Michigan State University has released its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee Plan, culminating 18 months of review, stakeholder input, and development. The plan was designed as a framework of recommendations to improve the culture around DEI and collaborate with overall strategic planning efforts across the university.
The committee was charged with taking inventory of the university's efforts related to DEI across campus, identifying potential synergies, pinpointing existing gaps and establishing a framework for making MSU a national leader in DEI. The framework includes 27 recommendations categorized by four major themes; increase diversity, ensure equity, promote inclusion, and enhance outreach and engagement.
Lipscomb and Garcia share the committee’s definitions for diversity, equity, and inclusion. And they detail the process the committee used to compile the research and recommendations in the plan. They also discuss the four key themes in detail and some of the key recommendations in the plan.
“President Stanley made it clear from the beginning of this process that he wants MSU to become a national leader in DEI,” says Garcia. “We cannot become a national leader if we just simply settle for what we historically have done.
“We cannot be a national leader if we don’t embrace different communities and bring them to the table. At the same time, we have to make sure that their voices are being heard. One of the things that was bought out of the report is that we began to look at the landscape of college aged students in Michigan; it's becoming quite flat. Where are all these state institutions in the state of Michigan going get their students? As we began to bring in new students, what will those students look like? What are their needs?
“What diverse faculty do we need to make sure the institution is providing a situation where students, faculty, and staff say ‘Wow, they understand me. I feel good here. I can see myself here.’ That's our core mission. It doesn't matter how diverse we are in the student body, though, if we don't graduate students. We looked at that, too.”
“If there is one thing MSU must do it’s that MSU must invest resources,” says Lipscomb. “We're talking financial resources, people resources, and programmatic resources. When you look at the institutions around the country who are distinguishing themselves, there is this embedding of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the day-to-day life of the university. So, if there's a take home message for us to become a national leader, it means we all have to be working towards it. It means we each have to be held accountable regardless of what your title is. It's very easy to think, oh, well, you got these diversity deans and this chief diversity officer to handle this. We're not superheroes. We're not super people. We're just people.
“Your values are demonstrated based on where you put your resources, and MSU has the potential to become a national leader. But it does mean that MSU has to be willing to realign resources and clarify the use of resources. The other issue that was very clear from the benchmarking that was done, and we talk about this in the last section of the report, we have to align leadership. We want campus to understand that this was a presidential initiative. This was something that President Stanley said he wanted to do. The establishment of the DEI steering committee and the direction to us that our work had to feed into the strategic plan we took that very seriously. The thought that we can begin to weave diversity, equity, and inclusion as a priority across all the activities of the university is how we can become a national leader.
“It won't be putting up a poster; it won't be saying, ‘Oh, this is what we're going to call this initiative.’ It will take integration across the mission areas. We think there's great opportunity because we have wonderful, bright, intelligent folks who can do this. We just need to create the avenue for the conversation. I think that is what we hope this plan does. It gives us the avenue for the conversation.”
“The one point that I want to amplify that Wanda pointed out was the issue of accountability,” Garcia adds. “The only way this plan will go forward is that the ministers and the leadership of the institution understand it, buy into it, and participate in moving it forward. Because if we simply say we're going to put a program together annually and that's it. That's not what we're talking about. If that's what you got out of this report, we did a miserable job. It's really looking at the full operations at the unit level, at the college level, and at the program level and really taking it in and digesting it. And some of it won't be fun. Let's be clear.
“If we are going to become a national leader, it's going to take effort. It's going to take resources and it's going to take some grit. If we do things right, we're going to come out in a good position.”
“This has to be a living document,” says Lipscomb. “This has to be a living process, and I think if you talk with people on the committee, I think we all learn things from each other. We certainly stumbled across lots of things as we went along and it's like Luis talks about, it's going to take some grit. It's a helpful endeavor if we have a positive attitude. In order for us to move forward, we have to take positive steps. We have to do something different tomorrow that we didn't do today and that's challenging for the university because the university is broad. Dr. Bennett talks about what he envisions with taking the report and actually going back through the recommendations, prioritizing them, and figuring out what's feasible. I've said this to the directors and in session that we're going to have to be the people who roll up our sleeves and get to work.
“It's going to have to be us. We all have to step back and ask more difficult questions than we have before. I do believe that when we start to look at the executive VPs in place now at the university, I think each of them in their own way has talked about the importance of interfacing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the lines that they're responsible for. We have challenged the president to be thoughtful about what he's responsible for.
