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UM System announces Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer candidate open forums; one-time funding for campus needs

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John Fougere

February 03, 2016

UM System shows significant progress toward diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, increased opportunity for student input

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri System will host open forums beginning February 9 for three final candidates in the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer search. The university has been engaging in a nationwide search for the first-ever CDO for the UM System using a systemwide search committee that included faculty, staff and student leaders from each campus, chaired by Missouri University of Science and Technology Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader.

In addition, the UM System announced one-time funding of $921,000 for campus initiatives to enhance progress toward creating a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization.  Those initiatives include 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 will begin to address joint priorities as well as the unique needs of each campus. This initial funding support will be augmented at a later time.

Both of these announcements come after the University of Missouri Board of Curators, on November 9, 2015, announced a series of initiatives to be implemented to address the racial climate on its campuses. Since then, the UM System has made significant progress on these initiatives.

“As one of the goals during my interim presidency, the UM System is focused on achieving the diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives established by the board,” UM System Interim President Michael Middleton said. “As part of that effort, we are committed to involving all of our student groups on our four campuses as we look for solutions to the issues that challenge us, and have been developing mechanisms to ensure student voices are heard.”

In addition to the above announcements, the UM System has:

  • Established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force made up of representatives from all four campuses. Chaired by Dr. S. David Mitchell, the task force named Phase I of its membership and held its first meeting to develop strategies, plans and metrics for the UM System and will be seeking input from students, faculty and staff. Future plans include the development of campus-level task forces that will include the voices of students while providing input to the UM System-level task force;
  • Ensured that for the first time ever, all four UM System campuses now have Campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officers in place with a direct reporting line to the chancellor on every one of our campuses;
  • Initiated a full review of all UM System policies as they relate to staff and student conduct in conjunction with the diversity audit. A Request For Proposals was issued for an auditor and finalists are currently being interviewed.

To keep updated on the continued progress toward these initiatives, visit www.umsystem.edu/president/dei.