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This next series of goals focus on recommendations to improve the “critical mass” of underrepresented minority students on campus and to further diversify and support students who are first-generation, students from under-resourced high schools, students from lower SES backgrounds and others who, because of their backgrounds, social identities, and/or social status, experience barriers to full participation in all that an LSA education has to offer. Most of the goals in this section stress the need to make better and more equitable use of our existing resources, especially around High Impact Learning Practices.
Reinvest in CSP
As a learning community established in 1983, the Comprehensive Studies Program is a population of students, staff, and faculty organized around the principles of diversity, access, equity, and inclusion. CSP is charged with providing academic, social, and developmental services to the most diverse student body with main members who are often underrepresented in the academy. Advising and instruction are central to the mission of CSP, which promotes academic excellence and personal growth/wellness for students within the community and the University at large. In recent years, the growth of the CSP student population has outpaced university resources. Within the next five years, LSA aspires to enhance the current portfolio of services by providing institutional support and a multi-million dollar commitment to make CSP the most robust program of its kind in the nation. In so doing, LSA seeks to dramatically increase the level and quality of support that CSP can offer, and to make the College-wide commitment to CSP more expansive and collaborative -- in a way that will inform other undergraduate education access, inclusion, and diversity work. Across the multiple dimensions of its strategic plan, CSP will continue to develop and assess best practices in working with emergent populations of students who are constantly changing in terms of the diversity of life experiences, cultural, socio-economic status, and age. CSP also plans to partner with the units within LSA, across the university, and in national outlets.
Undergraduates enter the CSP community in one of four ways: They are admitted to the University and required to attend the CSP Summer Bridge Program, which runs from late June to mid-August based on the University calendar for summer term; they are admitted to the University through CSP as Summer Admits, which also follows the University calendar for summer term; they are admitted to the University as Fall Admits; or they request to join the CSP community after they have matriculated at the University.
More than 2,500 students are identified as CSP students:
- 200–240 first-year students participate in the Summer Bridge Program.
- U-M admits more than 250 additional students as CSP non-Bridge students. Other students subsequently choose to affiliate with CSP.
- CSP students are primarily but not exclusively in LSA.
- CSP students include many student athletes.
- CSP employs more than 80 students in the program as tutors, course assistants, peer advisors, academic coaches, and work-study students.
- CSP has its own advising and instructional staffs.
- CSP offers almost 50 sections of approximately 19 introductory courses, including biology, chemistry, economics, English, math, physics, Spanish, and statistics. CSP sections offer additional academic support, study groups, and tutoring.
- CSP works closely with UROP to provide research opportunities for first- and second-year students.
- CSP students also join other LSA learning communities like the Michigan Research Community, the Michigan Community Scholars Program, the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program, and the Residential College.
In fall 2015, 2,660 students were involved in the Comprehensive Studies Program. Of these, 2,060 are in LSA, 279 in Engineering, 121 in Kinesiology, 59 in Ross, 23 in Education, 27 in Stamps, 27 in Nursing, and less than 20 students in Ford, SI, Architecture, SMTD, and Dental Hygiene. In addition, the Summer Bridge program currently admits student athletes. The summer 2015 class included 41 student athletes, representing 17 different sports teams.
The demographic profile of the 2,660 CSP students surveyed in fall 2015 includes 813 (30.6%) students identified as black; 386 (14.5%) identified as Hispanic; 187 (or 7%) identified as Asian; 14 (0.5%) identified as Native American; and three students (0.1%) identified as Hawaiian. 145 CSP students in fall 2015 identified as “two or more” categories under the ethnicity option, accounting for an additional 5.5%, and 93 (or 3.5%) did not indicate. The remaining 1,019 (38.3%) of CSP students identified as white.
The gender breakdown in fall 2015 was 1,047 male students and 1,613 female. Just over 875 students identified as first-generation, with an additional 214 students checking the “don’t know” category.
Growing the Size and Scope of Advising
CSP’s advising staff applies an active, holistic, and developmental approach that focuses on developing a dynamic relationship between student and advisor as the student matriculates through the University. This model of advising is supported by research in the area of student development and retention, and is a key feature that many students utilize. Over the years, CSP’s student-advisor ratio has increased significantly. In order to strengthen and maintain the advising relationship, LSA plans to employ additional staffing resources to reduce the ratio in order to enhance this valued service to students.