“You make progress because you walked a lot of feet and then you got some yards and then eventually you got a mile. And sometimes it can be daunting because you want to be at the mile marker, but great athletes get to the mile marker by the little things they do every day. And that's what MSU is going to have to. That's what I'm hopeful for.
“As Wanda summed it up, this is really not the end of the DEI,” continues Garcia. “The plan is a process that is going forward and that's really where the energies need to be. But as I indicated, I think we have some wonderful opportunities to rethink our institution in ways that we have never done so before and to have different voices and different languages at the table as well.”
What are some key takeaways you'd like people joining in on our conversation to take away about the plan?
“Find a place in the plan where you're ready to start and get to work wherever you are in the institution, whether you're in a department or whether you're in a large unit,” Lipscomb says. “Begin the conversation as it relates to your level and as it relates to your unit and be a part of the conversation. Be a part of the work that has to be done.”
“One of the takeaways, additionally, that is important to me is when you sit down with the people who you lead, look around,” Garcia says. “Who's missing? Who are we missing? We must begin that process. The different voices we bring in bring value to MSU. We really need to understand that. I think historically, we have not looked at it like that. That means that if we bring in other people who are different than us and who have other mindsets and other thoughts, what you're doing is bringing in new worlds to the institution.
“These are worlds perhaps we don't understand. That's where the effort's going to be for us to take the time and to learn from others. It really speaks to the commitment that the people that the president has assembled are all truly and honestly committed to where he wants to take the institution.”
“The steering committee was a large group because there were faculty members, there were administrators, there were staff, and there were students,” says Lipscomb. “Various populations were represented. Moving forward, we're going to have to do some population specific work. And we have to figure out how to do that. And it's not about this group over another group. But each of the groups needs something that may not be needed by another group. Luis throughout the whole process would challenge us to think about who is not at the table.
“MSU is just such a large institution. It is so easy to get lost. Think about all the social identity groups. Think about those groups as you create search committees and advisory committees when you're pulling people together. Almost have a checklist and say, ‘How representative are we for real?’ It's got to be representative of where we see ourselves in the future.
“Some census data has recently been released. It wasn't surprising to any of us that the populations that are growing are the populations that are growing. What does that mean for MSU? How do we maintain a competitive edge? How do we say from a land grant standpoint that we want our graduates to go out and serve? Not only the state of Michigan, but the greater United States and the globe? We can't do that if we don't have representatives of those communities as a part of our community. It is probably one of the most important things we need to always reflect on because we have the opportunity to change.
“We have the opportunity to be better, but as Luis said, if you never look at who isn't at the table, you won't ever get better. You'll just have the same people sitting there who have always been sitting there.”
“And then constantly you're expecting different results, which is really odd because historically that's the way we've done it,” Garcia adds. “If we continue to do the same thing and just say, ‘Well, we tried but we still got the same results,’ no, stop. Stop the machine. Do self-assessment. We'll probably mess up a few times and that's quite all right, but you're trying something different, it's okay. And even if you look at the future of MSU through a business model, this makes business sense at the same time. People want to sell their product to everybody. It's not an exclusionary market. And I think those who figure that out are the ones who are going to thrive as institutions.”
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Russ White 0:00
Michigan State University has released its diversity Equity and Inclusion steering committee plan culminating 18 months of review, stakeholder input and development. The plan was designed as a framework of recommendations to improve the culture around a D II and collaborate with overall strategic planning efforts across the university. The dei steering committee was formed by MSU president Samuel L. Stanley, Jr, MD, in December 2019, and is co chaired by Wanda de Lipscomb, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and college of human medicine, Senior Associate Dean for diversity and inclusion, and Luis Alonzo Garcia, Director of Migrant Student Services. The committee was charged with taking inventory of the university's efforts related to dei across campus, identifying potential synergies, pinpointing existing gaps, and establishing a framework for making MSU, a national leader in D AI. The framework includes 27 recommendations, categorized by four major themes, increase diversity, ensure equity, promote inclusion, and enhance outreach and engagement. Wanda and Luis are joining me on this edition of MSU. today to talk about the plan. Welcome to both of you. Thank you. profit, we start by defining diversity equity and inclusion. It's a phrase we're hearing more and more rightly so. But how do you define it in the in the, with this plan
Unknown Speaker 1:39
was one of the first charges that President Stanley gave to the committee was to actually create a definition for the university. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are distinctively different issues. And collectively, you hear us refer to it as de. But it's really important to see how it breaks down. So the committee spent some time really sort of thinking about the context of defining diversity. In the report, people will find a preamble to the definitions. Diversity represents our very collective and individual identities and differences. We all have diversity aspects. to us. Equity goes beyond defining diversity, it looks at fair treatment, the opportunity and access to information and resources. And often when we talk about equity, you talk about policies, procedures, structures and guidelines. And inclusion refers to allowing all to feel like they belong, actively inviting everyone to contribute and participate. So the three concepts are often linked together. But they each have a individual sort of focus.
