Deborah Mero is Michigan Engineering’s Executive Director of Resource Planning and Management and leads the committee she discusses here.
I recently found myself sitting around a table with 10 people who were virtually strangers – from many different departments, playing different roles in the College. People who, based on their passion, were selected to sit on the Staff Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Culture Committee (DEIC).
The people on the DEIC are all volunteers. The committee was designed to gather staff feedback on the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan and develop ideas to make Michigan Engineering a more inclusive place for all staff to work and grow.
From our inaugural meeting in October, 2018, and in the other two meetings since then, it quickly became clear to us that while we had very diverse backgrounds, we all had the same goal: To improve the culture of the College of Engineering. But while we agreed the College had done a lot – staff DEI training, a climate survey, staff town halls, Alec’s breakfast conversations – we really weren’t sure how to tell if we had improved anything and what our next steps should be.
We have arrived at a key question in our conversations: Is it a problem that the same 30 percent of our staff showed up at DEIC events?
And what about the other 70 percent? Is it OK if those people don’t engage in these activities? What tools can we provide that they need to better serve our students, staff and faculty? How can we craft whatever we do in such a way that it provides value not only to the University but to the individual staff as well? What’s in it for them?
We teach our students that successfully working in and/or leading diverse work teams will provide them lifelong skills. Shouldn’t that be the same for the staff?
What do you think? Please contact me or anyone on the DEIC Committee and let us know.