Pillar 5: Inclusion and Accountability

Every few years, Miami has completed a report, a survey, or a project about campus climate or diversity efforts. Those documents show what efforts we have implemented and completed as well as where we have not succeeded, not implemented but should reconsider, what we need to revisit or refresh, and what we may now need to discard. Are there gaps in our information that we must fill so we can move forward? How do we continually update, assess, and hold everyone accountable for the efforts and outcomes?

With respect to how to ascertain progress toward our goals, we must grade our programs against ourselves and others in higher education. The committee must explore recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion actions for underrepresented groups and ensure they are fair, equitable, and always increasing. The task force should explore our retention and graduation rates for all students to make them equitable and constantly improving. We must explore and understand whether our curriculum is fully inclusive and reflective of all people. In all this, the task force should investigate possible best practices at peer institutions and other organizations as well as ideas and resources with proven success. We must uphold our values as our highest expectations and our mission to teach, serve, and send members of this community into a global and diverse society with dedication and passion to serve humanity.

Recommendation 1: Comprehensive diverse ally/mentor program for new hires and staff.

Rationale:

Leveraging the framework of the diversity goals outlined in the Miami 2020 plan to “use diversity to achieve diversity”, the Staff Mentoring and Ally Program is designed to focus on four key areas: culture assimilation, curriculum/training, recruitment, and retention. It is the goal of Miami University to increase ethnic diversity in faculty and staff positions throughout the university. While there are other avenues to address this goal for faculty, this program is designed to specifically address the need related to staff positions. Its purpose is to assist in assimilating, recruiting, retaining, and ensuring the successful transition of diverse staff both to Miami culture and as a sense of belonging to Miami community.

Recommendation 1 Details

Accountable Party:

President’s Executive Committee

Pathway:

Considering the scale of this type of initiative, the program is designed as a multiphase approach initiated in the following manner:
  • Staff Mentoring and Ally Program—initially targeting ethnic diversity of Black and Latino staff and later expanding to other demographics.
  • Recruitment to the program
    • Based on university goals related to the amount of hiring to be done in FY2021, we may elect a focused recruitment effort to engage “Allies”—reach out to individuals directly; or
    • Recruit “Allies” to the program by utilizing the AABFAS and Latino faculty and staff listing

Consequences:

Factors to consider based upon the approach:

  • May lend itself to a much more manageable list
  • Allows for more intimate engagement/rollout
  • More focused approach

Timeline:

Spring 2021

Recommendation 2: Create a centralized system that brings awareness and disseminates DEI initiatives.

Rationale:

We have heard about questions on the status of previous initiatives that the university has done in terms of DEI, and many agree that Miami has made progress towards DEI initiatives; however, the work that those groups have accomplished along with the challenges they have encountered is not always accessible to the rest of the university community. Thus, a centralized system or portal should help address the communication of previous, current, and future DEI initiatives.

Recommendation 2 Details

Accountable Party:

Creating a centralized portal as a “one-stop” DEI system, with the help of units such as the Office of Institutional Diversity, Human Resources, Academic Personnel, Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, Central IT, University Libraries, etc.

Consequences:

A centralized portal will provide access to DEI resources that the university already has in place. For example: Bias and Diversity training, DEI Certificate Program, the Inter Group Dialogue classes and workshops, library databases and other scholarly resources with DEI content, and more. Many units, divisions, and departments host a number of DEI programs or events throughout the year. Many of those will also benefit from better coordination and promotion, which will help increase participation. Thus, a centralized portal can help bring visibility and leverage resources to the different DEI initiatives that happen on campus.

Timeline:

June 2021

Recommendation 3: Implement a “behind the scenes” forum. This would be a generalization of what the DEI process looks like from an accountability standpoint.

Rationale:

Lack of awareness of what occurs when you submit a report, what the process looks like in order to hold folks accountable. It can be confusing for faculty and staff to understand, let alone students.

Recommendation 3 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Equal Opportunity, Office of Community Standards, Office of General Counsel, Human Resources, and Academic Personnel, etc.

Pathway:

If reporting goes up this semester, we can look at analytics in our current process.

