who along with other indigenous groups ceded these lands to the United States in the first Treaty of Greenville in 1795. The Miami people, whose name our university carries, were forcibly removed from these homelands in 1846.

In 1972, a relationship between Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma began and evolved into a reciprocal partnership, including the creation of the Myaamia Center at Miami University in 2001. The work of the Myaamia Center serves the Miami Tribe community and is dedicated to the revitalization of Miami language and culture and to restoring that knowledge to the Myaamia people.

Miami University and the Miami Tribe are proud of this work and of the more than 140 Myaamia students who have attended Miami since 1991 through the Myaamia Heritage Award Program.

This acknowledgment can be made before a class presentation, conference, sporting event, public meeting, or university event. This acknowledgment could also be placed as a footer on our university website.

Recommendation 7 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Institutional Diversity, University Communications and Marketing, colleges/divisions

Consequences:

Lack of compliance, coordination, and oversight from event management staff, Office of Institutional Diversity, and colleges/divisions

Timeline:

Less than 1 year

Recommendation 8: Naming Rights - Recognize Nellie Craig, Miami's first African-American student, with a building named in their honor.

Rationale:

We currently do not have any buildings named after minority and/or underrepresented groups. The university has a policy in place that allows for a wider scope of naming. That policy is not utilized in the way that it can be  to bring to light the accomplishments of an individual, not just because they have donated financially.

Recommendation 8 Details

Accountable Party:

University Advancement

Consequences:

Naming buildings in honor of minority and/or underrepresented groups and telling their stories would help educate the Miami community about these communities and their impact at Miami.

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Reported plan by University Advancement for buildings, areas, rooms, etc. that are available for naming rights by minority and/or under-represented groups. This plan will include specific timelines to provide naming opportunities proportionate to those who have earned naming rights based on their financial contributions.

Recommendation 9: Scholarships/Giving - Make it permissible for scholarships to specify minority and/or underrepresented student populations in the criteria for endowing and awarding the scholarships.

Rationale:

Our committee believes that attracting and retaining minority and/or underrepresented student populations can be influenced by the financial aid packages that can be awarded. Currently, we cannot designate scholarships to be awarded to specific minority and/or underrepresented student populations. The current wording is:

Preference shall be given to students of historically underrepresented populations in order to support the educational diversity at the University consistent with the University’s mission and admissions policy.*The Donor desires that larger scholarships be awarded to fewer students. The University may modify or disregard any selection criteria if it is determined, in whole or in part, to be contrary to the law.

Our committee recommends that it be permissible for scholarships to specify minority and/or underrepresented student populations in the criteria for endowing and awarding the scholarships. We appreciate the gifts that the university receives, but we feel that it is important to go beyond preferences.

The US Department of Education 1994 Guidance determined that postsecondary institutions may use race in a narrowly tailored way to award financial aid to achieve a compelling interest in diversity. In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the view that diversity is a compelling interest. The rationales relied on in Grutter v. Bollinger to uphold a compelling diversity interest, as did the rationales relied on by Justice Powell in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, apply to institutions that use race and national origin in awarding financial aid to seek the benefits of diversity. This remains current as advice and law.

Recommendation 9 Details

Accountable Party:

University Advancement, Financial Aid, New Civil Rights/Title IX Attorney

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Scholarship policy changed to allow for specific minority and/or underrepresented student populations in the criteria for endowing and awarding the scholarships based upon evidence. Both qualitative (student experience-based) and quantitative (compositional diversity correlated to the student experience and application and yield data) must demonstrate: (1) the need for more diversity than already exists to achieve the desired educational outcomes, (2) the inadequacy of lesser consideration of race or neutral strategies, and (3) the effectiveness of the exclusive aid, without unduly burdening other students and the exclusive aid is only a limited amount of the institution’s total overall aid.

Recommendation 10: University Calendar/Holiday Celebrations - Closely examine holidays that are supported, recognized, and acknowledged by the university.

Rationale:

We recognize that there are constraints with being a public institution and requirements as to our holidays. We appreciate the university recognizing Juneteenth and believe that the observance of this and other holidays should be planned in a way that shows how we as an institution value those holidays and the people who observe them.

Additionally, an attendance policy exists regarding excused student absences for religious observances, which states, “Instructors will, without prejudice, provide such students with ‘reasonable accommodations’ for completing missed work.” We are aware that this policy is sometimes ignored and that students who observe their recognized religious holidays are given scores of 0 on tests administered on those holidays. We advocate amending this policy to include language that better defines “reasonable accommodation.” For example: “Faculty may not disadvantage a student for the scheduling of an exam on a holiday on the official list,” or “Faculty will allow students to turn in an electronic copy of assignments due on recognized holidays.” There should also be a consequence applied to faculty who violate the policy.

