High Quality Academic/Professional Environment

This domain is labeled “High Quality Academic/Professional Environment” and includes multiple components that we view as distinct, yet interconnected focus areas necessary for a high quality academic and professional environment, that is, an environment that promotes thriving and success among all members.

Education & Scholarship

One component, Education & Scholarship, refers to the type and quality of our efforts to support and supplement the academic experiences and training that students receive in their academic programs, for example interdisciplinary experiences that enhance and expand students’ perspectives, research, and scholarship. This component also includes the consideration of whether diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational aspects of our academic/scholarly offerings. Questions we considered include: Are educational events around diversity, equity, and inclusion developed and supported in our work? Are diversity, equity, and inclusion issues sufficiently integrated into our academic/scholarly offerings? How do these ideals influence the delivery of our programming (e.g., inclusion of diverse speakers and panelists, active outreach to diverse student communities for participation in our offerings)?

Development Opportunities

Development opportunities include resources and activities designed to support the academic and professional development of students, for instance, supports for exploring diverse career pathways, tools for effectively navigating the mentoring relationships with faculty advisors, and enhancing graduate student instructors’ capacity for creating a climate of diversity and inclusion in the classroom. This component also includes development offerings for faculty and staff that would enhance DE&I experiences for students and more broadly in their program communities, for instance, supports for enhancing program/faculty/staff knowledge and skill around recruitment for diversity, as well as knowledge and use of “best practices” in mentoring students from diverse backgrounds. Within our Rackham organization, development refers to policies, practices, and norms related to providing equitable opportunities for staff professional development and advancement through systematic feedback, mentoring, and support for professional learning and growth. Questions we considered include: Are there opportunities for development and advancement around areas relevant to students, faculty, and staff? Are these opportunities transparent and available to diverse individuals and in equitable ways?

Promoting an Equitable and Inclusive Climate

Equitable and Inclusive Climate. This component speaks to our efforts to create and nurture a multicultural and inclusive campus community. This means more than just mitigating overt acts of discrimination and bias, but rather increasing our collective awareness of the influence of implicit bias on decision-making, communication, and conflict within the community, and our commitment to creating and promoting welcome and inclusive spaces. In our work, we are also mindful that differences do not only arise from visible identities, but a variety of experiences that contribute to equity and inclusion. Questions we considered include: Are our schools/colleges, units, and programs places where all feel welcomed? Do graduate students feel a sense of belonging in their academic programs? Within our Rackham organization, do people feel free to express their opinions? Do all community members perceive their ideas are given serious consideration? Do all staff, faculty, and students in our community feel a sense of belonging?