2023 DEI Community Assembly

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you Provost McCauley. 

I so appreciate your partnership in our leadership, especially in the critical issues we’re addressing today. 

I’d also like to echo your thanks to Vice Provost Tabbye Chavous. In addition to her fantastic work as our Chief Diversity Officer, she is a trusted friend and counselor. Her scholarship and leadership have had a profound impact, and are making us a more connected, a more equitable, and a more exceptional university. 

We remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering a diverse educational environment for our students and scholars, for doing so is essential to achieving our core mission of academic excellence. 

We’re dedicated to DEI. It fosters the exchange and development of ideas; it promotes understanding across different identities, dispels racial stereotypes, and prepares our students to be leaders in the global marketplace and our increasingly multicultural society. 

So while we are facing challenges, such as the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action this past June, we will persist, learning and building on our progress, striving to live up to our ideals of a broadly diverse learning community. 

That’s why I’m so excited to see the launch of DEI 2.0. 

Through DEI 2.0, we will continue to leverage innovative strategies and lessons learned from DEI 1.0, extending our reach and further engaging students, staff and faculty, as well as our broader community. 

It’s critical that we do so, for leaders around the country are looking to Michigan for solutions. 

And we can show them a better way. 

We can demonstrate how we are pursuing our goals of diversity and excellence through a multifaceted approach, including a holistic application review process; our Wolverine Pathways program and our Center for Educational Outreach; and year-round recruiting and outreach campaigns for exceptional students from across the country, no matter their race, color or creed. 

Yet leadership in this area – as in so many others – is a choice, and it is one we must make every day. We must sustain our vigilance in developing a diverse community of students, staff and faculty. 

To that end, I’d like to thank our DEI advocates and leads for their steadfast work and support of our efforts. They are truly the ones who – each day – dedicate themselves to making our goals and aspirations a reality. 

So thank you. 

And thank all of you for joining us today. 

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce my colleague and friend, Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden, our Associate Vice Provost, Deputy Chief Diversity Officer, and Director of Implementation for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Even as she has been integral to our DEI progress in the past, she will be indispensable for our DEI leadership in the future. 

Thank you again.