UM System Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force Announces Recommendations

Dec 7, 2016

Credit University of Missouri System

The UM System Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force announced recommendations Wednesday to create a more diverse public university across all campuses. These recommendations were made based on an independent diversity, equity and inclusion audit.

David Mitchell, the chair of the task force and MU law professor, said the audit shows recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and students are important on all four campuses within the system.

“How do we keep folks, how do we expand diversity network of our staff,” Mitchell said. “How do we get to attract and recruit students and keep them here?”

The recommendations consist of four components: access and equity, education and scholarship, campus climate and intergroup relations, and institutional infrastructure. They are shaped by the four-pillar framework created by Kevin McDonald, chief diversity officer of the UM System. McDonald also serves as the interim vice chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity at MU.

Mitchell also said the school must dedicate funds to implement these recommendations.

“Right now, we are at a point where we need to make a commitment to these particular recommendations,” Mitchell said, “to diversity, equity and inclusion in a way in which we are putting our money in where our mouth is.”

These recommendations also tackle issues unique to each campus and the system. For example, the task force recommends the MU campus consider making Citizenship@Mizzou a semester-long course and delegate diversity tasks to multiple levels of the institution.

For the UMKC campus, the task force supports the creation of a year-long program to train faculty in engaging minority students.

Missouri University of Science and Technology will need to identify best practices for diversity, equity and inclusion purposes and establish a reward system.

The task force suggests UMSL should conduct a pay equity audit.

The task force was chartered by Interim UM System President Michael Middleton after campus protests at MU in 2015 and recruited 46 faculty, staff and students to form the group in January this year. Mitchell says the next step is to form advisory groups to monitor implementations of these recommendations.