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Diversity Scholars Network

Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)

The National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) will expand its current multi-institutional Diversity Scholars Network (DSN) to include a UM-specific component. As part of this work, the NCID will conduct a census of university faculty and researchers whose scholarship intersects with diversity, equity and inclusion, defined broadly. They will also create a U-M research advisory group representing an array of disciplines and academic units. The primary goals will be to develop infrastructure and programming for the campuswide network, promote and facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration and catalyze cutting-edge diversity research and scholarship.

Progress update

In Year Five, NCID continued to engage its University of Michigan Diversity Scholars Network (DSN) members  in a number of innovative and meaningful ways, despite the many adjustments and restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initiatives were wide-ranging and included a series of webinars featuring U-M DSN members from U-M and across the country as well as publications, podcasts and a nationwide academic collaboration.

DSN webinars produced during the 2020–21 academic year focused on a broad array of topics, including:

  • Race, Sport & Restorative Justice:  Implications for Higher Education
  • Black College Students Mental Health:  What Institutions Need to Know and Do to Support Healing and Thriving in a Time of Racial Crisis
  • Forgotten Bodies:  Conversations on Research & Recognition
  • Insisting on Immigrant Belonging, 46 and Beyond
  • Remaking a Life:  How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Inequality
  • LGBTQ+ College Students and Mental Health Possibilities (in progress) 

In addition, the network promoted and supported the scholarly efforts of its U-M members through NCID’s monthly newsletter and the Spark series, dedicated to elevating scholarship on social issues. Year Five series presentations featuring U-M DSN members included “Disabled and Chronically Ill:  Navigating the Work Inside” and “Outside the Academy and Immigration, Voter Suppression and Political Engagement in the 2020 Election.” 

During Year Five, U-M DSN members participated in an NCID-curated series for The Academic Minute, a two-and-a-half-minute daily module spotlighting researchers from colleges and universities worldwide. During Academic Minute’s U-M week, diversity scholars discussed the interplay between COVID-19 and issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Under the auspices of NCID, DSN members at U-M and across the country also collaborated with the Democracy & Debate Theme Semester to launch the Kamala Harris Public Syllabus. Designed to support an exploration of Harris and the vice presidency, this public “syllabus” reflects the goals of the theme semester as well as U-M’s ongoing commitment to engage with the debates around and challenges to American democracy as we prepare the next generation of global citizens and leaders.

In Year Five, NCID once again convened a DSN advisory group of seven scholars representing multiple U-M units and departments to provide guidance, direction and advice. This group consists of clinical, assistant, associate and full professors from the fields of psychology, linguistics, sociology and public health.

Finally, work continued on “Mapping Diversity Scholars at U-M,” a campuswide directory of U-M scholars conducting DEI-related scholarship across all 19 schools and colleges. To date, almost 400 diversity scholars have been identified and will be included in a website scheduled for launch in the 2021–22 academic year.

In fall 2020, the DSN added 123 new members—16 from U-M—representing 80 institutions of higher education. This brings the total number of diversity scholars in the DSN to 1,020.

Responsibility: National Center for Institutional Diversity