University of Maryland
This presentation will include a summary
of the goals, objectives, structure,
and activities of the Diversity Initiative.
Also, I will discuss communication strategies
used to promote those programs such
as the Diversity News Bureau.
In 1987, the Chancellor, John B. Slaughter,
identified diversity as a top campus
priority. The goal being to create a
multicultural academic community. Since
then, we have refined affirmative action
policies and procedures. Diversity accountability
and evaluation have improved through
the Diversity Accountability and Implementation
Plan (DAIP). This plan required each
unit to develop a diversity plan for
the recruitment and retention of women
and African Americans, Asian Americans,
Latinos, and Native Americans.
We increased the recruitment of racial
minorities to 1/3 of the freshman class
and graduated more black Ph.D.s than
any other majority White institution.
One hundred twenty six (126) countries
are represented in our student population.
Over 5,000 faculty were taught to transform
their curriculum and create better classroom
climate through effective teaching.
Mandatory diversity core classes were
created. Our sexual harassment prevention
program conducted 400 workshops. In
1986, The Office of Human Relations
Programs started Multicultural Day,
which evolved into Diversity Week in
1991 and 1992. To determine program
impact and campus diversity needs, we
surveyed unit heads and co-sponsors
of Diversity Week, 1992.
The results indicated that campus
efforts were not meeting UMCP community
needs in significant ways. The outcome
of the survey was that we developed
the 1993-94 Diversity Initiative. The
goal being to implement a visible, coherent,
campus-wide, and year-long Diversity
- by clarifying the scope of diversity
- by communicating diversity achievements
- by providing technical assistance
in program development
- And, by assessing the Initiative's
effectiveness and campus climate
Now in the second year of the Initiative,
I can say with certainty, there have
been many growth experiences. Developing
an effective Diversity Year Initiative
with a strong communications program
has felt similar to the process of drilling
for oil. Like oil, an effective Initiative
is a precious commodity in limited supply.
Both are complex endeavors requiring
a comprehensive and well-researched
plan. This plan must include goals that
are specific, yet sufficiently flexible
to incorporate the unexpected. Numerous
individuals with varying degrees of
different expertise play key roles.
Yet, we know only one person is "responsible"
if it is unsuccessful, but all share
the responsibility to make the project
Initiative Co-chairs and Committee
members developed a plan and a process
that works for us. First, we created
a vision of what we wanted. To clarify
this vision, we asked questions such
as what do we want to communicate? The
response was the importance of diversity
as a campus goal. And more important,
the value of a diverse community and
curriculum in social, intellectual,
academic and economic advancement. We
also asked who do we want to communicate
this vision to. We concluded that our
primary audience is students, faculty,
staff, and the editors of student and
faculty newspapers. The secondary audience
is off-campus media. We felt that audiences
be addressed simultaneously. We then
decided that this Plan would be effective
ONLY if five major objectives were woven
into the plan.
The first major objective MUST be
institutionalization. In order for this
Initiative to work, this effort must
be permanently incorporated in to the
institutional fabric of UMCP.
The second major objective is community
building. During the past 10 years,
the campus has faced widely publicized
challenges. On the Diversity front,
some of those challenges included controversial
speakers, major protests, cultural and
racial conflict, racial equity demands
by the Maryland state Black Legislative
Caucus and increased activist activity
by gay, lesbian, and disabled students.
Two years ago, 10,000 copies of our
main student daily "disappeared" after
repeated complaints of racial insensitivity.
Our public diversity challenges were
exacerbated by our equally public budgetary
ones. Departments and a college were
dissolved. There were layoffs, and pay
reductions for support staff. These
actions were sparked by a 20% reduction
in state funding and lower enrollments.
Thus, it was important that community
building and development be emphasized.
Community building and development includes
a continuous commitment by the University
to improve the quality of life for each
member. It also includes creating a
climate that supports and welcomes all
In addition to institutionalization
and community building we have the third
major objective, which is inclusiveness.
The Initiative is designed to be as
inclusive and representative as possible.
Therefore, the dimensions of diversity
are defined broadly. They include race,
class, ethnicity, gender, disability,
age, sexual orientation, religion and
national origin. Representation from
student groups and each employment categories
of faculty, administrators, and staff
The fourth objective is shared responsibility.
Underlying this objective is the belief
that each unit, student organization
and campus member has the responsibility
to make the campus welcoming. Creating
a campus community that cherishes and
respects diversity can not be the sole
responsibility of the Diversity Initiative
Committee, the Affirmative Action
Office or the Office of Minority Affairs.
To that end, the UMCP President sent
a letter to Vice Presidents and Deans
requesting that a liaison be selected
from each college or major unit to participate
in the Diversity Initiative. We invited
faculty and Support staff to participate.
