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University Plan

Executive Summary

The University has created a draft plan for diversity and inclusion efforts across all three campuses. While the University goals will remain constant, strategies will be regularly evaluated to meet the needs of the institution. The following is a guide for University entities to develop plans that meet the University goals and specific area needs.

Updated July 31, 2019

Plan to Support a More Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Culture for the University of Oklahoma

Institutional Goals for Diversity & Inclusion

  1. Cultivate an inclusive campus climate.
  2. Improve recruitment, hiring and retention of faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups in support of the Affirmative Action Plans.
  3. Improve recruitment and retention of undergraduate and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups.
  4. Create an enhanced learning environment based on diversity and inclusion.
  5. Strengthen institutional shared infrastructure to achieve diversity goals.
 

These major goals will provide a vision for how to achieve the following intended
institutional impact outcomes:

  1. A supportive environment that fosters inclusion, belonging and satisfaction
  2. Enhanced recruitment, hiring and retention of diverse staff and faculty.
  3. Increased undergraduate and graduate admissions, transition and successful degree completion of historically underrepresented groups.
  4. Engagement in learning opportunities that promote diversity and inclusion.
  5. Demonstrated shared university support for diversity and inclusion work.
  6. Utilization of data to inform diversity work.
  7. Internal and external funding sources for diversity work.

 


Strategic Planning for a Diversity & Inclusion Framework: Background

In the Spring of 2016, the Office of University Community (currently Office of Diversity and Inclusion) formed the OU Diversity and Inclusivity Council. The Council comprises faculty, staff, and administrators from across the University. The Council’s initial charge was to serve as an advisory committee for the Office of University Community and to: 1) review and advise on critical diversity issues, 2) coordinate diversity programs and initiatives across the University, 3) advise and manage diversity planning, and 4) identify and disseminate best practices.

Understanding that the work of diversity and inclusivity is complex and that this work must be systemic, involve all stakeholders, and focus on institutional change and transformation, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion worked collaboratively with OU Outreach to help frame the University’s strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. Using a Theory of Change methodology, this roadmap provides the basis for strategic plans where actions are aligned to desired outcomes and metrics to benchmark progress. The Council created four committees representing 1) undergraduate students, 2) graduate students, 3) faculty, and 4) staff and administrators to create strategic-action plans addressing the unique needs of historically underrepresented groups in these categories.

 

Needs

  1. Admissions pathways and academic supports for historically underrepresented undergraduate students.
  2. Increased participation by undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups in educational opportunities and initiatives.
  3. Increased financial resources and supports for students from historically underrepresented groups.
  4. Reduced bias and increased sense of inclusion and belonging in the undergraduate student experience. Explicit and implicit bias result in additional barriers for historically underrepresented undergraduate students that diminishes inclusiveness in all aspects of the student experience. The same is true for graduate students, staff, faculty and administrators.

Strategies

  1. Build outreach capacity to historically underrepresented undergraduate students. Inform them of educational opportunities and make transparent the supported pathways into the institution.
  2. Support undergraduate student organizations in creating experiences that enhance cultural awareness among all students and facilitate a shared sense of inclusion and belonging.
  3. Create a team approach for mentoring historically underrepresented undergraduate students. Offer coaching and advising about the many educational opportunities and initiatives available at OU.
  4. Create additional financial supports for undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups.
  5. Create an online financial literacy and outreach program for students, families, and academic communities to improve access to needed resources. Make this an integrated part of the application and enrollment process.
  6. Adopt promising practices that reduce bias in the experiences of historically underrepresented undergraduate students throughout the student lifecycle. Increase knowledge and build skills among undergraduate students to reduce bias.

Needs

  1. Admissions pathways for historically underrepresented graduate students.
  2. Enhanced graduate student supports, especially for underrepresented students.
  3. A cultural shift toward inclusion, belonging, and reduced bias in graduate student experience.

Strategies

  1. Create new admissions pathways for historically underrepresented graduate students, including funded bridge year programs to promote academic success.
  2. Build outreach capacity to historically underrepresented graduate students and international graduate students. Inform them of educational opportunities and make transparent the supported pathways into the institution.
  3. Build awareness among academic units of the unique challenges of graduate education for historically underrepresented students.
  4. Expand Graduate College support services for historically underrepresented students while they develop a scholarly network.
  5. Build awareness and increase utilization of various academic college, Graduate College and university student support services.
  6. Adopt promising practices that reduce bias in the experiences of historically underrepresented students throughout the graduate student lifecycle.
  7. Increase knowledge and build skills among graduate students to build scholarly networks.

Needs

  1. Improved data and systems to support and assess evidence-based diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.
  2. Improved recruitment and hiring processes; competence in and commitment to practices that promote recruitment and hiring of historically underrepresented groups.
  3. Enhanced engagement and retention practices, with a vision and pathway to shift our culture toward shared responsibility for diversity, inclusion and belonging.
  4. Reduced bias and increased inclusion in faculty, staff and administrators’ experience.
  5. Improved opportunities for professional learning about diversity, inclusion, and belonging issues and efforts. Effective and sustained efforts that cultivate commitment to diversity and inclusion, and that support the transition from knowledge to practice and action.
  6. Improved levels of networking (communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration) among senior administration, faculty and staff to support diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. Cultivation of a common understanding and shared vision.