Existing CSP resources will be repurposed to focus on the following:
- Increased use of real-time data in decision-making on students’ academic and personal progress at Michigan, and in decision-making at all levels in the organization.
- Increased effectiveness of staff through professional development to address the needs of the continually evolving population.
Leverage the use of technology to improve communication among faculty, students, and advisors.
Growing the Size and Scope of Instruction
CSP’s instructional pedagogy is supported by research and seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter through active learning techniques, extended time on task, frequent assessments and evaluations, extended office hours, and general skills development. CSP’s pedagogical goals include inclusive community building, collaborative learning, and professional modeling to support students as they develop their scholarly and professional identities. CSP faculty apply theoretically sound and practical strategies in the classroom, focusing on building the sense of belonging, motivation, academic self-efficacy, and mindset that allows students to achieve academic and lifelong success. CSP instructors across the curriculum continue to share similar teaching practices within their specific disciplines so that students learn to:
- Problem solve
- Make an impact within the classroom and outside the classroom
- Develop effective teamwork skills
- Practice active learning and metacognition
- Become intentional learners by cultivating purposeful and self-directed behaviors
- Practice empathy through imagining and exploring other perspectives
- Recognize that learning is a lifelong process
- Develop the necessary growth mindset they need to overcome obstacles and achieve success.
Because of the strength of these pedagogical goals, CSP strives to make sure every incoming student has the opportunity to enroll in at least one CSP course in their first semester, even as the CSP student population has more than tripled over the last 10 years. Finding ways to continue to scale up the number of sections to meet this need remains a key feature of our evolving plan for the program.
The program remains committed to supplemental instruction, offering peer and group tutoring “in house” and in conjunction with the Science Learning Center, the Language Resource Center, Sweetland Center for Writing, and others. To continue this effort, CSP will employ a Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction to effectively develop and assess the program and create new partnerships.
Another pedagogical aim is to expand the variety of courses CSP offers to students in their sophomore, junior, and senior years. CSP’s strategic plan to research and design interdisciplinary seminars that connect disciplines in meaningful and sustained conversations is in development, as is the intention to build greater ethical awareness about the relationship of the program to the U-M community, as well as the CSP community’s responsibilities as knowledge-building citizens of a vast and complex democracy.
Strengthening Student Engagement
CSP defines student engagement as active participation through the development of relationships and self-authorship within our community. In addition to advising and instructional efforts, CSP plans to strengthen engagement through the development of additional programming and initiatives for students admitted to or affiliated with the program:
- Student Success Workshops - This yearlong series of academic success workshops will focus on building academic self-efficacy and confidence throughout the curriculum.
- Mentoring - Currently, first-year CSP students benefit from peer mentoring through participation in the Michigan Mentorship Matters program or Bridge Scholars PLUS. Beginning in Fall 2017, CSP plans to expand mentoring to include faculty and alumni mentoring for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
- Ambassador Program - CSP juniors and seniors will serve as student ambassadors who represent CSP at prospective and new student events, as well as within the campus community. In addition to representing CSP, the ambassadors will serve on CSP search committees, and inform CSP leadership on climate and student issues.
- Graduate School Test Prep – with the support of LSA, CSP will continue to partner with Kaplan Test Prep to offer courses to CSP students interested in pursuing graduate work. More than 100 students have benefited from this program in preparation for the GRE, LSAT or MCAT. CSP is developing a sophomore initiative called Pathway to Prep, where students will participate in programming geared toward graduate school preparation, experiential learning, and career planning.
- Summer Bridge Scholars Program - For more than 40-years, this seven-week program has helped underrepresented students successfully transition from high school to U-M. Incoming undergraduates across the University take three rigorous credit-bearing courses, which prepare them for the intensive academic preparation necessary to succeed at U-M. Participants also benefit from individualized academic advising, and opportunities to build community and interact with U-M faculty. CSP continues to act on the recommendations of the CSP Futures Task Force by enhancing the experience for all Summer Bridge Participants through the following:
- CSP 100 - First piloted in summer 2014, a new approach to the Summer Bridge version of CSP 100: “Perspectives on Learning and Academic Success,” introduces some of LSA’s best faculty to Summer Bridge participants. We continue to refine this approach to provide participants with the best experience possible.
- Campus Connections - A four-week initiative that partners small groups of Summer Bridge participants with units across campus in an effort to increase campus networks, and reinforce a sense of belonging within the U-M community.
