Planning Process

Planning Leads: Professor Alec Gallimore, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor Jennifer Linderman, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Associate Director for the ADVANCE Program; Mr. Robert Scott, Director, Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach (CEDO).

Planning Team/Structure: Given the size and complexity of the College and the wide range of issues and opportunities to discuss, in September 2015 we formed four separate subcommittees to study DEI issues for our key constituency groups: (1) undergraduate students, (2) graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, (3) faculty including tenure-track faculty, research scientists and lecturers and (4) college staff. Subcommittee chairs are Professor Fred Terry, Kim Elliott (Director of Graduate Education), Professor Omolola Eniola-Adefeso, and Jennifer Piper (Managing Director for Academic Affairs), respectively. Oversight was provided by a lead committee.

The charge to each subcommittee included:

  • A particular (but not exclusive) focus on three dimensions of diversity identified by the Dean as especially critical to the College – race, gender, and socioeconomic status
  • Reviewing the College’s strategic objectives, literature, and best practices for higher education institutions related to DEI;
  • Reviewing current College efforts,[1] metrics for success, and results;
  • Making recommendations on strengthening the College’s efforts, including new initiatives, revision of current programs, collaborations, and changes in policy and/or procedures, and “sun-setting” existing programs to make room for new ones;
  • Engaging relevant College communities and content experts (in and outside the College) throughout the process for input and feedback, via on-line, community forum, invited speakers and guests, or other mechanisms; and
  • Presenting recommendations to the lead committee.

The Lead Committee members include Dean David Munson, the three planning leads, the four subcommittee chairs, Associate Dean Brian Noble, Professor Mark Daskin, Professor Levi Thompson, Dan Kim (Executive Director, Communications and Marketing), and Deborah Mero (Executive Director of Resource Planning and Management). The responsibilities of the lead committee included:

  • Communicating with relevant College communities and with the Provost’s Office before, during and after the planning process;
  • Developing the value proposition for diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Developing high-level strategic objectives;
  • Forming and charging the four subcommittees;
  • Interacting with four subcommittees to formulate the overall strategic plan;
  • Seeking additional input, engaging the community, and submitting a revised plan to the Provost’s Office; and
  • Developing the strategy for implementing the plan, including seeking funding for new initiatives, and communicating the plan to the new dean.

Planning Process: The College planning process began with initial benchmarking. A small team, led by Dean Munson, participated in visits to two University schools (School of Education, Ross School of Business) that had been working to develop DEI plans for over a year. These schools were considered role models for successful planning processes as well as input for potential action plans/initiatives. Based on these visits, the College planning process was defined along with the planning team structure. Key elements of the College planning process were:

  • Organizing and charging the lead team and subcommittees.
  • Communications: establishing mechanisms to communicate the need for DEI planning and inviting engagement/discussion as input to the process.
  • Engagement and data collection process.
  • Analysis of quantitative data.
  • Analysis of qualitative data and the conversations/content generated in engagement activities.
  • Synthesizing summary findings and suggested actions.
  • Compiling analysis, findings and actions into subcommittee recommendations.
  • Integration of subcommittee advisory reports into a draft strategic plan for the College.
  • Strategic rollout of the draft plan a) within the College, b) to the University:
  • Identifying and moving forward on “low hanging fruit” – action items that can be done immediately.

II. Data & Analysis: Key Findings

Summary of Data

Each of the four subcommittees defined a wide range of quantitative and qualitative data to use in analyzing their focus areas. Quantitative data, which generated numerical evidence for findings, came primarily from University and/or College databases. Qualitative data sources consisted of focus groups, surveys (exit and DEI-specific), town halls, committee reports, and online submissions.

Additionally, the Lead Committee reached out to a number of external sources for input. This included the College and CEDO External Advisory Committees, select alumni and faculty peers in other schools (specifically LS&A, School of Education and Ross School of Business). This input was incorporated into the report as work from the four subcommittee was integrated.

Specific examples of data collected and used during the analysis phase include:

  • College enrollment, retention and performance data (from Michigan Engineering and Rackham) and, when available, in comparison to data from peer institutions.
  • Existing climate studies of faculty, staff, graduate students, research scientists and postdocs performed by the ADVANCE Program
  • Surveys, focus groups, discussions and forums to identify concerns and generate ideas for DEI strategic planning:
    • staff forums
    • undergraduate student focus groups (about 15), focusing on particular student demographics (Latinos, African-Americans, international, women, men, LGBTQ, low socioeconomic status)
    • faculty, research scientist, and lecturer forum
    • discussions with the Michigan Engineering undergraduate advising group
    • discussions with UM experts on retention and on inclusive teaching
    • discussions with graduate student groups and postdoctoral scholars: graduate student advisory committee (GSAC) members, Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists graduate students (SMES-grad), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers graduate students (SHPE-grad), Society of Women Engineers graduate students (grad-SWE), Tau Beta Pi, students registering to attend the Dean’s Forum, and M-PACE Postdoctoral research fellows.
    • discussions with graduate program coordinators (staff), and with graduate program chairs (faculty)
  • Hiring/employment statistics (from Michigan Engineering, ADVANCE Program, and the University)
  • A new DEI website was created with an ongoing survey to collect input from entire community (faculty/staff/students.)

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