Consequences:

Factors to consider based upon the approach

  • Increases transparency of processes
  • Creates an open forum for students, staff, and faculty to ask questions

If reporting goes up this semester, we can look at analytics in our current process.

Timeline:

Spring 2021

Recommendation 4: Provide clarity around what Miami has to offer in terms of DEI in the curriculum (Global Miami Plan). 

Consider the inclusion of DEI curriculum within the Global Miami Plan, provide clarity on which classes are considered to center on DEI elements/themes, decide on what students should be required to take include (1-3 credit classes, independent studies, etc.).

Rationale:

As students are navigating through interpersonal and systemic issues relating to bias, prejudice, and systemic oppression they are inclined to seek out classroom experience that can affirm their own learning around the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Recommendation 4 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the Provost

Consequences:

This is less of a concrete consequence, but a potential consideration. Any class could be created that centers DEI in its mission and course themes, so there are many ways that this list could become oversaturated. There has to be a clear description of what the parameters are to have a DEI designation on a particular course. The other consequence is that should a decision be made to explicitly include DEI within the Global Miami Plan, then there has been research shown to negate the benefits of social justice education to those who are not self-selecting into it. How will this affect student morale for those who do self-select? How will this affect the emotional labor of faculty and staff tasked to teach these courses?

Timeline:

1-3 years

Recommendation 5: Utilize students' retention, graduation, and success rates to drive accountability. 

Student retention, graduation, and success rates in aggregate are one way to keep the university accountable for the success of all students from different backgrounds. These measures are public information and are available for anyone to access from the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness fact book online. There are conversations to make the university factbook more accessible and interactive by leveraging Tableau. There are also several ongoing initiatives in the student success center and center for career exploration and success, as well as other cross-departmental committees across the university that aim to improve student retention, graduation rates, and success rates once the student leaves the university. We recommend that the university continues to investigate gaps in these measures to drive the allocation of resources and strategic initiatives.

Rationale:

A more interactive university fact book will provide greater transparency and accountability in regards to the success of our students. Greater transparency will allow more opportunities for different departments in the university to find gaps in these measures and create initiatives and programs to increase the success of students and ensure that our students are graduating and finding success as they leave the university. Increased visibility to this data will also keep the university accountable to improving in these areas.

Recommendation 5 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Institutional Research

Consequences:

The creation of this dashboard, review of gaps, as well as the creation and implementation of initiatives will take time and resources. The increased success of these students outweigh these costs.

Timeline:

Would like to have an interactive dashboard by Spring 2021 and an update on what initiatives are being implemented at the university to close gaps in retention and graduation and success rates.

Recommendation 6:Enhance transparency and accountability for bias report system (Submitting reports anonymously).

Rationale:

Students mentioned that Bias Incident Reports cannot be submitted anonymously. This was a concern as students didn’t want to be identified if it would cause harm to their mental, physical, and emotional health, or their grades in a class. Therefore, we should open this up for students to submit anonymously. While EthicsPoint exists, many students aren’t aware of this reporting form and are looking for the specific “bias” form. Students also wanted to be able to add images, videos, or other proof of documentation that is not possible with the current Bias Incident reporting form.

Recommendation 6 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of Institutional Diversity

Consequences:

Lack of details can lead to reports that can’t be processed. If the report is anonymous, it doesn’t allow follow through with the student who submitted the report. Can potentially lead to students reporting as a form of retaliation.

Timeline

Spring 2021

Recommendation 7: Assess progress on President’s DEI Task Force Recommendations. 

The Task Force is recommending a number of recommendations for implementation starting in spring 2021. The new Task Force, in consultation with the President and the PEC members, will develop a revised timeline for the recommendations. The new timeline and list of priorities should be communicated with the university community.

Rationale:

Accountability and transparency will be key elements of the implementation process. Thus, regular updates (via emails, town halls, etc.) on progress, units/offices in charge, challenges, or lack of action should be communicated with the university community.

Recommendation 7 Details

Accountable Party:

Task force implementation group

Timeline:

Ongoing; starting spring 2021

Recommendation 8: Hire communications staff person to handle DE&I related communication.

Recommendation 8 Details

Accountable Party:

Office of the President