- Expanded Parent Orientation - Family support can be vital to a student’s success at U-M. To that extent, we have expanded our orientation for parents from a one-hour meeting to an all-day event that provides the opportunity to learn more about the resources that U-M provides.
- Bridge Scholars PLUS - Selected students now have the opportunity to continue on “in Bridge” as part of their entire University of Michigan experience. Bridge Scholars PLUS is a four-year coaching and success incentive program employing the research-based high-impact practices for student success. This program includes:
- Common academic and community building experiences with coursework and weekly meetings focused on academic, co-curricular, and professional development, as well as graduate/professional school preparation.
- Weekly individual meetings with junior- and senior-level students who are recruited and selected to serve as academic coaches.
- Eligibility for a scholarship to pay application fees for a U.S. Passport.
- Eligibility for a scholarship voucher to be used toward qualifying academic needs.
Students who complete Bridge Scholars PLUS may be eligible for summer scholarships for the Second Summer Program, which provides students with financial support to participate in experiential learning programs such as Semester in Detroit, NELP, Camp Davis, the Biological Station, an enriched internship, U-M sponsored study abroad, or a research experience.
- Partnerships with other campus units - We continue to explore efforts to support the holistic wellness of CSP students. Expanding on the model of embedded services, the program will increase its work with the Office of Financial Aid and pursue partnerships with other student support units such as Counseling and Psychological Services.
- Leadership Workshop Series - CSP will develop a leadership workshop series to further develop students’ leadership skills through a variety of engaging workshops. Each workshop will focus on different key topics such as strengthening interpersonal skills, problem-solving, effective communication, and professionalism. The workshops will focus on developing transferable skills allowing students to navigate more effectively in professional settings.
CSP has created additional staff positions to support these new initiatives:
- Coordinator of Student Success - will design and implement the student success and leadership workshop series and manage the CSP Student Ambassador Program.
- Coordinator of New Student Transition & Orientation - will manage the Michigan Mentorship Matters program in addition to developing and managing welcome-week programming and orientation programs for new CSP students and their families.
- CAPS Clinician - counselor appointed in partnership with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to support students’ holistic wellness.
Routinization of Assessment and Benchmarking
Data-driven decisions informed by a close examination of current student demographics and projection trends will improve the initiatives supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leveraging the experience of the UGED Learning Analytics Specialist, CSP will develop a comprehensive research agenda providing an in-depth examination and benchmarking of similarly positioned programs. The research outcomes will drive the further development of advising, instruction, and student engagement initiatives. Such an understanding of CSP and best practices would enable CSP to better promote its work and encourage further collaboration with other U-M departments and programs. These collaborations can assist in developing research questions for future adjustments to this plan for CSP students and for other members of our diverse student population.
Donor Support to Ensure Adequate Resources
Within the next five years, CSP will secure sufficient donor and institutional funding to fully address the infrastructure needs of the program. While not all of the proposals under consideration require an infusion of new financial resources, many do. Only with the appropriate funding can CSP ensure equal support for all students regardless of entry point or time to degree. The College and its Development, Marketing, and Communications team are committed to ongoing efforts in this area.
But Not Just CSP: Incentivize Collaboration Among Undergraduate Support Programs for Diverse Students
The LSA Diversity Census—a process mandated by the Provost’s Office at the outset of University-wide DEI planning—uncovered a range of programs, most of which are concentrated in STEM units and fields. That list includes outreach efforts to middle and high school students, such as Women in Science and Engineering, Earth Camp, and MMSS, referenced in the section on Access, but also:
- M-Sci (based in LSA), which together with M-Engin (based in the College of Engineering), together form the M-STEM Academy. M-Engin began in 2008 and now enrolls around 60 new students annually. M-Sci began with just the biological sciences in the 2011–2012 academic year and, with the support of a major NSF grant, expanded in 2014 to cover all the natural sciences and mathematics in LSA, with a target of 60 new students per year.
- The Douglas Houghton Scholars Program (DHSP) is designed to assist students who plan to major in math or science and who will be taking two semesters of calculus in their first year. The central piece of this non-residential learning community is a workshop class that students take alongside the regular calculus classes: Math 115 and 116. The workshop has no exams, no grades, and only a little homework. There are approximately 36 Douglass Houghton Scholars each year. DHSP encourages applicants who come from a background that is underrepresented in graduate study in math and science.
