DEI Task Force Recommendations, September 2020

Executive Summary

Vicka Bell-Robinson, Ph.D. & Anthony James, Ph.D.

In June 2020, President Gregory Crawford created a task force that was charged with advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at Miami University. The charge included five pillars that served as focus areas for the task force that would also result in recommendations to the President and the President’s Executive Committee in September 2020. After approximately seven weeks of work, this report serves as the recommendations from the task force. Read the full charge to DEI Task Force.

This scaled down report serves as the executive summary for the 2020 President’s DEI Task Force report. The report is structured by three sections: overview, pillar recommendations, and conclusion. We briefly discuss below highlights from each section.

The overarching recommendations of the committee includes envisioning a clear DEI model at Miami, being more accountable and transparent about DEI, creating sustaining DEI resources, and creating a pathway to implementing the model. To be sure, this report only puts forward recommendations that will be considered in more depth by future DEI transition teams.  


Part One: Task Force 

The membership of this task force was designed with the understanding that it would be temporary. The final meeting of the introductory task force was August 7, 2020. We are grateful to the individuals who provided insight and support in an intensive, seven-week experience.  

Part Two: Implementation Team 

The implementation team is charged with working through the finalized goals, managing conversations with the corresponding offices, and eventually transitioning the work associated with goals to their rightful place within the infrastructure of the university. The group's work should be finished during the spring 2021 semester.

Part Three: Presidential Advisory Group

Per a recommendation from the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan subcommittee, this campus-wide group will advise President Crawford on matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This group will serve in a different function than the Counsel of Diversity and Inclusion (CODI), because its scope would be beyond the University Senate. 

Recommendations of the Task Force

Each pillar had a subcommittee that worked on recommendations specific to it from the original charge. Each set of recommendations are presented in turn below. Each set of recommendations includes the specific recommendation, a rationale for it, consequences of enacting such changes (where possible), the party or entity accountable for changes, mechanism for change (where possible), and a time horizon. 

Across the five pillars there were 44 recommendations that can be found in Table 1 below. This table is only for brevity of the executive summary. More detailed information (e.g., rationale, pathway to implementation, assessment metrics, etc.) about the recommendations can be found in the full report.

Though we have 44 total recommendations, we also recognize that some of the recommendations overlap with others, creating an imbalance. We hope that you are understanding of, and patient with, the various individuals/offices/entities who may be the accountable party for multiple recommendations (e.g., Liberal Education and Global Miami Plan changes) or those that require complex collaboration that needs time (e.g., Department of Family Science and Social Work collaboration with Miami University's and Oxford's police departments).  We, co-chairs, are greatly appreciative of the time, commitment, and efforts of each person who worked with this task force, and are honored and humbled to have served as leaders in that effort. Know that this work will continue. There are opportunities to continually recommend ways to advance our community, making it more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. 

Thanks for your trust and patience. Let’s get to work.

