1. Winter 2016 welcome email to students

    January 8, 2016

    Dear Students,

    Welcome back to the new semester at the University of Michigan. I hope you had a wonderful winter break.

    I want to take this opportunity to update you on our work to improve diversity, equity and inclusion at our university and invite you to engage further in these important issues.

    This semester, we are taking the next step in our university-wide efforts. More than 40 units throughout the campus, including all 19 of our schools and colleges, are creating plans to promote diversity, equity and inclusion that are tailored to their specific areas.  To make sure that we develop the most effective plan possible, we need to tap into the diverse knowledge, perspectives, and expertise that are represented by as many of our students, staff, and faculty as possible.

    I have met students during the fall semester who have engaged in our work and have contributed to the progress we have made so far.

    Still, some students are not sure what is going on and unsure about how they can get involved.  There are many ways to participate, and I urge you to do so. We want students to have the opportunity to work directly with the people on campus who are coordinating the development of our plans.  We want and need your ideas!

    To further facilitate student participation, we will hold three town hall meetings to explain our work and discuss how you can get involved. The meetings are:

    • Jan. 12, 8-9:30 p.m., Angell Hall, Auditorium B
    • Jan. 13, 7-8:30 p.m., Pierpont Commons, East Room
    • Jan. 16, 2-3:30 p.m., Michigan Union, Kuenzel Room

    You also may contact the planning leaders who are creating the plans in your own school or college and learn how to get involved.

    Or, join the conversation through our Be Heard online community, which allows faculty, staff, students and leadership to voice concerns, make recommendations or contribute feedback that will inform our work, or share thoughts and ideas by sending an email to diversityplan@umich.edu.

    While the strategic planning process is underway, we continue to move ahead with other efforts to be a more inclusive community. We announced last month that we will build a new multicultural center on Central Campus. Our Diversity Summit in November brought together thousands of individuals from within our community and beyond – a summary and video are now available. This past fall, we enrolled the most racially diverse freshman class on our Ann Arbor campus since 2005. We launched two new initiatives – Wolverine Pathways and the HAIL scholarship program – that are designed to help us recruit talented students from communities throughout the state.

    I look forward to our continued collaboration and hope to see you at our upcoming Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.

    Have a great semester, and get involved!


    Mark S. Schlissel