- Posse-STEM welcomed its inaugural cohort to the Ann Arbor campus in fall 2016. Overall, the Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. They extend to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—posses—of 10 students. Partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. Posse-STEM tailors this approach to students in math and sciences. The expansion of the pool is the key distinguishing component.
- D-RISE, the U-M Detroit Research Internship Summer Experience was formed in 2013 as a partnership between an LSA chemistry professor and Cass Technical High School in Detroit to provide summer internships to high school students from Cass Tech to perform full-time research for seven weeks in a chemistry laboratory on campus. The goal of this program is to increase underrepresented minority participation in the sciences by motivating the participating students to attend college and work in STEM areas. While small in scale, it has been remarkably successful.
These four programs are representative of very different kinds of strategies and institutional locations: a lab-based approach that grew out of a commitment by an individual faculty member (D-RISE); a small program supported primarily by the LSA Dean’s Office (DHSP); a program funded by an NSF grant and with a cross-school series of commitments between LSA and Engineering (M-STEM); and a program brought to campus through the agency of the vice president of enrollment management and the President’s Office (Posse-STEM).
They all work directly with students from underrepresented groups, including women in STEM fields and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and from high schools without AP classes and sources of academic enrichment. And they place a high premium on the role of community and a culture of mutual support and accountability, and on other aspects of academic success such as intensive advising, academic coaching, peer mentoring, smaller sections in large introductory lecturer courses, incentives for academic success, the importance of undergraduate research for building relationships between students and faculty, and peer mentoring and study groups.
Complete a full inventory of programs.
Include past/current assessment data and projects, and consider launching comparative assessment across programs. A full inventory, including a detailed analysis of these programs, is a recommended first step in finding new ways to incentivize collaboration. Considering these programs side by side should lead us in a number of strategic directions. First and foremost, we need to acknowledge what we do not yet know about these programs and continue to identify and classify them.
Encourage assessment for these programs.
This is a process for which M-Sci and the M-STEM Academies serve as a strong model. This may give rise to the creation of more standardized metrics for defining and measuring improvement and success. We could also undertake research about how these students fare across and—for students in one or more program—among these programs. We want to know whether this could have an adverse effect on student achievement. More focused and fine-grained assessment may also be a vehicle for exploring ongoing efforts around “personalization at scale,” including E2Coach and Student Explorer.
Begin to seek ways to avoid duplication and enhance synergy.
Several strategies may be needed to achieve this goal, including an exploration of the feasibility of augmenting the LSA Student Recruitment Office as a vehicle and location for coordinating these programs and effectively linking them to other pipeline initiatives within LSA and across U-M. Such a position may aid in developing ways to avoid duplication and enhance synergy among individual programs, and to help clarify options for students and families during the recruitment and admissions process.
The LSA Dean’s Office should consider requiring all programs seeking new or renewed funding to have a clearly articulated plan for collaboration and efficient use of pre-existing and shared College resources.
We also recommended that consideration be given to requiring all units seeking new and renewed programs to have a clear plan for initial and ongoing assessment.
Expanding UROP’s Scope
Founded in 1989 as a program designed to increase the retention and success of underrepresented minority students, UROP has grown into a national model for how to design programs that promote learning for all students while creating a differential impact for URM students and other diverse populations. Numerous studies have demonstrated the impact of undergraduate research on retention of URM students.
Over the past several years, UROP has branched out into community-based research in its summer program in Detroit and is actively devising ways to both recruit and support potential and matriculating transfer students from Michigan community colleges through the Community College Summer Research Fellowship Program and Changing Gears. It is also devising ways to support incoming transfer students in general, especially in their first semesters at the University.
Increase opportunities for CSP students to participate in UROP through current activities.
These may include mini courses for diverse students such as UROP’s Entering Research Seminar, Introduction to Research with Diverse Populations, and other outreach activities. Part of this effort would also involve working more collaboratively with CSP and Newnan advisors to make connections with UROP for students who are in need of faculty mentorship and guidance for future academic work.
Consider creating pipeline programs for “alumni” of UROP.
Include “URM alumni,” to encourage them to seek future research opportunities both on and off campus, workshops on graduate school selection and application, and other related areas especially but not limited to students in STEM fields.