Strategies

  1. Improve policies, practices, and access to existing diversity, inclusion, and belonging data. Do new data collection, including a climate survey, to assess local needs.
  2. Foster a university culture that promotes and supports processes for recruitment and hiring and retention of historically underrepresented faculty, staff and administrators.
  3. Increase knowledge and build skills to reduce bias and build scholarly networks.
  4. Build capacity with the knowledge, tools, and skills to support tenure, promotion, hiring, evaluation and other practices for diversity, inclusion, and belonging within the teaching, research, and service framework.
  5. Develop institutional capacity to provide centralized and customized, high quality professional learning to faculty regarding diversity, inclusion, and belonging in higher education.
  6. Provide opportunities for faculty, staff and upper administration to meet consistently to develop a common vision for diversity, inclusion, and belonging, with a strategic agenda to include goals, objectives, initiatives, and accountability measures and rewards.
  7. Adopt promising practices that reduce bias in the experiences of historically underrepresented faculty, staff and administrators throughout the career lifecycle.
  8. Increase knowledge and build skills to reduce bias and build professional networks.

Outcomes

As a result of the above strategies we expect the following outcomes for faculty, staff and administrators:

  1. Increased knowledge, tools and skills to support diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts.
  2. Increased number and percentages engaged in diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts.
  3. Increased perceptions of inclusion, belonging and satisfaction among historically underrepresented faculty, staff and administrators.
  4. Increased perceptions of being equipped to navigate bias in multiple environments by historically underrepresented faculty, staff and administrators.
  5. Increased participation in professional learning opportunities for diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
  6. Increased number and percentage of historically underrepresented faculty, staff and administrators in candidate pools.
  7. Increased number and percentage of historically underrepresented faculty, staff and administrators recruited, hired and retained.
  8. Increased opportunities for cross-collaborations and engagement among university community members on diversity, inclusion and belonging trainings and initiatives.
  9. Improved data access and usage to inform diversity, inclusion, and belonging needs and initiatives.
  10. Increased number and percentage of grant proposals generated related to diversity, inclusion and belonging.

We expect the following outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students:

  1. Increased applications, admissions, and enrollment yields by number and percentage of historically underrepresented students across schools, colleges and academic units.
  2. Increased retention and degree completion rates and reduced time to degree for historically underrepresented students.
  3. Improved academic success and career outcomes for historically underrepresented students.
  4. Increased perceptions of inclusion, belonging and satisfaction among historically underrepresented students.
  5. Improved development of diverse scholarly support networks.
  6. Increased opportunities for engagement and education on diversity, inclusion and belonging.
  7. Decreased experiences of racism, hate, bias and discrimination.

 

Action Steps

Make diversity, equity and inclusion a clear priority of the administration by announcing a strategic initiative for investment that will fund the following initiatives.

  1. Strengthen the resources and capacity of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  2. Strengthen the institutional infrastructure for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
  3. Enhance data coordination, access and capabilities, and do new data collection including a climate survey to assess local needs.
  4. Review Title IX office resources.
  1. Form a Presidential Diversity Council of faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni.
  2. Provide support for bias training for faculty, staff, and administrators through the Ally Trainings (Unlearning Racism, Sexism, Ableism, and Classism), and LGBT Ally training through the Gender + Equality Center.
  3. Fund HR-supported Employee Resource Groups that will include affinity groups.
  4. Declare target numbers for faculty, staff and administration representation and present a clear and actionable plan for increasing the diversity of faculty, staff and administrators through, e.g., cluster hires, strategies that legally promote diversity (demonstrated mentoring, demonstrated broadening participation, community engagement), and RFRA requests aimed at enhancing faculty diversity.
  5. Provide guidelines for faculty, staff and administrator performance evaluation (annual evaluation, tenure and promotion, awards, etc.) that explicitly value diversity work and reduce the influence of factors known to encode bias (such as student evaluations of teaching).
  6. Provide support for training in inclusive pedagogies.
  1. Form a Students’ Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, including both undergraduate and graduate students, to work with the Office of University Community and the President.
  2. Review and strengthen the Freshman/First-Year Diversity Experience (FDE) training.
  3. Appoint a second associate dean in the Graduate College to enhance student support and promote university-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives in graduate education.
  4. Provide funding for admissions pathways for underrepresented graduate students.
  5. Provide funding for Community Conversations.
  6. Increase development efforts: establish need-based and area of study-based scholarships and academic supports for historically underrepresented groups, first-generation and other underserved groups.
  7. Develop a policy on hate speech to be added to the OU student code of conduct.

