Academic units identify goals in support of Advancing Racial Equity strategic planning

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement has released a report outlining the goals set by campus academic units in support of UIC’s Advancing Racial Equity strategic planning process.

The Advancing Racial Equity Academic Unit Report identifies short- and long-term objectives set by UIC colleges and departments in alignment with the priorities of UIC’s Advancing Racial Equity initiative. Launched in 2020, the initiative is a comprehensive action plan that has five goals: centering student equity and inclusion, advancing faculty and staff inclusive excellence, collaborating with community, promoting an atmosphere of care and concern, and ensuring accountability.

“We are excited to share the Advancing Racial Equity report with the campus,” said Amalia Pallares, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement. “Departments and units across campus have set ambitious goals in pursuit of the five ARE strategic priorities. We are hopeful this report will highlight many of the innovative programs being developed, and perhaps inspire opportunities for collaboration between units with similar goals.”

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement created a template to help academic units develop plans to advance racial equity on campus, then reviewed these plans and identified themes, which are outlined in the report.

Centering student equity and inclusion was the most developed priority across campus academic units, the report states, with units highlighting the importance of recruiting a diverse applicant pool, ensuring students feel a sense of belonging, enhancing advising and internship support, and developing inclusive courses and curriculum. Units also noted the importance of having students participate in Advancing Racial Equity planning.

Academic units also stressed the importance of recruiting, developing and supporting a diverse faculty, providing diversity, equity and inclusion education, and enhancing community partnerships and programming.

Campus academic units noted the importance of addressing barriers to an inclusive environment, such as raising awareness of bias prevention trainings, strengthening or creating a diversity, equity and inclusion committee, providing mentorship, and more. The report also addresses ways for academic units to ensure accountability, such as conducting climate assessments, regularly meeting to outline progress and sharing updates online.

The report recommends several steps to help academic units implement their plans, such as providing resources to support or supplement advancing racial equity initiatives, annual progress updates and creating a campuswide community engagement strategy to provide direction for all academic units.

Over the summer, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement defined the strategic planning process for UIC’s nonacademic units, with plans scheduled to be complete in February 2024.  

“The ARE process for non-college units is well underway,” Pallares said. “We hope this report will aid in development of those plans.”

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