Unknown Speaker 3:20
I think Russ have a good example, for example of inclusion. I can go to the time that President designated and formulated the committee. He wanted to make sure from the onset, that the process included voices that historically have not been at the table. So by his own design, he made sure that this committee was representative of the diversed interests, future interests of MSU. And then how do we get people to the table? And how do we start having these these discussions? Some of the discussions, as you can see in the report, we have some work to do. But I think when we begin to look at those three, elements of diversity, equity inclusion, as it relates to real life at the university, we quickly see, yes, I think we do have some shortcomings, but many, many opportunities.
Russ White 4:21
There was a fairly large committee that put this report together. Can you tell me about the process that you took to compile all of the research and recommendations with such a large group and sort of what did your work involve
Unknown Speaker 4:34
back in? In January of last year, when Cynthia Jackson and I began the process and Cynthia stayed with us through May and then that's when Wanda joined us. But what we wanted to do is to identify expert areas of the university and a whole host on the academic side on the student side, and then we get Give them a host of questions that really guided each one of those subgroups. To begin to put the information together, put the data together, go out and get the data to illustrate a whole, what do we see in the data. But in a nutshell, that's what we begin how that process began.
Unknown Speaker 5:19
Now, if we were to think about the entire process, I think a way to think about it is in phases. And we described that in the report, the first phase was really sort of scanning the universe based on the expertise of the members of the committee. And we had a group that looked at benchmarking what was happening in other universities, as Louise indicated, looking across the various areas that the President wanted us to consider composition of, and success of students, faculty, and staff. Each of the the sort of working teams reviewed the information relative to those subgroups. And based on that information, then began to carve together some recommendations, suggestions, ideas, our committee looked at quantitative data, they looked at qualitative data. They looked at what was happening and other universities, they looked at what was in the literature about, you know, the composition and success of faculty, staff and students, we also did an inventory of the AI initiatives and programs across the university, to get a sense of what was already in place, what was happening, were a pretty big diverse place with your 70 degree granting major units, and then lots of other large administrative units. And so probably the very, the first phase one and two was a lot of that was kind of like pulling information together. I think we're all hoping that by fall of 2020, that we would have been back in person, we were sort of holding off in hopes that we would all be back in person. When it became evident in late July that that would not happen. The committee had to change its plan for engagement. And so from that, we created these listening sessions. And in the report, it includes like the list of all the different groups that participated in the listening sessions, we had to do all of that virtually. And we tried to do it in a condensed period of time, so that people's experience was kinda like in a box. So we did most of those starting mid October of 2020, running through about the end of November 2020. And then took that information and interface that with the information that the the subcommittee's were already beginning to generate. And the subcommittee's then sort of looked at each of the areas and like these, I don't want to say in subgroups, but it was like in subgroups. And then the challenge was then to take that information and to look for the themes that cut across. So like you said, Russ, we already have 27 recommendations, we would have had hundreds of recommendations, if everything was like capping apart. And so what the attempt was to say, Okay, so what are those overarching themes? What are those broad areas that connect, and that is what we attempted to generate and the recommendations that come following the plan.
Unknown Speaker 9:09
I'll add to that Ross, that as we began to do a self analysis of our institution, this was an excellent part of this process, was listening to the stakeholders, because it's one thing for us to determine how we think that we're doing, but it's more equally important for us to have to hear the voices of how others view us that we're former alumni that are business partners, and the list goes on. So I think that that was really extremely helpful. And they also helped us really identify what are some of the things that we're doing right at MSU. And they there's a list of of initiatives that they say those initiatives are impressive. You need to continue you need to improve You need to grow. So that was extremely helpful. And the more that I think the community at large sees themselves as a potential contributor to the future of the university, it positions us in a much better place.
Russ White 10:18
You know, we mentioned at the top of our conversation, the plan is built upon four key themes, increasing diversity, ensuring equity, promoting inclusion, and in enhancing outreach and engagement. Can you talk about how these themes came about? And what are some of the key recommendations and initiatives? We don't have to mention all 27? But give us a give us an example of why those themes and what are some of the key recommendations? And also, how do you think the plan will impact campus in the future?
Unknown Speaker 10:51
So Ross, I think the most difficult part of this whole process was the synthesizing to themes. When we think about increasing diversity, law recommendations and that section, you know, speak to data collection, we don't do that, well, we have to expand our data collection mechanisms, we have to bring your voices of expertise to help the university understand how we are missing potential powerful data that would help us plan for the future, because we don't collect the data, a lot of concern about obviously, the graduation opportunity gaps, the Board of Trustees data to us at one in one of our meetings, that, you know, their goal is that every student who enrolls at Michigan State leaves with an MSU degree that ultimately you're working towards not having any gap. So looking at sort of the composition of the student body, and how do you improve that, and one of the programs that you can have in place for that, recognizing that the staff at the university is huge. There are multiple unions represented in our staff group. But often the staff are the individuals who sought to create a foundation for the university, you know, across the board, and knowing that we need to have activities for that. And then obviously, also looking at academic, folks, the Falcon, the academic staff, and administrators, increasing diversity has a lot to do with people. But it also had a lot to do with content. So transforming the curriculum, is how one increases diversity. How do we expand our work and research and scholarship? That's a part of us increase in diversity. So that particular theme and cap, you know, it really had a lot of different components to it. Um, Louise, could you talk a little bit about ensure equity,
Unknown Speaker 13:09
that part of ensuring equity, also focus on some of our policies begin to look at policies and processes of the institution to assure that they weren't leaving anybody out? Okay. Because oftentimes, as we look at these situations, and we haven't, the University hasn't looked at itself in this fashion before. And so many voices, at the same time contributing to this process, it really begins to challenge us to begin to look at things in a very different way. And to question our policies. And oftentimes we get to the point is, well, why are we doing this? What we're doing is because this is the way we've done it, for example, as people identify themselves, it was quickly noted, well, we identify these because that's the way the federal government wants his information. But there's nothing that restricts us, like Wanda said, to gather beyond that, and to help really understand our populations. And here's the other thing that's really critical. We have to help people see themselves at the institution that they too are important to this, not just those identified by somebody else. But I think these processes that we begin to question, it really positions us to say, do we want more than this? Is this enough? Or Miss labeling people often came, I mean, right at our face and saying, This is not the way we want to be labeled it just saying what, but this is the way the feds identify it or restrict us. Nobody's restricting you that The information they want, you know, but again, ensuring that everybody is feeling that they're part of this massive institution. When we think
Unknown Speaker 15:11
about promoting inclusion, as I stated earlier, you know, inclusion suggests that you feel like you're a part of it, did you belong, there's a place for you. And the recommendations in that area speak to things like creating a climate survey, but not having 20 million climate service. So you know, like, what is the climate for the university overall, right? And how do small climate surveys tie into a larger university, one of the most uniform climate survey has been done was done by rvsm. But there's not been one that really kind of was totally like diversity driven. We think about things like physical environment, and accountability related to things like accessibility. How do we offer learning for students? So the committee was excited that we, for the first time last year, all of us had to complete a D module. But that is definitely not sufficient. That is, like doing the preamble. But then how does want to continue to work through you know, developing knowledge across the campus? How do we improve communications? How do we begin to build the concept of community policing, and connecting with the public safety component of the university? And how do we demonstrate that we really are an assessable place? We have one of the world renowned resource centers for persons with disability. And yet, when we talk to constituents, there are lots of issues that they feel are not taken into account on a regular basis. And then how do we really support our students just like what Louise mentioned? We have some wonderful programs out there, but sometimes they sit alone. So how does the university move to connect programs and recognize and support and resource programs that are proven to be successful in improving the life for our students? And then our final area was enhancing outreach and engagement. You know, we have extension workers in every county in the state of Michigan. So that's a really positive thing. Been lots of discussion about how does that extension representation integrate with the diversity of our state? You know, so we have urban pockets and rural pockets. And, you know, we have industrial components, we have our agricultural components. But what is not clear to most is how extension really provides a fodder for us responding to our very diverse communities. And that is also the case as we look at how we work with alumni groups, and how we, you know, develop donors, and how do we do outreach. So those concepts that you see on the report many of those recommendations and actions, they were all a part of phase, they came from workgroups, they said, Okay, if we were really serious about doing a, then we would do the
Unknown Speaker 18:49
