The Michigan Daily has reported on modest increases in faculty representation of underrepresented minorities (URM), including women of all backgrounds. However, NCID director Tabbye Chavous encourages us to continue to seek positive growth of these trends.

It think it reflects progress and, unfortunately, data that are often stronger than other higher education institutions. That said, I don’t think we should be satisfied. … We have a lot of work to do to increase those numbers.

"While the DEI mentions plans in place at the University and new initiatives to increase faculty diversity, Chavous said concrete action and visible results are different than simply listing resources."

The elements are in the plan. There’s real attention and resources to support units in recruiting faculty and developing better practices for recruitment … and attention to issues of retention, but I think the magic will come in the implementation. The plan, the elements are there, the resources are there, accountability is there but I think it will be critically important to pay attention to implementation.

"With talk of increasing the denominator on diverse faculty and getting them on the tenure-track, Chavous said tokenization can often occur and drive away candidates. Advance reported 18 percent of men of color within STEM faculty experienced some form of racial discrimination in 2012. If candidates feel as though they are only being considered for their gender or the color of their skin, she said, the University’s tenured faculty will never mirror the global academic community."

In the recruitment process, as candidates are brought to campus, making sure they feel welcome, that they don’t feel tokenized like you’re only here for your diversity, that they have the opportunity to meet people from a range of backgrounds during their visit [is important]. One of the best ways of recruiting someone is showing them a positive climate and culture. If departments and units are struggling with non-inclusive cultures, then that’s going to be really hard for them to recruit people from diverse backgrounds.