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Strategic Initiatives: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

On Nov. 9, 2015, the University of Missouri Board of Curators announced a series of strategic initiatives to be implemented to address areas of diversity, equity and inclusion across the four campuses of the University of Missouri System. Prior to Mun Choi taking over as UM System president on March 1, Interim UM System President Michael Middleton led efforts at the system level to reach the following initiatives:

Appoint a first-ever Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer for the UM System.

  • On March 23, Middleton announced the hiring of Dr. Kevin McDonald as the UM System’s first-ever Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDO). The appointment was effective June 1. As UM System CDO, McDonald is working to identify and address organizational and systemic issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion within the larger context of the university enterprise. This includes implementing policies and best practices in operational areas including human resources, finance and academic affairs. He serves as an adviser to the UM System president and general officers to implement diversity efforts with leaders across the system, oversee collaborative projects with the four campuses and health care, and develop programs to affect lasting institutional changes. 
  • Visit the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer webpage for additional information.

Initiate a full review of all UM System policies as they relate to staff and student conduct;

  • On May 23, Middleton announced the launch of a system-wide audit, conducted by an independent firm Interactive Business Inclusion Solutions (IBIS) Consulting Group. The audit is on track to be completed by the end of the calendar year. The audit includes focus groups and individual interviews with students, faculty, staff and leadership at all four campuses and at the system. We also conducted surveys and reviewed policies, practices and procedures through the lens of diversity and inclusion. Separate focus groups with students and faculty will be conducted this fall.
  • On February 9, 2017, the Board of Curators approved revisions to the Collected Rules and Regulations (CRRs) related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Revisions include improvements and updates for clarity and consistency, the addition of equity resolution process to address claims of discrimination against the university, and the addition of a student preferred name policy.
  • Visit the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Audit webpage for additional information.

Provide additional support for students, faculty and staff who have experienced discrimination and disparate treatment.

  • On February 3, the UM System announced one-time funding of $921,000 for campus initiatives to enhance progress toward creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable institution.  Those initiatives included a campus climate survey, additional training for campus and system administration, as well as students, and mental health support. The needs were identified in collaboration with campuses and the funding will address joint priorities as well as the unique needs of each campus. This initial funding support will be augmented at a later time.

Provide additional support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff;

  • Diverse faculty is a top priority. MU’s goal is to double the percentage of historically underrepresented faculty by 2020. Currently 6.7 percent of MU faculty members are from underrepresented groups. To accomplish this goal, MU has added $600,000 to its Faculty Incentive and Excellence Fund to target recruitment and retention of diverse faculty. With these additional funds, MU officials will have more than $1.3 million to use toward recruiting and retaining diverse faculty this academic year.
  • On Sept. 13, MU Interim Chancellor Foley announced a $1 million investment that will come from Intellectual Property revenue to recruit minority post-doctoral fellows who will come to MU as pre-faculty fellows with the goal of retaining them in the long-term. MU will seek additional donations to continue this endeavor in future years.

Create a diversity, inclusion and equity task force to develop both a short- and long-term strategy, plan and metrics for the UM System based on an inventory and audit of current programs, policies and practices.

  • On Dec. 27, 2015, Middleton named Dr. David Mitchell, MU associate dean for Academic Affairs and associate professor of Law, chair of the UM System’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. The task force is working with stakeholders across the system’s four campuses and health system to understand the complex issues at hand and develop recommendations and corresponding metrics to address those issues.
  • Visit the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force webpage or the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Audit webpage for additional information.

Establish campus-based task forces to develop diversity, inclusion and equity strategies, plans and metrics.

These task forces are still in development as the campuses await the results of the system-wide audit to guide strategies, plans and metrics.

Ensure that each UM System campus has a Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer reporting to the chancellor;

  • On Nov. 10, 2015, MU named Chuck Henson, associate dean for Academic Affairs and trial practice at the School of Law, as the interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity. Each UM System campus now has a CDO reporting to its chancellor for the first time. Henson returned to the School of Law faculty for the fall semester.
  •  On June 13, McDonald was appointed MU’s interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity.

Launch a diversity, inclusion and equity leadership training and development education program, which includes the board of curators, president and administrative leadership, followed by broader faculty and staff training. 

  • Leadership training and education programs have been and will continue to be developed to improve the multicultural awareness of faculty and staff. Once the system-wide audit is complete, additional awareness opportunities will be provided for senior leadership and the Board of Curators.

Reviewed 2019-08-05