Checking in at the DEI: A look back at the fall semester and what you can look forward to

In June 2020, Miami University President Greg Crawford established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) task force that compiled a report with 43 recommendations to help create a more welcoming community in Miami. According to the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI) Task Force Recommendations Update page, 22 of those recommendations have been implemented, while 20 of them are still pending.

The DEI Task Force organized these recommendations into five pillars: Dialogue and Alliance, Cultural Awareness, Advocacy and Partnerships, Structural Support and Resources, and Inclusion and Accountability.

According to OIDI Vice President Cristina Alcalde, Miami will continue its mission to advance an inclusive community through policies, initiatives and programs in the spring semester.

“Our DEI efforts remain strong and vital on campus and have been recognized with multiple national awards,” read an email from University Communications.

These honors include a 2021 Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion in International Education award, a 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award, and a 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM award for the Bridges program.

“The DEI President’s Task Force has done a great job identifying and recommending areas that continue to move Miami forward on our journey of inclusive excellence and our core commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Alcalde wrote in an email to The miami college student

In Fall 2021, OIDI established an Academic Diversity Officers Leadership Council to embed DEI approaches across all committees. The Council addresses Recommendation 5 of the Structural Support and Resources Pillar, which ensures common communication of DEI priorities and initiatives within each academic institution and department.

OIDI has also created a new Religious Customs and Inclusive Planning website to avoid planning important events, activities and deadlines on public holidays. The website welcomes additions and edits and expands Recommendation 10 under the Structural Support and Resources Pillar. Recommendation 10 ensures that the university recognizes and recognizes recognized holidays.

The task force investigated the use of land recognition, which recognizes the connection between Miami and the Myamia people. They created a land recognition webpage to share their historical significance and added an informative footer to university webpages. This addresses Recommendation 7 under the Structural Support and Resources Pillar, which focuses solely on land recognition.

OIDI expanded its “Behind the Scenes” Town Hall series, which features deans and other guest speakers, to provide details on how DEI is being integrated into the practices of each academic department. This is in line with recommendation 3 of the Inclusion and Accountability Pillar.

In February, two new directors will join the OIDI team to expand program initiatives. OIDI will also welcome undergraduate social media interns and establish a new DEI Student Council to emphasize student perspectives. This follows recommendations 1 and 2 of the Structural Support and Resources Pillar.

OIDI will launch a new DEI Officers Leadership Council for non-academic units and a new DEI Module Series Certificate for Alumni will be launched in March. The module focuses on DEI knowledge and strategies and addresses recommendations 13 and 15 on the Structural Support and Resources pillar and recommendation 4 on the Cultural Awareness pillar.

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Nikki Lescano, a Junior Kinesiology and Pre-Med Co-Major and President of the Alpha Psi Lambda Fraternity appreciates the work OIDI is doing to increase diversity on campus and their resilience during the pandemic.

“Typically, especially with things like diversity and inclusion, it takes a lot longer to implement things because a lot of different things are coming up,” Lescano said.

Lescano enjoys reading OIDI’s Weekly Three emails, but hopes to see more partnerships between DEI and student organizations in the spring.

“I didn’t see any collaboration between multicultural and black Greek life and the DEI task force,” Lescano said. “If there’s no connection between the two, I think that could be a really great addition.”

Although Alcalde didn’t say if OIDI would work with student organizations, she said OIDI will continue to build on his efforts this semester.

“As the spring semester begins,” Alcalde wrote, “I continue to be impressed with the students, faculty and staff of Miami and even more excited about the opportunities that unfold in the future.”


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