one thing, Ross, I would add as good luck at outreach, it was evident by the group that one of the dynamics that we have to look at is the language communities historically, we just look at Well, we put this information out to the communities in English. And a lot of assumptions are made. And we've seen this in our Arab community. We've seen it in our Latino community. We seen the dynamic in Flint, where various communities were not receiving information because we historically haven't reached out to them like that. So it really begins to, for us to begin to look at at things differently. And question, who who will be receiving these information? How are we communicating? Who do we want to communicate? So it becomes really an opportunity for us to ask ourselves that question, and historically we have not done so. And I think that this is all in the backdrop of where the President wants to be. He's made it real clear from the beginning that he wants him this you can become an national leader that has implications, we cannot become a national leader if we just simply settled for what we historically have done. And we cannot be a national leader, if we don't embrace different communities, bring them to the tables. And at the same time, making sure that their voices are being heard, and they're feeling part of the institution. One of the things in the that was bought out of the report, that is, we began to look at the landscape of college aged students in Michigan, it's becoming quite flat. And so where are all these state institutions in the state of Michigan, going to get their students? And so we really need to think that model that historically, we did never had to worry about. And as we begin to bring in new students, what will those students look like? What are their their needs? As we begin to look at faculty, what diverse faculty do we need to be as we begin to bring the students and we need to make sure that they're in place so that again, the institution is providing a situation where people just saying, Wow, they understand me? I feel good here. I can see myself here, faculty, staff and students. I mean, and that's our core mission.
Russ White 21:32
Well, in Luis, you started to address it there. But what will it take to make MSU, a national leader in di,
Unknown Speaker 21:39
one of the things is really began to look at that landscape in terms of the students and continue to allow for some dynamic research on the part of the faculty invest in things that we historically have said, Well, we don't have extra money to do that. But it's beginning to really assess and reassess our priorities and saying, what is going to move us to a position that it will attract additional faculty. At the same time, what are new things that we can do in the science and the business world and the agriculture world that will continue to position us so that we attract people and attract great minds. And at the same time, it doesn't matter how diverse we are in the student body, if we don't graduate students, for example. And I think that we have to look at that we need to look at our, at our various African American Studies, or to kind of Latino Studies, all these units that we have, and see how they can become a major, a more significant contributor to the overall mission of the institution. I think we're we haven't gotten to a place where we are fully integrating them to their full potential.
Unknown Speaker 23:07
So I think Russ, if there is one thing and MSU must do is MSU must invest resources. We're talking financial resources, people resources, programmatic resources, when you look at the institutions around the country who are distinguishing themselves, right? There is this embedding of diversity, equity and inclusion into the day to day life of the university. So like, if there's a take home message, for us to become a national leader, it means we all have to be working towards it means we each have to be held accountable, irregardless of what your title is, you know, it's very easy to think, Oh, well, you've got, you know, these diversity Danes, and you've got this chief diversity officers, we're not superheroes, we're not super people. We're just people. Your values are demonstrated based on where you put your resources. And MSU has the potential to become a national leader. But it does mean that MSU has to be willing to realign resources, clarify the use of resources. The other issue that was very clear from the benchmarking that was done and we talked about this in that last section on the report, you know, we have to align leadership. I want to get back to something that Louisa we want campus to understand that this was a presidential initiative. This was something that President Stanley said he wanted to do when You know, he stood up that day to say he was being acknowledged as the incoming president. I'm not sure that any of us walked away thinking that anything really was gonna get done. Because our past experiences suggested that it wouldn't have been It was like a soundbite for the mic. So the establishment of not only the steering committee, but also the direction to us that our work had to feed into the strategic plan. And, you know, we took that very, very seriously. So as the strategic plan is made public, as we move into the fall, we expect that it will be visible the campus how those integrations, right, so everyone should have a D statement. Everyone, all of us are diverse, none of us are totally, you know, we're not a homogeneous campus of 50,000 students, and, you know, several 1000, faculty and staff, each of us walk in with intersectional aspects of who we are. We're not simply defined by our visible attributes. We are much more complex beings than that. And so the thought that we can begin to weave diversity, equity and inclusion as a priority across all the activities of the university, is how we can become a national leader. You know, it won't be putting up a poster, it won't be, you know, saying, Oh, this is what we're going to call this initiative, it will take that integration across the mission areas. And we think there's great opportunity, because we have wonderful, bright, intelligent folks who can do this, we just need to create the avenue for the conversation. I think that is what we hope this plan does. It gives us the avenue for the conversation, you know, we step away, we were never an implementation committee. So unlike the relationship, violence, sexual mistreatment, expert advisory group, they were really a planning group and an implementation group. They stay in place. Our committee was more like, tell us give us your ideas, what could we do. But it was clear to us from the very beginning, we were not the implementers.