Love and Honor,
Vicka Bell-Robinson and Anthony James

Summary of the DEI Pillars and Recommendations

  1. Dialogue and Allyship
    1. Provide institutional support for a robust and sustainable intergroup dialogue (IGD) initiative.
      Accountable: Global Initiatives
    2. Expand IGD to include peer cohorts of faculty, staff, and administrators.
      Accountable: Office of the President, Office of Institutional Diversity, Academic Affairs, and Student Life
    3. Make IGD mandatory for all undergraduate students, beginning with first year students, by requiring incoming first-year students to take a 1-credit IGD course (equivalent to the CAWC’s Intro to Voices program) following UNV 101 (or similar discipline-designated courses; e.g., CHM 147). Thereafter, provide other academic and co-curricular IGD opportunities for further development.
      Accountable: Academic departments
    4. Offer IGD to graduate students.
      Accountable: The Graduate School in concert with academic departments
    5. As an Ohio public university, Miami may serve the greater community by expanding IGD pedagogy and praxis to alums and the business community.
      Accountable: Miami’s Alumni Association and Office of Government and Community Relations would take on appropriate responsibility for expansion. The Center for American and World Cultures will be responsible for helping to provide resources.
    6. While IGD directly develops skills in both dialogue and allyship/accompliceship, provide additional training specifically around allyship/accompliceship.
      Accountable: Center for Teaching Excellence
    7. Create internal and external diversity marketing plans to promote literacy around intergroup dialogue and allyship across diverse social identities with sensitivity to Miami’s status as a predominantly white institution.
      Accountable: The Office of Institutional Diversity, in collaboration with University Communications and Marketing, will develop goals and metrics as part of the Diversity Dashboard or Scorecard. The CAWC will be responsible for helping to provide resources.
  2. Cultural Consciousness
    1. Global Miami Plan revision on Intercultural Perspectives.
      Accountable: Liberal Education Committee and University DEI Implementation Committee
    2. Academic Affairs – Permanent Faculty specializing in subjects critical to DEI initiatives.
      Accountable: Academic Personnel/Academic Affairs
    3. Cultural Consciousness Assessment.
      Accountable: Liberal Education Committee, Global Initiatives, and University DEI Implementation Committee, Graduate School
    4. Cultural Consciousness Training/Professional Development.
      Accountable: The Office of Institutional Diversity and University DEI Implementation Committee
    5. International Student Integration and Support.
      Accountable: Global Initiatives, International Student and Scholar Services, Residence Hall Programming (Student Life), DEI Implementation Committee
  3. Advocacy and Partnerships
    1. Establish a Center for Justice, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (JACE).
      Accountable: Office of the President, University Advancement
    2. Establish teach away/study away with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).
      Accountable: Office of the President, Global Initiatives
    3. Replicate and extend our partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools to target underrepresented students in Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland.
      Accountable: Office of the President, Miami University's Cincinnati Public Schools group, EMSS Office of Admission-Senior Associate Director for Diversity Initiatives
    4. Explicitly name and/or hire a Title VI coordinator.
      Accountable: Office of the President, Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity
    5. Revise the Student Code of Conduct to explicitly include Title VI language similar to the current Title IX language included.
      Accountable: Office of Community Standards, Student Life Council
    6. Identify and partner with organizations such as The PhD Project, the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, and the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education to increase faculty and staff diversity.
      Accountable: Office of Institutional Diversity, Deans and department chairs
    7. Miami University can become a template by encouraging the partnership between our Department of Family Sciences and Social Work (FSW) and the Miami University Police Department (MUPD) and the Oxford Police Department (OPD). This partnership will explore how to maximize the presence of social workers, mental health professionals, and paramedics in difficult situations.
      Accountable: College of Education, Health and Society; Department of Family Science and Social Work; MUPD, and OPD
    8. Key internal and external partners rotate hosting responsibilities for our monthly “Advocates and Allies” happy hour.
      Accountable: Office of the President, various partnering organizations
    9. Miami University must be able to determine under what conditions employees can be terminated and students can be dismissed from the university if proven they have made discriminatory (e.g., racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.) comments.
      Accountable: Office of the President, Office of General Council, Office of Institutional Diversity
  4. Structural and Resource Support
    1. Restructuring Office of Institutional Diversity – Addition of senior director of diversity and inclusion.
      Accountable: Human Resources, Office of Institutional Diversity
    2. Office of Institutional Diversity – Addition of program coordinator.
      Accountable: Human Resources, Office of the President
    3. Office of General Counsel – Addition of civil rights: Title IX general counsel.
      Accountable: Human Resources, Office of the President
    4. Academic Affairs – Permanent faculty specializing in subjects critical to DEI initiatives.
      Accountable: Academic Personnel, Academic Affairs
    5. Divisions/colleges – Addition of DEI liaison/specialist.
      Accountable: Human Resources, Office of Institutional Diversity, colleges and divisions
    6. Divisions/colleges – Addition of a graduate or undergraduate student to all faculty/staff hiring committees.
      Accountable: Human Resources, Office of Institutional Diversity, colleges and divisions, departments
    7. More frequent use of Miami’s land acknowledgment statement.
      Accountable: Office of Institutional Diversity, University Communications and Marketing, colleges and divisions
    8. Naming rights – We recommend that Nellie Craig, Miami’s first African American student, be recognized with a building named in their honor.
      Accountable: University Advancement
    9. Scholarships/giving – 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.
      Accountable: University Advancement, Office of Student Financial Assistance, Nnew civil rights/Title IX attorney
    10. University calendar/holiday celebrations – We recommend a close examination of the holidays that are supported, recognized, and acknowledged by the university.
      Accountable: Institutional Diversity and University Registrar
    11. Examine the complete suspension of the standardized test requirement across undergraduate and graduate programs.
      Accountable: Admission, Graduate School, select graduate programs
    12. Responsible purchasing and financial spending – Increase spending percentages for minority- and women-owned businesses.
      Accountable: Business and Finance, Purchasing
    13. Leverage alumni and business connections.
      Accountable: University Advancement/Alumni Relations, Enrollment Management and Student Success/Admission, Institutional Diversity, Institutional Research and Effectiveness
    14. Area K-12 schools – Build relationships through Upward Bound and other TRIO grant programs.
      Accountable: Enrollment Management and Student Success, Student Success Center
    15. Leverage community/professional association connections.
      Accountable: Institutional Diversity
  5. Inclusion and Accountability
    1. Comprehensive diverse ally/mentor program for new hires and staff.
      Accountable: President’s Executive Committee
    2. Create a centralized system that brings awareness and disseminates DEI initiatives.
      Accountable: Creating a centralized portal as a one-stop DEI system with the help of units such as Institutional Diversity, Human Resources, Academic Personnel, Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, IT Services, University Libraries, etc.
    3. Implement a “behind the scenes” forum. This would be a generalization of what the DEI process looks like from an accountability standpoint.
      Accountable: Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity, Office of Community Standards, General Counsel, Human Resources, Academic Personnel, etc.
    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 what students should be required to take (1-3 credit classes, independent studies, etc.).
      Accountable: Office of the Provost
    5. Utilize student 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.
      Accountable: Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness
    6. Enhance transparency and accountability for bias report system (submitting reports anonymously).
      Accountable: Office of Institutional Diversity
    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 president’s executive committee, will develop a revised timeline for the recommendations. The new timeline and list of priorities should be communicated with the university community.
      Accountable: Task force implementation group
    8. Hire communications staff person to handle DEI-related communication.
      Accountable: Office of the President

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