President's task force proposes recommendations for improving diversity, equity and inclusion at Miami University

A task force working to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at Miami University has proposed a broad slate of more than 40 recommendations.

Miami President Greg Crawford appointed the President’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force in June and charged it with examining five pillars designed to build a more inclusive, diverse, inviting, safe and welcoming climate at Miami.

“The task force has created a comprehensive set of ideas that will further solidify our commitment to and advance our efforts in inclusive excellence for students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Crawford said. “We will move aggressively to implement the plan and enhance the diversity that is part of our core values at Miami.”

The committee worked for seven weeks on five focus areas: Dialogue and Allyship, Cultural Consciousness, Advocacy and Partnerships, Structural and Resource Support, and Inclusion and Accountability.

“The overarching recommendations of the committee include 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,” co-chairs Vicka Bell-Robinson and Anthony James wrote in the overview of the report’s executive summary.

Bell-Robinson is director of residence life and James is an associate professor of family science and social work. He has been named interim vice president for institutional diversity, succeeding Ron Scott, who will retire in January.

The co-chairs said the report puts forward recommendations that will be considered in more depth by future DEI transition teams.

The top recommendation listed under each pillar:

• Dialogue and Allyship: Provide institutional support for a robust and sustainable intergroup dialogue (IGD) initiative. Accountable: Global Initiatives.

• Cultural Consciousness: Global Miami Plan revision on Intercultural Perspectives. Accountable: Liberal Education Committee and University DE&I Implementation Committee.

• Advocacy and Partnerships: Establish a Center for Justice, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (JACE). Accountable: Office of the President; University Advancement.

• Structural and Resource Support: Restructuring Office of Institutional Diversity — addition of senior director of diversity and inclusion. Accountable: Human Resources; Office of Institutional Diversity.

• Inclusion and Accountability: Comprehensive diverse ally/mentor program for new hires and staff. Accountable: President’s Executive Committee.

Read the full report on the DEI Task Force recommendations here.

An implementation group will work through the finalized goals, manage conversations with corresponding offices and eventually transition the work associated with the goals to the appropriate place within the university, according to the executive summary. The goal is to have the group’s work completed by the beginning of the spring semester.

Similar to the task force, the implementation group will host information sessions to keep the university community abreast of the progress related to each recommendation.

Bell-Robinson and James wrote in the executive summary overview that they were appreciative of the time, commitment and efforts of everyone who worked with the task force and that it was an honor to lead the 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,” they wrote. “Thanks for your trust and patience. Let’s get to work.”

Crawford recently announced a new $1.25 million fund to support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Miami, with possible applications for wider society. The fund is the realization of a recommendation from the DEI Task Force.