Support the expansion of UROP’s work with transfer students as part of the larger strategy to recruit, retain, and support transfer students.
The Michigan Community College Summer Fellowship Program and Changing Gears are both designed to use undergraduate research opportunities to recruit and support transfer students. The MCCSF Program offers a 10-week summer research fellowship for currently enrolled community college students attending any community college in the State of Michigan and interested in transferring to the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus within a year of their potential transfer.
The majority of participants in this program have completed one year at community college or have been admitted to U-M for the next fall term. The program is designed to increase the number and diversity of students who choose to transfer to U-M; develop a student’s skills and knowledge in their chosen field of study; help students learn about current research in their field of study and find a U-M faculty mentor; help students gain familiarity with the University of Michigan campus and campus resources; help students learn about financial aid, application procedures etc.; and integrate the students into campus life. To date, over 85% of the students who participated in the program matriculated to U-M, and 100% have been retained through graduation.
One new component to the program would be to provide advising to the students while at community college, both those who participated in the summer program and those who applied and were not quite ready for the program or to transfer. This advising component would foster their successful application and admission to U-M through quarterly visits to their campuses and events on our campus including a Winter Bootcamp to assist students with the application and transfer process.
UROP also devised and administers Changing Gears. The program was created based on feedback from summer fellows and was first piloted in fall 2011. The program is open to newly admitted community college transfer students. Researchers from all University of Michigan schools and colleges and from all academic disciplines participate in the program. Research opportunities can be found in the humanities and creative arts, social sciences, natural and biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering.
The program provides transfer students with hands-on research and mentoring experiences with U-M faculty and students, bi-weekly seminars focused on research related topics, connection to campus resources, and the opportunity to explore academic and professional interests beyond the classroom. In Changing Gears, students also have the opportunity to gain knowledge and preparation for graduate and professional school and to join a community of transfer students through academic and social interactions.
Make Study Abroad Accessible for All Students
The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) has worked to establish new study abroad offerings designed to accommodate the demanding schedules of student athletes, and has sought to diversify the applicant pool by targeting underrepresented minority students and lower-income students through the project-based service learning offerings of the Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU).
Their close collaboration with the LSA Scholarship Office assures that Pell Grant recipients in GIEU programs automatically receive a scholarship to cover their entire program fee and are eligible for additional scholarship funding from the College. These concerted efforts have paid off. In 2015, over 50% of the students participating in four GIEU programs were Pell Grant recipients; in 2016, we anticipate that number to reach over 70%. Beyond socioeconomic diversity, 43% of last summer’s cohort were students of color: 22.6% Asian/Asian American, 17% African American/black, and 3.6% Hispanic/Latino.
CGIS is also expanding the number of short-term programs that are generally more affordable and meet a range of student needs, including those of student athletes. They have added five such three-week stand-alone programs for summer 2017. CGIS has also added STEM programs in disciplines that don't typically attract study abroad, such as mathematics, neuroscience, geology, biology and environmental studies.
Continue to support the “I Am Study Abroad” campaign on all College/U-M media outlets.
Begun in winter 2016, it uses promotional videos, bus signs, table tents, and posters featuring students of various races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, academic majors, and on-campus involvements who studied abroad with CGIS. It also includes a video series, “Faces of Study Abroad.” Enrollment trends for the 2016-17 academic year suggest that these efforts are succeeding. We estimate that CGIS will send 25-30% more students abroad in 2017.
Continue to support Pell Grant recipients.
The number of Pell Students in GIEU has dramatically increased (79% last year), and CGIS is now working with LSA Scholarships to extend that benefit to our Spring/Summer faculty-led language programs (summer 2017), and Global Course Connections (summer 2018). LSA Global Scholarships distributed over $1.4M this year, up from $800K several years ago. For 2015-16, we awarded 66 GIEU students (Pell Recipients) $128,700 for their CGIS Program fee. For 2016-17, we plan to expand -- it will include GIEU and the Spring/Summer Language Program fees. For 2017-18, we plan to include GIEU, Spring/Summer Language, and GCC student program fees.
Support Residential Learning Communities as Diverse Communities
The Michigan Learning Communities (MLCs) are diverse communities in their own right and need to be considered as part of the overall College strategy. They also participate in the recruitment process—through high school visits, programs at the Detroit Center, and on campus—and are heavily promoted as ways to make the University smaller.
Learning communities combine the best attributes of peer education and institutional support that is simultaneously curricular, co-curricular, and interpersonal. Along with undergraduate research, capstone projects, and study abroad, learning communities are also one of the dozen recognized high impact educational practices that can make a dramatic difference in the lives of undergraduate students.
We have been conducting an ongoing research project (Maltby, et. al., 2016) surveying first-year undergraduate students participating in several residential learning communities, as well as students living in University residence halls who did not participate in a learning community (control group). The project began in 2011, with the help of CRLT's Gilbert Whitaker Fund, and has continued since that time, with data collection every spring. The assessment involves a standard set of survey questions across all of the participating programs and questions customized for each program, focused on the students' self reports of their experiences in their first year in their academics, co-curriculars, and residential lives. It also includes analysis of students' academic performance, based on cumulative GPAs.
The survey is administered to all students in the residence halls of these participating MLCs. Data on the entering profiles of these students (e.g., entering standardized test scores, high school GPAs) is also available.
There were no significant differences between the residential learning community students and the control group students on incoming measures of academic performance, including high school GPA, ACT scores, and SAT scores. (The MLCs do not consider academic achievement in their admissions process.) The 2012–2014 phase of the project examined academic achievement and learning outcomes at the end of the students’ first years.
- Participation in Michigan Learning Communities has demonstrated academic benefit for first-year students. For example, first-year students who participated in a residential MLC earned statistically significant higher GPAs at the end of their first year relative to similar students not in the communities.
- MLCs provide environments that support and enhance student learning. Twice as many first-year students who participated in the residential MLCs reported that they felt their residence hall experience made it possible for them to succeed academically, compared to similar students (control group) living in the residence halls who were not in an MLC (approximately 74% vs. 37%).
- MLCs prepare first-year student participants to be successful students by building critical thinking skills and increasing students' confidence.
- More than 70% of first-year MLC students credited their learning community with improving their ability to communicate with faculty and to apply their academic knowledge to current problems. On average, 30% or fewer of the first-year non-MLC students reported these benefits from their residential experience (25% for communicating with faculty; 32% for applying academic knowledge).
- A far higher proportion of MLC first-year students (66%) reported that their residential experience impacted their ability to analyze and critically evaluate ideas than non-MLC students (19%).
- Students participating in a residential learning community reported their residential experience helped their self-confidence in participating in academic discussions (76%) far more frequently than non-MLC residents (33%).
MLCs promote first-year students connecting with students from backgrounds different from their own (86%) significantly more so than the non-MLC residence hall experience (67%), based on students’ self reports.
A subsection of these data, focused on an analysis of the Women in Science and Engineering Residential Program (WISE-RP) and the question of underrepresented and first-generation women in STEM fields, had similar findings. Participants who identified as underrepresented minority students and/or first- generation college students demonstrated stronger benefits than the participants as a whole. The study is being prepared for publication and will be the lead article in the spring issue of the journal Learning Communities Research and Practice.
MLCs also exist across the curriculum: The Lloyd Hall Scholars Program (LHSP) engages students with creative writing and the arts; The Michigan Community Scholars Program (MCSP) is focused on community engagement and social justice and has developed a number of programs to promote intergroup dialogue in formal and informal ways; and the Global Scholars Program (GSP), which is unique for its concentration of second-year students, is located in North Quad and organized around preparing students to be interculturally competent global citizens and innovative leaders. This community of 150 students welcomes U.S., international, and exchange students from over 20 nations speaking over 40 languages.
Continue to promote current level of diversity.
Based on our findings to date, we strongly recommend continuing to promote—and consider increasing—the current level of diversity (URM, lowers SES, Summer Bridge-admitted students, first gen, gender nonconforming, transfer students in GSP, and international students). When one factors in the Residential College and the Honors Program, both of which also have a residential component (required in the RC for its first- and second-year students, and optional for Honors students in their first year), there is no part of the LSA curriculum left untouched by the presence of these residential communities.
