The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA)’s efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continue, and it has posted a two-year progress report of its DEI Strategic Plan on its website.
A team of LSA faculty, student, and staff leaders designed the Strategic Plan to focus on three important priorities: creating greater access to the many resources and opportunities at U-M, developing a culture that values the voices and participation of all, and harnessing the power of diversity to strengthen the overall learning for members of the U-M community.
“As we reflect on the last two years, it is evident that the progress we’ve made is the result of the commitment and effort of many students, faculty, and staff”, says Fiona Lee, Associate Dean of DEI and Professional Development. “Our Strategic Plan is not a quick remedy to solve the challenges we face. There is much work to be done, but this is the catalyst for the transformative change we will see.”
Various programs and initiatives were key to the college’s progress, including:
- Through a partnership between the LSA Opportunity Hub and LSA’s Scholarship Office, the college provided $1.1 million in funding to more than 400 students for internships and related opportunities.
- This year, LSA provided 579 laptops to students with financial need. Over the past four years, LSA has provided 1,302 laptops to students who could not otherwise afford them.
- LSA’s Scholarship Office won the Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education for its work to provide funding for students who wish to study abroad but do not have the financial resources to do so.
- LSA’s Passport Scholarship Program hosts an event on campus that provides funding for the passport application, passport photos, and access to U.S. passport officers who can help students complete the passport application. All first-year LSA students who are eligible for Pell Grants may participate. Last year the program provided 127 passports to students. This fall the program provided passports to 251 students who could not otherwise afford them.
Comprehensive Studies Program (CSP) Expansion
- The Comprehensive Studies Program is an academic, social, and personal support program for undergraduate students with outstanding potential for success at U-M. LSA expanded the program’s capacity and increased the number of first-year students by 150, bringing the current total cohort to 2,993.
LSA Collegiate Fellows
- In 2018, LSA recruited nine new Collegiate Fellows. Collegiate Fellows are expected to transition into tenure-track faculty positions at the end of their two-year fellowship. Each fellow combines scholarly excellence with demonstrated commitment to and experience in enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sixteen fellows have been recruited in departments across LSA over the last two years, moving the college closer to its goal of hiring 50 fellows over five years.
- LSA staff members created a staff-oriented arm of this student-created group, which supports substantive and constructive dialogue across political/ideological differences. Last year, WeListen staff sessions facilitated dialogue on a variety of political issues, such as gun control and free speech.
LSA Inclusive Teaching Website
- LSA’s Undergraduate Climate Committee created a website that provides faculty with various classroom activities to facilitate inclusive classrooms. Culled from LSA faculty’s best practices, these activities have proven to increase participation from all students, create more active/experiential learning processes, capture knowledge from diverse sources, and facilitate student-created resources.
You can read the complete list of highlights on LSA’s DEI page.
The LSA DEI Plan is part of a university-wide commitment to building a culture where all individuals feel welcome and valued. As the largest college at U-M, LSA’s long-term approach to improving DEI is essential to meeting these goals. LSA is a premiere institution because of the diverse people in it, but the key is providing a wide range of resources and opportunities where all individuals can thrive.
You can read the LSA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan here.