The Evaluation and Assessment team in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) designed and implemented a central evaluation process to assess the impact of U-M’s initial five-year DEI Strategic Plan (DEI 1.0). This work is guided by two fundamental principles: inclusion and transparency. Together, these facilitate the University’s pursuit of the higher-order principle of accountability in DEI action, which in turn will enable the institutionalization of DEI action, programs and processes into the infrastructure of the University.

Using a multi-faceted, multi-method approach, our DEI 1.0 evaluation efforts examined the University’s progress toward creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable campus community. To engage this work both centrally and at the unit level, the evaluation and assessment team supported unit-level self-evaluations and examined central-level metrics of success. Specifically, we compiled and examined institutional data to assess the following critical outcomes of DEI 1.0:

  • Shifts and continuity in demographic diversity
  • Campus climate experiences across diverse groups
  • Progress toward institutionalizing DEI action
  • Formalized policies, practices and procedures to support DEI
  • The infusion of DEI into university budget considerations
  • The prevalence of DEI in educational curriculum
  • The impact of central-level DEI campus initiatives
  • Key learnings from unit-level evaluation efforts

The impact analyses described in this report website and the downloadable DEI 1.0 Evaluation Report demonstrate significant progress toward increased diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Michigan, but also highlight areas for improvement and focused attention as the University prepares to launch the second five-year initiative.

The following information provides additional details on the foundational principles of DEI 1.0, and evaluation resources created to support unit self-evaluations.

A Capsule History of DEI 1.0 Planning and Implementation: Purpose, Principles and Process

As an institution of higher education, we believe that diversity is essential to individual flourishing, educational excellence and the advancement of knowledge. We also believe that making the campus community more diverse, more equitable and more inclusive is a social responsibility of the university. Integral to the mission of U-M is the goal of ensuring that every member of our campus community has a full and unfettered opportunity to thrive. Thus, the concept of academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from Michigan’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The initial 5-year DEI strategic planning and implementation process (DEI 1.0) reflected the university’s aspiration to acknowledge, analyze and understand its complex relationship to the community it serves, and to use those understandings to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive present and future.

With that goal in mind, DEI 1.0 planners were guided by the following FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES:

(1) We will strive for organizational change in the service of greater diversity, equity and inclusion.

Planning, implementation and assessment processes are crucial to achieving DEI goals and changes throughout the institution. DEI 1.0 called for each school, college and unit to oversee a year-over-year process—one that involved planning, implementing and assessing specific, achievable and sustainable short-, medium-, and long-term goals and actions. The objective was to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion for all key constituents (students, faculty, staff, alumni, patients, etc.) in ways that assure a supportive learning environment for every member of the U-M community.

(2) Organizational change will be achieved through a dynamic process of year-over-year planning, implementation and assessment of the unit-level and campuswide DEI plans.

The year-over-year assessment workflow is key to making U-M a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. It achieves this by: emphasizing DEI in terms of strategic priorities; building a campuswide effort; developing institutional and constituent capacity to implement and improve the DEI effort; fully institutionalizing DEI into the university; and ensuring continued progress and long-term sustainability.

(3) Tracking metrics will indicate whether specific shifts up or down, or lack of activity, represent positive outcomes relative to progress toward our goals of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus.

As part of DEI 1.0, units regularly reviewed and updated their DEI plans to reflect both progress toward constituent goals and any newly identified opportunities and challenges. Each year, units assessed plan-related action items and initiatives such as program participation rates, utilization of services, increased awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion (e.g. learning outcomes from training) and other leading measures of progress.

The DEI Evaluation Year provides the opportunity to assess longer-term measures, not only in the demographic composition of our units and campus over time, but also shifts in climate and key indicators of equity across all populations. This summative evaluation will help determine the extent to which our DEI goals of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus have been achieved.

(4) Self-evaluation helps to identify which “institutionalization” components (policy, practices, structures, culture, and climate) or dimensions (constituents, campus, community) are progressing well and which need more attention.

Each school, college or unit is encouraged to collect information relating to its successes, challenges and overall progress, which can then be used to report data-informed (quantitative and/or qualitative) evidence of its DEI Plan implementation. This in turn will generate performance measures. Regardless of data type, the focus is on reporting information that illustrates accomplishments during DEI 1.0 as well as implementation challenges. Ultimately, the unit self-evaluation should increase communication, establish clear expectations and reinforce good performance within a context of cooperation, organizational learning and teamwork. Ideally, the self-evaluation will provide all constituencies with ample opportunity for feedback and suggestions.

(5) Communicating self-evaluation results to key audiences is integral to accountability, continuous improvement and future planning.

Summative evaluation of DEI 1.0 will provide critical information to university and unit leadership, allowing them to demonstrate accountability for their financial allocations. It also will prepare them to make decisions regarding DEI 2.0; for instance, which DEI efforts to continue, which ones to improve, which to phase out, and the capacity for new initiatives.

It is important to publicly share evaluation results with all constituencies, thereby increasing participation, support and trust. Communications should be presented in wide-ranging formats in an effort to reach all audiences (written reports/executive summaries, websites, presentations, etc.)

(6) We will measure progress of organizational change as evidenced through indicators of change in policy, practices, structures, culture and climate.

Identifying processes and points of accountability for achieving designated goals makes it possible to measure movement toward institutionalizing DEI within the university infrastructure (Guy, Reiff, and Oliver 1998; Williams, Berger, and McClendon 2005; Williams and Clowney 2007). Measurable progress suggests that a school, college or unit is moving closer to incorporating DEI into its structures, policies, practices and procedures. When that happens, the university as a whole advances in its goal of changing the campus culture and climate.

In Summary

With DEI 1.0 now concluded, we must continue to assess the progress and sustainability of our achievements as we move forward, to DEI 2.0 and beyond. Literature on organizational culture and change in higher education suggests that transformative change may take as long as 10 to 15 years to achieve (Simsek and Louis 1994). Therefore, we must continue to be both patient and persistent in our commitment to the goals of DEI and in our actions to bring about institutional change. Only by doing so can we hope to achieve a more diverse, equitable and inclusive University of Michigan for all, a place where every community member can flourish and thrive, both academically and personally, and a place that truly serves the public good.

The DEI Evaluation Toolkit User Guide

The Five-Year DEI Evaluation Toolkit provides units with a structure to support self-evaluations of their DEI 1.0 efforts. The Toolkit includes an overview of the unit self-evaluation process as well as a proposed timeline. It also offers detailed information about unit-level data provided centrally; mandatory and optional components of the self-evaluation; a report template and step-by-step reporting process; and appendices featuring resources as well as examples for new data collection.

View the entire DEI 1.0 Evaluation Toolkit User Guide shared with units in support of their self-evaluations.

Centrally, we engaged in an evaluation process using multiple sources of institutional data to understand the impact of the first five years of DEI 1.0 on the demographic makeup of the university (People); the policies and procedures that support an inclusive climate (Process); and the education, scholarship and service efforts of U-M (Products). In doing so, we also supported units with their self-evaluations and analyzed their subsequent reports to understand how unit efforts have impacted the campus overall.

Felecia Webb

Felecia Webb

Director of Evaluation and Assessment, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion