Advancing Racial Equity Strategic Planning: LAS Resource Guide
Guided by the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Engagement, the goal of the ARE strategic plan is to establish a “clear vision” for advancing racial equity in your unit, setting long-term objectives with incremental assessments, strategies, policy implementation, and programming that facilitate reaching your unit’s goals and vision.
Each unit is asked to develop a menu of actions, policies, programs, and initiatives it believes will move forward its stated goals toward racial equity, diversity, and inclusion. Altogether, the objective is to design a framework that builds a palpable and demonstrable culture of equity and inclusion, promoting an increase in the recruitment, retention, and sense of belonging of our minoritized student body, faculty, and staff.
The following is a menu of resources aligned with advancing racial equity to provide a robust foundation for your unit's strategic plans.
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Rosilie Hernández, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs; Anne Eaton, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs; Marisol Mastrangelo, Director for Student Success and Retention Initiatives
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The Office of Diversity has recommended that units think of the ARE Strategic Plan using the SMART goals framework:
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound.
For guidelines on how to create a SMART goal for your unit, see here.
Data: LAS and the Campus Equity Dashboard
Executive Officers, Directors of Undergraduate Studies, and other instructional leaders and staff with FERPA clearance have access to two departmental data-share folders with numerous reports, including DFUW, Major and Minor lists, First-Generation Majors and Minors, and Degrees Awarded.
Additionally, for the purpose of the ARE Strategic Plan, LAS has developed a data set on student GPAs across department course levels (100, 200, 300-400) desegrated by race and ethnicity, sex (male/female), and first-generation status per semester starting Fall 2018.
The goal is to give departments a snapshot of grade trends at the different levels of instruction filtered through the lens of race, ethnicity, sex, and first-generation status.
Please contact Rosilie Hernández to make any specific data requests linked to your unit’s ARE Strategic Plan.
The Office of Diversity’s website also offers numerous resources that can inform your data set and analysis when developing the ARE Strategic Plan. Of special relevance for the ARE Strategic Plan is the Equity Dashboard Project.
While the numbers of underrepresented minority (URM) and first-generation students attending colleges and universities have increased substantially over time, “gaps in college graduation by race and income have remained steady or widened” (Farrington et al. 2012).
Put simply, underrepresented students on average, are not thriving at colleges and universities—including at UIC—compared to their counterparts. Prevailing explanations for such inequities have focused on college readiness and financial issues, situating responsibility for success solely within the individual student. Evidence suggests that additional factors such as campus climate and academic and social support are crucial to student retention and graduation. Understanding the complexity of student success required shifting away from deficit-minded perspectives of students towards one of equity-mindedness. This is the basic premise of the Equity Dashboard Project.
Drawing on campus-wide data, the Equity Dashboard Project is designed to (1) raise awareness of equity gaps between students UIC and (2) support colleges in bridging those gaps by focusing on the ways in which we, as an institution, are promoting and/or hindering student success.
Climate, Engagement, and Inclusion Surveys: Undergraduate and Graduate
Climate, Engagement, and Inclusion Surveys:
Units may wish to conduct climate surveys to assess student perceptions and needs.
Conducting surveys requires careful consideration and purposeful design in order to extract relevant data. For this purpose, the Office of Diversity has provided numerous robust examples of climate surveys on the ARE resource page.
Student Interest Surveys
Unlike climate surveys, student interest surveys aim to identify the types of programs or topics that students in your unit are most interested in being involved in or hearing more about.
LAS has developed a sample “Student Interest Survey” that can be used by units to learn more about the interests of its students. The goal is to plan programming and initiatives that are responsive to the interests identified. In addition, we composed an accompanying document that brings together campus resources and potential collaborations correlated to the general areas found in the sample “Student Interest Survey.”
Units should feel free to tailor the sample “Student Interest Survey” to match their own goals and resources.
See here for the sample “Student Interest Survey.”
See here for the accompanying “Resource Document.”
The Center for Advancement of Teaching Excellence has a very useful webpage with tutorials for a variety of “Online Polling and Survey” tools, including Blackboard Surveys, Google Forms, and Qualtrics. See here for this resource.
Adoption of Inclusive and Equitable Teaching and Learning Practices
LAS has developed a Teaching Excellence Resources site, which curates useful resources and offers additional ideas to support a growth mindset, sense of belonging, inclusive strategies, research-engaged teaching, Drop-In Hours, and mentoring programs.
UIC’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence (CATE) has robust resources available to individual instructors and units to support the adoption of inclusive and equitable teaching and learning practices. The Center offers tailored TA Consultation and offers unit-specific workshops on request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
CATE regularly offers the Teaching Tidbits Workshops, which provide an opportunity to begin engagement in inclusive pedagogy training.
CATE has developed an Inclusive Education Scholar Certificate (see the link to full program description). The Inclusive Education Scholar Certificate will be established as a core service tied to the institutional policy that incentivizes and rewards UIC instructors for participating in activities that demonstrate their commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion at UIC.For additional detailed information see the CATE Resources & Programming to Support College DEI Strategic Planning Document.Academic supports for students can be found with the following programs and offices:
College and Campus Programs and Initiatives
LAS sponsors programs and initiatives with which you, as a unit or individual faculty members may want to establish partnerships and collaborations as part of your ARE Strategic Plan.
Academic support program focusing on first-generation students with robust offerings, including the Faculty Fellows Program supporting the adoption of inclusive teaching strategies, the Connect Program facilitating faculty-student mentorship, the Tell-Me-Your Story campaign, LAS Chats workshops, and other events. Upon request, First-at-LAS offers departments resources and consultation to establish unit-specific programs and initiatives.
The LAS Career Development and Internship Office supports LAS students with career and major exploration. The office welcomes collaborations with departments to support students as they identify their interests, skills, and values and provides guidance with exploring internship and experiential opportunities. Please contact us to learn more about our range of programs or to design department-specific initiatives for first-gen or minoritized students, such as career panels highlighting diverse professionals, UIC students, alumni, and industries.
Website: Career Development and Internships | University of Illinois Chicago (uic.edu) Email: email@example.com (Elizabeth Herrera, Director of Career Development)
The Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Initiative (LASURI) awards funding to faculty and students across the disciplines conducting independent semester or year-long research projects. Students develop their research toolkit through ongoing faculty mentorship and support, including critical thinking, abstract writing, and presentation skills. LASURI welcomes collaborations with departments to establish pipelines and encourage applications from all students, including efforts that focus on first-generation and minoritized populations. Partnerships may include information sessions to highlight the importance of research activities and workshops outlining the application process, strategies for preparing application essays, and how to identify and connect with faculty mentors. We also sponsor faculty-student panels with current or past participants discussing their experiences. Please contact us to learn more and discuss possible partnerships.
The seven Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change are a collaborative group that aims to make UIC a welcoming and inclusive place for all students, faculty, and staff. The Centers are committed to student success, intercultural engagement, vibrant scholarship, and dynamic community partnerships.
Resource Guides for Black and African Descent Students and Faculty
The Office of the Chancellor has developed a UIC Campus African American Resource Guide. Additionally, the Office of Diversity recently launched a website on Black and African Descent Resources for students, staff, and faculty.
Two additional sites provide information on specific units and initiatives that may serve as potential collaborations or partnerships or as resources for your students:
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences solicits applications yearly for the LAS Diversity Initiative Award Program. LAS Diversity Awards provide resources for initiatives that promote and support meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion in LAS. Projects of any kind will be considered as long as they are likely to make an impact.
The Student Success Innovation Fund supports projects that closely align with UIC’s goal of assuring the timely graduation of all UIC undergraduate students.
The internal grant competition is open to all campus units. Funds may be used to pilot new programs or enhance existing programming. Proposed projects should focus on activities and approaches that have a high potential for closing equity gaps among racial, ethnic, low-income, and first-generation students and increasing student success and degree attainment.
To recognize extraordinary contributions and commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus and/or the communities it serves. This includes exceptional and impactful initiatives that include but are not limited to the following:
- Efforts to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable educational and work environment
- Efforts to advance equal access to education among diverse populations
- Efforts to promote a just and egalitarian society
- Efforts in teaching, public service, and/or community engagement that address the needs of Illinois’ diverse and/or historically excluded populations
- Research initiatives that highlight and advance equity, diversity, and social justice
- Efforts to strategically support minoritized and underserved populations
The Offices of Faculty Affairs and Diversity, Equity & Engagement seek to establish a university merit award that honors dedicated faculty for their achievements in areas of community-based research, scholarship, service and teaching that address critical community needs, support community advancement, and promote collaboration among UIC and its community partners. This includes exceptional initiatives such as:
- Efforts to advance reciprocal collaborations between UIC and Chicago area communities
- Research and/or teaching initiatives that center community knowledge, capacity and empowerment
- Efforts to strategically support community empowerment and develop community-led research or practice
Faculty and Instructional Staff
Faculty and Staff Searches
As a complement to the required Search Committee Training, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Engagement has established the Equity Advocates Program. The program pairs a trained UIC volunteer advocate (faculty or staff) with faculty search committees upon request. Equity Advocates (EAs) serve as non-voting members of search committees that provide valuable knowledge and resources for the search committee throughout the entire hiring process. Specifically, EAs support committees in attending to and implementing strategies to promote an equitable search process.
