Skip to Content

Research Projects

Addressing Complex Issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Colleges and universities have critical roles in creating a more inclusive and equitable society. As higher education institutions increase in diversity of faculty, staff, and students, these institutions are positioned to foster a generation of leading scholars who will generate new social understandings and develop engaged citizens who will contribute positively to a diverse society. The NCID offers specific expertise on complex issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, producing knowledge and applications that can be engaged in a wide range of college/university institutions, as well as within a variety of organizational and social contexts.

Current Research Projects Include:

The Social Activism Leadership for Transformation (SALT) Model

This project involves the development and articulation of a new leadership model, with an explicit focus on forms of leadership that are socially conscious and aimed at positive social transformation.

This project is a partnership with Dr. Samuel Museus, associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington and project director of the National Institute for Transformation & Equity.

The Roles and Experiences of Academic Diversity Officers

In response to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) challenges in higher education, many colleges and universities have developed or re-imagined diversity management positions at the academic unit level (e.g., DE&I Program Officers or Chief Diversity Officers appointed within local schools/colleges). We label this position category as academic diversity officers (ADOs). These ADO roles have important implications for action and change at the local/unit level, as they are designed to support DE&I efforts in ways that consider the structures, cultures, and needs of their individual units. This qualitative case study focuses on the creation of such positions across multiple schools/colleges at one research university. A primary goal is to understand the strategies, activities, networks, resources, and supports necessary for the success of ADOs.

This project is a partnership with University of Michigan’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Understanding Diversity Statements and their Impact for Hiring for Academic Positions

Increasingly, diversity statements are requested by academic departments as part of faculty position applications. Most commonly, these requested diversity statements are statements of individuals’ goals, commitments, and accomplishments related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This study aims to understand the critical components of effective diversity statements and how these statements are being used in the evaluation of faculty candidates.

This project is a partnership with Dr. Fiona Lee, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Professional Development at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP)

AGEP is a program funded by the National Science Foundation to advance underrepresented minority graduate students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as they pursue their degrees, and to enhance their preparation for faculty positions in academia. In collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School and the Michigan AGEP Alliance, NCID draws on multiple quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how contextual experiences (climate, mentoring, etc) impact the academic/disciplinary identity development, persistence, and career pursuits of underrepresented minority students in doctoral education.

Barriers and Opportunities for Faculty of Color

This project expands on previous research on the development and advancement of faculty of color. A critical analysis of recent literature (2008-present) will further help us understand individual, departmental, institutional, intra-organizational, and national practices, policies, and processes contributing to the creation of a diverse professoriate.

This project is a partnership with Dr. Caroline Turner, professor in educational leadership at California State University, Sacramento.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Leadership Emerging from the Bamboo Ceiling

This project builds upon existing research on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) student leaders and leadership in higher education and society. This two-year effort will build context-specific knowledge that will help advance how we think of breaking through the "Bamboo Ceiling" — the factors preventing AAPIs from entering positions of leadership in higher education and society.

This project is funded by the Kellogg Foundation and a partnership with the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. 

Campus Climate and Mental Health

This project launches a new collaboration focused on college student mental health, well-being, and success. The collaboration will focus on the intersection of mental health, climate issues, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, including collection of new survey data regarding mental health and college experiences, with a focus on students of color and students from immigrant families. The data collection will involve the University of Michigan as well as other diverse schools nationwide, leveraging the existing infrastructure of the Healthy Minds Study. Primary goals are to obtain a detailed picture of how students of color from various backgrounds are faring in terms of mental health (depression, anxiety, and other common issues), how mental health relates to factors such as sense of belonging and experiences of discrimination in campus communities, and how we can create more supportive programs and climates.

This project is led by the U-M Healthy Minds Network, in collaboration with NCID and the U-M Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

MVisible Voices

MVisible Voices is an intergenerational media series centering the voices on the margins. Narratives are hardly straightforward or unanimous; rather, they are contested, negotiated, multiplicitous, and embedded in structures of power and histories of oppression. The university is a site of narrative negotiations and struggles as people and ideas come together to share social and intellectual space. Yet, not everyone will experience the university space as welcoming, collegial, or as promoting fellowship and belonging. Some bodies are more accepted, able to pass through the space as a familiar, while others are marginalized, relegated to the social and historical periphery. 

History as told through lived experience can help illuminate what's been forgotten, decentered, moved to the periphery, and excluded. It can also serve to relocate particular narratives to the center. MVisible Voices is about recognizing the lived experiences of people whose narratives are not always visible, heard, or centered, but whose stories are very much a part of the university's history.

Lead collaborators for this project includes our Scholarship-to-Practice Fellows, Elizabeth James (Department of Afroamerican and African Studies) and Shelly Conner (U-M Alumni Association). Additional NCID collaboration partners include faculty, staff, and students from the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, U-M Office of Academic Innovation, the U-M Alumni Association, and the U-M Bicentennial Committee.