Enlist Students as Diversity Workers and Allies
The Division of Undergraduate Education hires hundreds of student workers every year as peer mentors and tutors, to work within ISS, and to play a variety of student-facing roles on our respective staffs. The Science Learning Center alone employs nearly 300 undergraduates as group facilitators and tutors each term and enrolls more than 3,000 students as study group members. Large numbers of students are also employed by UROP, CSP and Sweetland. We believe that these students represent an opportunity to build a critical mass of student workers who can also be diversity allies and thought leaders able to exert a positive impact on campus. For the 2017-18 academic year we want to begin to pool existing resources and pilot a program to offer -- and eventually require -- these student workers to engage in training around implicit bias, stereotype threat, microaggressions, effective allyhood, bystander techniques and other inclusive practices. A team from the Undergraduate Education Climate Committee has begun to create a proposal for implementation.
Extend the Peer Tutor Summit Model to talk about important issues in common.
The SLC, the LRC, UROP, and CSP all have students who work in similar capacities and programs that provide basic training around practices that promote diversity and inclusivity. They gathered in winter 2016 for a Peer Tutor Summit, which we want to encourage as an annual activity. Building in an expectation that the students who work for our programs as tutors, mentors, and advisors play a role as thought leaders and diversity workers has potential that we should continue to explore. Ideally we will find ways to link the DEI training (above) and this now annual event.
Enhance Annual Leadership in Action training.
We also recommend encouraging and growing the (now third annual) Leadership in Action training for student leaders, peer tutors, advisors, and mentors from across the Division of Undergraduate Education hosted by the Student Leadership and Empowerment sub-committee of the larger UGED Climate Committee. Held in August right before the school year begins, it includes powerful stories from students and recent alumni about their experiences on campus surrounding identity. Additionally, student leaders engage in facilitated dialogue around how these stories impact the way that they might interact with other students.
Foster student-generated ideas for creating a more inclusive and engaged campus climate: The LSA Democracy in Action Fund.
The initial proposal to create a $120,000 Student Diversity Leaders Fund to support student-generated ideas has become the LSA Democracy in Action Fund, launched in January 2017. The Fund provides grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 to support students, faculty, and staff to do the challenging work of advancing genuine democratic engagement on campus. Individuals and groups may apply for grants to fund proposals that celebrate and promote an inclusive community with an emphasis on civil, productive dialogue between students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds; promote a greater understanding of participatory democracy and our role in it; showcase the power and impact of a liberal arts education to effectively address issues associated with exclusion and marginalization as well as problems associated with various forms of discrimination and inequality; and/or promote a program or large-scale strategy that LSA could undertake to significantly enhance students’ feelings of inclusion, connection, and democratic engagement, including realistic proposals for implementation.
The Fund will accept proposals from students and student organizations for events that are entirely student-focused. However, the strongest proposals will come from collaborations involving students, faculty, and professional staff members. Proposals from multiple student organizations that seek to promote a cross-fertilization of ideas are particularly welcome, especially those that occur in unexpected and creative ways. Collaborations between student organizations that have not worked together in the past are encouraged. Faculty and staff members may initiate and co-lead proposals, but to maintain a student-centric focus, all proposals must include genuine co-leadership from student(s) in the design and implementation phases.
Connect to Departments
Programs such as CGIS, UROP, and, increasingly, CSP are already deeply connected to departments across the College. Like the Michigan Learning Communities, they support students as they make decisions on majors and minors and as they find departmental homes. While CSP has begun to think more concretely about students in their junior and senior years, very few programs and initiatives of this kind have been developed within our departments. The Department of Sociology wants to address this situation, particularly for first-generation college students, who typically take longer to graduate, graduate with lower GPAs, and have higher attrition rates than their continuing generation peers.
Create the Sociology Opportunities for Undergraduate Leaders program.
Twenty-five percent of sociology majors are the first in their family to go to college. First-generation college students face an array of academic, financial, and social challenges that make it more difficult to graduate (or graduate in a timely way), impair their academic performance and professional development, and adversely affect the psychosocial experience of being a college student. Partnering with the Comprehensive Studies Program and the Barger Leadership Institute, the department proposes the creation of the Sociology Opportunities for Undergraduate Leaders (SOUL) program to support and enrich the experiences of first-generation college students majoring in sociology.
We endorsed the department’s proposal (see appendix F) and are pleased to note that in August 2016, the Barger Leadership Institute (BLI) and the Department of Sociology partnered to create a small pilot of SOULS.
We recommend the development as soon as possible of a strategy to engage LSA departments.
Engagement with LSA departments is currently the largest hole in the LSA DEI plan. We need a strategy for robust engagement, starting with those units who already have departmental DEI committees as well as faculty who serve as Diversity Allies through the Rackham program.