Recruitment and Retention
The university offers several programs that aim to recruit and retain minoritized and underrepresented faculty.
- The Bridge to the Faculty (B2F) program is designed to attract minoritized and underrepresented postdoctoral scholars with the goal of a direct transition to a tenure-track junior faculty position after two years.
- Underrepresented Faculty Recruitment Program (UFRP) offers both salary and research support for underrepresented and minoritized candidates for faculty positions.
- Target of Opportunity (ToP): In the past, campus administration has supported target of opportunity hiring of exceptional individuals from underrepresented and minoritized groups on an ad hoc basis. If a potential candidate is identified, the unit’s executive officer should contact the Office of the Dean for discussion and consultation.
Great teams do not just happen, they are built and nurtured through practical experiences, the cultivation of shared values, and the development of interpersonal collaboration skills.
Strong teams foster self-motivation, a positive work environment, and group camaraderie.
Team members partner to clarify processes, establish best practices, and chart the components and milestones that lead to improved performance and shared achievement.
If you think your workgroup can benefit from the skills and habits of high-performance teamwork, see the Team Building Resources website and email UICHR Organizational Development to discuss a learning program tailored to your schedule and department needs.
Department programs and Collaborations with Other Units
Departments may develop unit-specific strategies and/or seek to collaborate with other units to establish faculty mentorship programs, peer mentorship programs, student clubs, major/minor student boards, alumni events, professional development talk series, and research-related brown bags, all with a focus on supporting minoritized students.
LAS Student Academic Affairs is available to share its expertise, insights, working frameworks, and templates tailored to support minoritized student populations.
Please contact Marisol Mastrangelo, Student Success, and Retention Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation appointment.
LAS ARE Strategic Plan Examples
The following plans have been rated as exemplary. Thank you to the units that have allowed us to share their plans.
Civic and community engagement is a hallmark strategic priority at UIC. This commitment is codified into our mission as Chicago’s only public research university and is indeed evident throughout every college and unit across campus. Across many diverse disciplines, including health care, education, urban development, and arts and culture, to name just a few, we strive to work with communities and the organizations that serve them, not only to study them.
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FAQs Heading link
What is the ARE strategic plan?
The strategic plan is a two to three-year map designed to substantially realize the unit’s vision for increased racial equity, diversity, engagement, and inclusion.
The stated goals of a strategic plan should be long-term with incremental assessments, strategies, policy implementation, initiatives, and programming that move the unit towards realizing those goals.
Accountability measures are pivotal to the progress and success of the plan, as well as the inclusion of a variety of stakeholders, including faculty, students, and staff.
We ask that you propose a strategic plan that, while aspirational and ambitious, is coherent with the existing resources (both as it regards staff and budget) of your unit and the college.
LAS Unit Examples
LAS ARE Strategic Plan Examples
The following plans have been rated as exemplary. Thank you to the units that have allowed us to share their plans.
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Engagement has also provided a Box Folder with numerous examples of DEI Strategic Plans.
Additional information and models are found on the ARE site updated by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Engagement.
Who should compose my unit's ARE Strategic Plan?
The unit’s executive officer should take a leadership role and bring together a team of stakeholders that will work on the development, evolution, and implementation of the ARE Strategic Plan.
Department-wide buy-in will be important, inclusive of faculty, student, and staff voices and perspectives.
Box for submission
New revised versions of your ARE Strategic Plans should be submitted to the Office of Diversity, Engagement, and Inclusion:
Please click on the box for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and upload your revised plan as appropriate.
Send your revised plan directly to Kathy Lesinski at email@example.com so that we may keep it in our records as well.
There are several ways to report on your unit’s progress:
- Update and submit revised plans annually to campus and the college, documenting progress on specific aspects and goals that have been met. (See above)
- The unit’s head will submit a statement on the progress made on ARE initiatives in their annual departmental report.
- The unit’s LAS DEI representative will report on progress and special initiatives to the LAS Diversity Committee.
- Individual faculty members will document their participation in and contributions to ARE initiatives as part of their annual reports and the DEI statements included in mid-career, promotion, and tenure papers.