Messaging:

  1. Presidential charge for diversity and inclusion to deans, department heads & other leadership.
  2. Emphasize the importance of this work by making it a strategic initiative for investment.
  3. Showcase the work that is already underway from colleges, departments and administrative units.
  4. Re-brand outgoing messages to include positive testimonials from our campus.   

Success for this plan depends on commitment from University of Oklahoma faculty, staff, and administrators to create a shared vision and direction that advances the OU community in its pursuit of excellence in equity, access, and inclusivity.

Long-term success also depends on a continuous improvement loop in which goals and benchmarks are assessed to ensure achievement or recalibration of strategies, as needed. This ensures the diversity, equity and inclusion plan is a living document that guides behavior, action, and resources.

We must continue to fulfill our mission:

“To enhance OU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, recognize and respect the essential worth of each individual and value differences amongst groups. We commit to building a welcoming and supportive campus environment where each individual feel welcomed, valued, and supported for success.”

Office of Diversity & Inclusion

 


Groups Engaged in Developing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan

Admissions and Recruitment

Faculty Senate

Human Resources

Office of Academic Assessment

Office of the Provost

Office of University Community

Office of the Vice President for Research

Student Affairs

OU Athletics

OU Libraries

OU Outreach

OU Health Sciences Center

OU-Tulsa

Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture

College of Arts and Sciences

College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences

College of Law

College of Professional and Continuing Studies

David L. Boren College of International Studies

Gallogly College of Engineering

Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Graduate College

Honors College

Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education

Mewbourne College of Earth & Energy

Michael F. Price College of Business

University College

Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts

Action Steps

  1. Hiring a Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) who will report directly to the university president. A matrixed relationship with HSC and Tulsa leadership will be expected.
  2. Establish and implement additional diversity and inclusion learning opportunities for staff, faculty and students across the university.
  3. Improve the overall sourcing/recruiting/hiring strategies for faculty and staff utilizing the annual Affirmative Action Plan (following Federal and State of Oklahoma laws).
  4. Ensure that all search committees and hiring managers understand diversity and inclusion and how to build such into each committee’s actions and decisions.
  5. Continue to build on current momentum to attract and retain historically underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students to the University of Oklahoma (following Federal and State of Oklahoma laws). 
  6. Incorporate clear measurements and guidelines for evaluating diversity and inclusion actions and outcomes within the faculty and staff performance review process.
  7. Incorporate rewards for faculty and staff who meet or exceed performance goals and engagement related to diversity and inclusion.
  8. Continue to provide robust leadership and guidance to all student groups by offering additional diversity and inclusion training, opportunities to discuss and voice concerns, and inclusive locations to meet and build programs that bring everyone together.
  1. Elevate diversity and inclusion as a high priority for OU: Communicate to internal and external constituencies our vision, mission, shared values and commitment to diversity and inclusion.  
  2. Build capacity for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
  3. Strengthen the institutional infrastructure for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
    1. Establish a shared governance model for leveraging key resources to implement diversity actions.
      1. Each college will appoint a diversity liaison/officer/director to work directly with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion on aligning internal diversity goals with institutional goals. The liaison will have a dotted reporting line to the VP for Diversity and Inclusion to collaborate on benchmarking and reporting.
    2. Build Community
      1. Launch #WEARE campaign and build around core values of inclusion and belongingness,
      2. Establish Employee Resource Groups/ Affinity groups.
  4. Begin internal (localized) college/department/ unit climate surveys with anticipated system wide campus climate survey in 2020.
  5. Establish annual awards to recognize diversity champions and/or innovations.
  6.  

Ongoing Working Groups, Committees & Councils

  1. Presidential Working Group on: Culture Building, Belongingness and Inclusion
    Chair: Dr. Jane Irungu. Co-Chair: Dr. Teara Lander
    Convener: Office of Diversity and Inclusion/ President’s Office/Provost’s Office/Student Affairs
  2. Diversity and Inclusivity Council
    Chair:
    Dr. Jane Irungu Co-Chairs: HSC and OU Tulsa TBD
    Convener
    : Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  3. Bias Response Committee
    Chair:
    Monique Ramirez. Co-Chair: TBD
    Convener:
    Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  4. Student Code of Conduct Review
    Chair:
    Dr. David Surratt
    Convener:
    Student Affairs
  5. Multicultural Advancement Committee (Students) (Norman)
    Chair:
    Adran Gibbs
    Convener:
    Student Government
  6. Diversity and Inclusivity Council (OU Tulsa)
    Chair:
    TBD
    Convener:
    Office of Diversity and Inclusion (OU Tulsa)
  7. Diversity and Inclusivity Council (OU HSC)
    Chair: TBD
    Convener:
    Office of Diversity and Inclusion (OU HSC)

 

 

 

The University has created a draft plan for diversity and inclusion efforts across all three campuses. While the University goals will remain constant, strategies will be regularly evaluated to meet the needs of the institution. The following is a guide for University entities to develop plans that meet the University goals and specific area needs.