Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
It's Time to ActDiversity, Equity & Inclusion
In June 2020, Student Affairs leaders made a commitment to take an active role in creating and supporting a more unified and inclusive campus. To improve ourselves and the community we create, we are committed to listening, supporting and advocating for what is right to confront racism and to promote racial justice, inclusion and equity.
View the 'Time to Act' communication from June 2020
Our Calls to Action
Engage in self-guided forums and small group discussions to assist us in better understanding how we can be a more culturally competent community.
Vicki Highstreet, in her role of interim diversity, equity and inclusion special project manager, facilitated discussions in the following areas in the Spring 2021 semester. The Engage, Experience and Expand Series was aimed at Examining Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Growth Towards Being a Culturally Competent Community Member.
- Appreciating the complexity of identity: Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover, offered March 18, 2021
- Recognizing processes and outcomes of socialization: How Attitudes and Beliefs Can Influence Our Perceptions, offered April 1, 2021
- Utilizing inclusive and affirming language: The Impact and Influence of Language in Community Interactions, offered April 15, 2021
- Embracing collaborations across difference: The Diversity and Dimensions of Power and Privilege in Work Styles and Communication, offered April 29, 2021
Discussion topic requests should be directed to email@example.com
Identify and engage a student advisory board on inclusivity to ensure we hear from and are responsive to Black students and other marginalized student populations, to establish how we can more effectively serve students, and to identify tangible outcomes.
The student advisory board was organized in August and met every two weeks throughout the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. Students were nominated by Student Affairs' directors, and seven of those students participated on a regular basis. They identified the following action items for Spring 2021:
- Developed a Safety Tip Sheet for how to protest safely and submitted to the Chancellor for approval.
- Coordinated a “Cooking with Communities” event to experience different types of food and engage in discussion about the culture represented by the chosen food, as well as holding a faculty led discussion about food insecurities and the impact on marginalized populations. Open virtually to all campus constituents.
- Continued reviewing marketing relative to equity and inclusion messages in all communication, digital strategies and print materials to ensure that visual images, language and viewpoints convey the commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Establish content standards that can be applied to professional development programs and student-centered learning exercises to address key topics such as privilege, systemic prejudice, implicit bias, deficit thinking, etc., and to ensure all are welcomed and included on campus.
A cross-functional team, led by Dustin Rollins, Vanessa Vaught and Jess Wagner, worked throughout the fall to review social and racial justice professional development content standards and how we might thread them into our staff development and training. In fall and early spring 2020-2021, the team launched a brief survey to internal UNL student affairs departments to better understand what is being offered as well as any expectations or standards our units offer in this area. The team gathered information from peer institutions as a benchmarking strategy. Taking a curricular development approach, the team identified learning outcomes to recommend for adoption by the UNL SA senior team.
Require social justice and inclusion training as part of the annual performance review process for all Student Affairs staff.
Social justice and inclusion training have been combined with efforts of the work group focused on content standards and training.
Increase accountability and transparency efforts to diversify staff working at all levels in Student Affairs (identify a baseline, set target goals, and assess metrics on an annual basis).
A cross-functional team, led by Jenny Seamans and Allen Vaughan, has identified four areas that need to be sufficiently examined and possibly reimagined:
- Recruitment, from the job description to recruitment to the selection process
- Pre-boarding, from the point of contingent offer to starting the job
- Retention. The goal is to identify how we can recruit and retain a more diverse staff, which includes engagement and inclusivity throughout the entire process.
The team immersed themselves in research on the hunt for best practices, both internally and externally. The survey, distributed to all Student Affairs hiring managers and those who have served on search committees, provided feedback on the processes and experiences needed to create diverse candidate pools. A final report with recommendations was submitted to the UNL SA senior team for adoption with recommendations.
Audit current policies, practices and structural decision-making processes to ensure they promote and provide equitable access to diverse students and staff.
After initial research, the Policies, Practices, and Processes Audit team, led by Josh Overocker and Kat Grier, has developed an audit tool designed to review the inclusiveness of policies, practices, and decision-making processes across the division and at different scales, ranging from a whole department to a single process. The tool includes four themes: Inclusivity, Accessibility, Cultural Sensitivity, and Financial Barriers, each with a variety of questions for departments, programs, or units to consider. The team piloted the audit in December 2020, and put forth final recommendations and strategies to the UNL SA senior team for adoption.