The mission of the School of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) is to prepare new generations of professionals, leaders, scholars, and entrepreneurs to enhance the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities. To do so, it is imperative that HHS value and commit to an academic environment in which anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and respect for all is demonstrated. In its current state, we recognize that there is still work to be done in HHS at all levels of administration to ensure a commitment to antiracism, and that we value and celebrate racial diversity. Racism includes racialized interpersonal interactions (i.e., racial bullying, intimidation/threats, and microaggressions), inequitable institutional practices (i.e., inequitable recruitment and hiring, promotion and tenure, workload assignments, and performance evaluations), as well as the active devaluation of personal and professional regard (i.e., reputational assaults, marginalization, silencing, and devaluing) and exclusion from the gold standard of mentoring (i.e., cultivation, protection, advocacy and sponsorship, and generative investment).
We commit to intentionally work to identify, discuss and challenge racism issues that contribute to mistreatment, oppression, and exclusion in our environment. Through discussion, analysis, and action we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and impactfully improve our School. Additionally, intentional and immediate action will be implemented to enact change in our School policies, programs, and practices to make us better.
We have recently received a memorandum documenting experiences of Black faculty that include examples of racism and sexism and challenges to advancement and promotion. They were courageous to share this information, which will be used to move us forward. Any courageous confession has the potential to be used against an individual in a negative fashion. This will not be tolerated. The work ahead of us will be used to seed and sustain institutional change toward race equity and inclusion within HHS, inform transformative leadership, and ensure that all faculty have an environment that is conducive for success and welcoming for all. Our work will have a direct and important impact on black faculty and faculty of color and benefit all as we transparently examine our practices and processes.
While the work will take effort and time there are several short-term action items that include:
● Appoint the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as a standing committee with a recurring budget.
● Charge the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee with researching and recommending best practices for education and self-reflection for the school (recognizing that intensive work has been and will continue to transform at the Department level).
● Create a Racial Equity task force that will work to identify areas of needed improvements, examine our processes, faculty development and leadership, accountability, and work together with the DEI committee for additional educational opportunities and make recommendations to affect change.
● Monitor and assess the treatment of Black faculty, staff, and administrators (and other faculty of color, i.e., protected groups), and create accountability standards for violations of the spirit (and substance) of Title VII.
● Monitor and review racial disparities in faculty supports and pay (i.e., salaries, granting of summer salaries or special paid work) with reference to commensurate scholarly productivity, contributions to the department, time in service to rate of advancement. Use multiple strategies to redress the cumulative effects of these inequities for individual faculty members.
● Reward programs and departments that proactively make needed changes to support race equity in areas where challenges have been identified.
● The Office of Research will perform an equity audit of our programs, services, initiatives and funding to determine if there are ways we are being inequitable or maintaining status quo.
● Require all members of search committees to participate in anti-racism and unconscious bias training.
● Require all members of promotion and tenure committees to participate in anti-racism and unconscious bias training and formalize the training for advancement of recruitment strategies to maximize reach.
● Require the School of HHS leadership to participate in anti-racism training.
● Develop mentorship and leadership opportunities for the growth and advancement of Black faculty and faculty of color.