The existing policy also states that students are responsible for notifying instructors in writing of any such upcoming absences during the first two weeks of the semester. Many students seem to be unaware of this procedure. We recommend that information about student responsibility in this process should be included in course syllabi similar to language about Student Disability Services. We further recommend that the timeline for students to notify faculty be extended from two weeks to three.

Recommendation 10 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Institutional Diversity and Registrar

Timeline:

< 1year

Assessment Mechanism:

Review and propose changes of the university calendar/holiday celebrations observed for fiscal year 2021-2022. Also include education on other observed holidays and a reminder on how those who observe the holidays are to be accommodated. Religious discrimination will not be tolerated.

Recommendation 11: Examine the complete suspension of the standardized test requirement across undergraduate and graduate programs.

Rationale:

Currently, the university has suspended the requirement of the ACT/SAT for the next incoming class because of the lack of testing opportunities due to COVID-19. There are studies that show that there is racial and economic bias with these test scores and other standardized tests.

Recommendation 11 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Admission, Graduate School, select graduate programs

Timeline:

< 1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Conduct a review of peer institutions regarding their stance on the ACT/SAT requirement. Review Miami’s use and provide sound recommendations and changes that do not cause disproportionate effects on minority and/or underrepresented student populations.

Recommendation 12: Responsible Purchasing & Financial Spending - Increase spending percentages for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Rationale:

While the university is participating in the State of Ohio Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) business development program, we have listed a percent of expenditures with these businesses as a goal. We recommend that the university make data about our actual expenditures available to the public. We recommend that whatever the current expenditures are, they are increased by 10% by the end of the next fiscal year. The list of vendors participating in these programs should be available to university employees with purchasing responsibilities.

Recommendation 12 Details

Accountable Party:

Business and Finance/Purchasing

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

A list of minority and women-owned businesses will be available to university employees involved with purchasing. The university will commit to increasing spending with minority and women-owned businesses by 10% by the end of FY21. Data about this will be publicly available.

Recommendation 13: Leverage Alumni and Business Connections.

Rationale:

Miami University Advancement and Alumni Relations do not have access to race or ethnicity information about our graduates prior to 2006. Our recommendation is to invest time and financial resources internally or with a third party to capture race/ethnicity information for all alumni predating 2006. Due to this lack of data, it is extremely difficult to identify minority and/or underrepresented alumni for targeted outreach, programming, and engagement opportunities. As such the university is denied the opportunity to connect specifically with our many distinguished and talented minority/underrepresented alumni.

Recommendation 13 Details

Accountable Party:

Alumni Relations, Advancement, EMSS, Office of Admission, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Institutional Research

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

Increase engagement with alumni from minority and/or underrepresented populations to reflect the changing demographics of the alumni profile. Identify and expand the current database to track minority and/or underrepresented populations specific engagement opportunities, connections with current students, and advancement.

Recommendation 14: Area K-12 Schools  Build relationships through an Upward Bound and other TRIO grant programs.

Upward Bound provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. The program provides opportunities for participants to succeed in their precollege performance and ultimately in their higher education pursuits.

Upward Bound serves high school students from low-income families and families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education. Additional TRIO programs include: educational opportunity centers, Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement, Student Support Services, Talent Search, Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs Staff, Upward Bound Math-Science, and Veterans Upward Bound.

Rationale:

Miami University had an Upward Bound grant in the 1980s. Applying for another grant and partnering with an area K-12 school will build relationships with nearby communities and possibly also result in students in the program applying to Miami University after high school graduation. The Oxford campus can model their grant application on the current successful grant at the regional campuses.

Recommendation 14 Details

Accountable Party:

EMSS/Student Success Center

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

The university has submitted a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education Federal TRIO Programs Office.

Recommendation 15: Leverage community and professional association connections.

Rationale:

Miami University employees have a strong history of serving on community boards and professional association committees. We need to leverage relationships with these affiliations and provide a means of sharing diversity trends and solutions learned from these organizations.

Recommendation 15 Details

Accountable Party:

Institutional Diversity

Timeline:

1 year

Assessment Mechanism:

On an annual basis, collect information via a survey of university employees regarding their service on community boards and professional association committees and their impact on Diversity. This information would be included in the Annual Report from the Office of Institutional Diversity.