Unknown Speaker 27:47
So as we make this report, and we pass it on to the President, and to the Vice President of diversity, it is our expectation that the implementations phase begins when we hand off the report, and that the leadership for the implementation is going to come from that level. The one point that I wanted to
Unknown Speaker 28:12
amplify, that Wanda pointed out was the issue of accountability. The only way this plan will go forward, is that the administrators and leadership of the institution, understand it, buy into it, and participate in moving it forward. Because if we simply as Wanda indicated, say, well, we're going to put a program together annually. And that's it. That's not what we're talking about. If that's what you got out of this report, we did a measurable job. It's really looking at the full operations at the unit level, at the college level, at the program level, and really take it in, digest it. And some of it won't be fun. Let's be clear. When we begin to see ourselves in the mirror, sometimes he's just saying, Wow, this is the way we're coming across. Yes. And if we are going to become a national leader, it's going to take effort, it's going to take resources, and it's going to take some grit. But I think, you know, we were going through some difficult times, financially, many institutions are, but I think if we do things right, we're going to come out in a good position.
Russ White 29:32
I know you both have full time jobs, and I'm sure this was some time some exhausting work, but this has to be rewarding. It's important,
Unknown Speaker 29:40
I think is really important. We each are on a learning curve. We don't have any perfect people who served on a steering committee. Each of us are at different stages and phases. And this has to be a living document. This has to be a living process. And I think if you talk with people on the committee, I think we all learn things from each other. We certainly stumbled across lots of things as we went along. And it's like Louise talks about, it's gonna take some grit, right? It's a helpful endeavor, if we have a positive attitude. Yeah, you know, so I think we could have written 200 pages of all the gaps, all the things that don't seem to exist, right. In order for us to move forward, we have to take positive steps. So we have to do something different tomorrow that we didn't do today. And that's challenging for the university because in university is bra. So when you hear Dr. Bennett talk about what he envisions with taking the report, and actually kind of going back through the recommendations, prioritizing now figuring out what's feasible, you know, I've said this to the deans and directors that I am in session, we're going to have to be the people who roll up our sleeves and get to work, it's gonna have to be us, it's gonna have to be all of us is going to have to be us being able to step back and ask difficult questions that we had before. And I do believe that when we start to look at the executive VPS, we're in place now at the university. I think each of them in their own way have talked about the importance of interfacing, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to the lives that they're responsible for. And we have challenged the president to be thoughtful about what he's responsible for. So like, when you look across executive management, for example, right? Well, that's a whole tier of people that don't exist, they're on our little regular, everyday world, right. I mean, I think we're hopeful that when our leaders are moving forward in a positive way and taking steps, you know, you get to a mile because you walked a lot of feet, and then you got some yards, and then eventually you got a mile. And sometimes it can be daunting, because you just, you know, you want to be at the mile marker. But you know, great athletes get to the mile marker by the little things they do every day. And that's what Emma, she was gonna have to do. And it's been a great privilege. And I have loved working with this committee. And I love working with Luis Alonso Garcia, we have spent many day on this video screen. But it takes this kind of work, I think, to create opportunities for change. And that's what I'm hopeful for. This is not something that people will, you know, people will have comments, some people will have positive comments. Some people will say you didn't go far enough. Some people will say, Why didn't you do this? Right? Well, if we can just start with what we have, we can grow and breathe life into the next stage. And I think that's the responsibility that all of us have.
