Strategic Initiative · Reimagining Inclusion and Equity at NMU
With recent changes in the Office of the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer it is clearly time to review the role and mission of all of the diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. This includes an opportunity to expand on the newly created Student Equity and Engagement Center, including a redesign of a physical space, tentatively in Hedgcock, that creates a welcoming and supportive environment for all faculty, staff and students. Northern will also create a plan centered on issues of diversity and inclusion, equity and social justice.
A clearly identified and prominent space on campus devoted to diversity, inclusion and equity and investing in dynamic activities of engagement will be critical to the success of Northern’s goals to broaden social justice efforts. Strategically developing a comprehensive initiative in direct partnership with the President’s Council on Diversity will be vital.
Like having designated space, it will be important to have a clear set of definitions of what the terms diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice mean to the Northern Michigan University community, and the actions and policies those definitions require. Among the actions and policies will be a more definitive process that the University and all University departments and units will be expected to take to work toward attracting an increasing student and employee populations that are currently underrepresented at Northern.
This new strategic plan for diversity, inclusion and equity will identify systems and processes that root out systemic racism (intentional and unintentional, overt and covert) at the University. It will support departmental committees and programming related to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice
How this will add to NMU’s prestige and distinction:
Northern has long struggled with attracting and retaining a full range of diverse faculty, staff and students. Too often our cultural and demographic history have limited our thinking and actions. Demonstrating that Northern can be a place that is truly supportive and attractive to diverse populations will serve to enhance the reputation of the university along with the community.
Thinking even bigger:
Developing expanded partnerships with a variety of communities, both local and from across the region, would provide an opportunity to bring real distinction to Northern. As just one example, this effort could include targeting partnerships with tribal colleges not only in Michigan but throughout the region and beyond.