Unknown Speaker 33:25
And Russ, I think that as Wanda summed it up, this is really not the end of the AI, the plan is a process that is going forward. And that's really where the energies need to be. But as I indicated, I think we have some wonderful, wonderful opportunities to rethink our institution in ways that we have never done so before. And to have different voices, different languages, at the table as well,
Russ White 34:02
just as we wrap up some key takeaways, you'd like people joining in on our conversation to take away about the plan,
Unknown Speaker 34:10
find a place in the plan where you're ready to start and get to work. Wherever you are in the institution. Whether you're in a department, whether you're in a large unit, begin the conversation as it relates to your level as it relates to your unit and be a part of the conversation and be a part of the work that has to be
Unknown Speaker 34:39
one of the takeaways, additionally, that I think it's important to me would be is that the first stage that you sit down with the people that you lead, look around who's missing. What are we missing here, folks? Who are we missing? I think we begin that process. And remember, remember that the voices and the communities that we bring in, they bring in value, we really need to understand that. And I think historically, we have not looked at it like that. That means that if we bring in other people that are different than us, you know, other mindsets, other thoughts, that we become less than, on the contrary, what you're doing is bringing in new worlds, to the institution, worlds, perhaps we don't understand. That's where the efforts going to be, for us to take the time and to learn from others. And that's going to be a task because we historically, we tend to know things and say, This is the way the world is and when, in fact, it is not and has not been. But I think as we the good takeaway would be that, Russ, but again, I think it really speaks to the commitment that the people that the President has assembled, are, we are all truly, honestly committed to where he wants to take the institution
Unknown Speaker 36:10
to thank Russ, if, as you prepare to launch this, right, if you just took a look at who was on the steering committee, you know, the steering committee was a large group, because there were faculty members, there were an administrators, there were staff, there were students, various populations were represented. And you know, moving forward, we're gonna have to do some population specific work. And we have to figure out how to do that. And it's not about this group over another group. But But each of the groups, they need something, there may not be needed by another group. And you know, Louise, throughout the whole process would, you know, challenge us to think about who is not at the table. So when we get down in these units that we're in, right, the president used a very broad definition of diversity. And we need to take those parameters and look at that, like, within our areas, right? So you know, you can say, Oh, well, you know, in the sciences there Now, a lot of women, well, if you just deal with women in the sciences, look at all the people who are still not at the table. Yeah. So I think, you know, that's where the hard work is gonna come. You know, cuz you have to do and not or, and you have to feel comfortable knowing that, you know, on the month of September, the focus might be this, the month of October, the focus may expand to something else. But I think that was very, very critical to the work of the committee, because MSU is just thought such a large institution, it is so easy to get lost. And so, you know, thinking about all those social identity groups, and thinking about those groups, as you create search committees, as you have advisory committees, you know, when when you're pulling people together, just really kind of almost having a checklist and saying, how representative, are we, for real? I mean, it's got to be representative of where we see ourselves in the future. You know, if we just define ourselves by where we are today, then well, we already know that that's not really good. But to be at a place where you begin to, you know, think ahead. And you know, last night on the national news, everybody's talking about the census data wasn't surprising to any of us that the populations that are growing, are the populations that I wrote, it just seemed like really synergistic, that everybody was talking about it last night. So what does that mean for MSU? How does that how do we maintain a competitive edge? You know, how do we say from a land grant standpoint, that we want our graduates to go out and serve not only the state of Michigan, but the greater United States and the globe? Well, we can't do that if we don't have representatives of those communities as a part of our community. I mean, it is probably one of the most important things we need to always reflect on because we have the opportunity to change we allow opportunity You need to be better. But you know, as Louis said, if you never looked at who wasn't up to table, you won't ever get better, you'll just have the same people sitting there that have always been sitting there.
Unknown Speaker 40:11
And then personally, you're expecting different results, which is really odd, because historically, that's the way we've done it. We continue to do the same thing and just saying, well, we tried, but we still got the same results, no stop, stop the machine, do self assessment, and then say, Okay, what do we begin to do different? And you know, what, we'll probably mess up a few times. And that's quite alright. But you're trying something different. And, and it's okay. But I think that even if you look at the future of MSU to a business model, what makes business sense at the same time? Okay, if strictly if you want to look at it like that, and I don't, and there's different thoughts on on both sides of the of the fence on that subject. But as a business model, people want to sell their product to everybody. It's not an exclusionary market. And I think those that figure that out, are the ones that are going to thrive as institutions.
Russ White 41:14
But we've been discussing Michigan State University's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion steering committee plan, with the CO chairs Wanda Lipscomb, PhD, who is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and college of human medicine, Senior Associate Dean for diversity and inclusion, and Luis Alonso Garcia, Director of Migrant Student Services. To read the report, click on the mission and initiatives tab at president Stanley's website at president dad msu.edu. And I'm Russ white, this is MSU today
Transcribed by https://otter.ai