The Student Government Association and
other student groups were asked to participate
The fifth major objective is Evaluation
and Assessment. Assessment allows ongoing
feedback about impact, climate, and
campus community needs. It is a basis
for goal setting, priority review, and
budget justification. The needs of the
campus community, especially unit heads,
program sponsors, student newspaper
editors and public information officers,
have been assessed. Our techniques include
informal interviews, questionnaires,
program evaluations, and formal surveys.
When possible, suggestions are incorporated
or referred to other campus structures.
This Initiative is also part of the
UMCP Continuous Quality Improvement
As stated earlier, the major goal
of the Initiative is to increase the
visibility, coherence, and support of
diversity efforts. To achieve that goal,
we first identified five major objectives
that I have just mentioned that function
as a conceptual framework.
I will now discuss the organizational
structures and functions that support
these objectives. They include:
- The Office of Human Relations Programs,
the Advisory Board, the Steering Committee,
and 8 subcommittees.
- The Human Relations Office - is
the administrative house for the Initiative,
2 office staffers (Gloria Bouis and
Vicky Foxworth) and myself act as
the Co-chairs of the Steering Committee.
We are also liaisons to the Subcommittees.
- A 10 member advisory Board provides
direction and advocacy to the Initiative.
Diversity direction and consultation
were provided to the coordinators
of student, staff, and faculty orientation.
The Board also reviews institutional
impact by providing oversight on evaluation
and campus climate surveys. I chair
the Board, which includes an Executive
Assistant to the President, the Vice
President for Administrative Affairs,
2 deans (and an exdean), 2 Directors
(the Counseling Center and Center
for Teaching Excellence), 2 faculty
members (one who is the ex-chair of
Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry), 1 support
staff, and Student Government representative.
- A 51 member Steering Committee
coordinates the diversity Initiative
and includes a representative in each
major unit and college. The Steering
Committee also includes other appointed
administrators, faculty, support staff,
student leaders, and technical experts.
* The eight subcommittees, which include:
- The Program Committee, which
is chaired by Dan Morrison. He
is the Student Affairs representative
and Coordinator of Training, Development
and Research in Resident Life.
The Committee sponsors a Spring
and Fall Diversity Focus. Each
Focus is 3 weeks and includes
17-34 programs and activities.
- The Matching Grants Committee
is chaired by Jane Fines, the
Engineering College representative
and Director of Programs. The
Committee provides $7,000 in matching
grants to 19 campus units, student
organizations, staff organizations,
- The Rewards and Incentive Committee
is chaired by Dr. Linda Lenoir.
She is the Academic Affairs representative
and Assistant Director of Career
Development. The Committee has
developed the First Annual Diversity
Award to faculty, administrators,
support staff and students for
contributions in one or more areas
of diversity i.e. age, disability,
religion, race, sexual orientation,
etc. Forty-five (45) nominations
have been received. Also, the
supervisors of Steering Committee
members receive a letter detailing
outstanding committee contributions.
- The Faculty Relations Committee
is chaired by Dr. Gabriele Strauch.
She is the representative from
the College of Arts and Humanities
and an Associate faculty in the
German and Slavic Language department.
The Committee sent a survey to
faculty on increasing faculty
involvement in diversity efforts.
Our President and Provost are
currently reviewing these recommendations.
They also sponsor diversity research
forums and faculty development
- Public Relations and Marketing
Committee is co-chaired by Gary
Stephenson, the representative
from the Office of Institutional
Advancement and Student Affairs.
The other co-chair, Andy Mrusko,
is the representative from Student
Affairs and is the Director of
Marketing of the Student Union.
This committee designed the logo,
advertises Diversity Focus Days
and the Matching Grants activities,
writes articles for campus faculty
and student newspapers, encourages
faculty and student editors to
feature diversity issues, and
coordinates the Diversity News
Bureau which is responsible for
the media placement. Technical
advice on how to make programs
more newsworthy is provided. They
also disseminate items such as
Diversity Initiative buttons,
bookmarks, cups, and fortune cookies.
They are currently researching
the development of a Diversity
Electronic Clearinghouse and Network.
-The Evaluation committee is chaired
by Dr. Nehama Babin, a representative
from Academic Affairs and the
Senior Research Analyst in Institutional
Studies. Evaluation occurs through
program evaluations of Diversity
Focus and Matching Grants programs.
Survey of students and/or deans,
directors and department chairs
occur annually. In April, 1995
a campus and classroom Climate
survey of freshman and juniors
will be conducted. Faculty will
be surveyed next year, and staff
the following year.
- The United Cultures (UC) is
chaired by Jason Palmer, who is
also Chair of the Human Relations
Committee of the Student Government
Association. I have been the advisor
of this 2 year old group since
its beginning. UC includes student
leaders and others who wish to
work on diversity and climate
issues outside their organization
or group. We developed an anti-prejudice
poster campaign. UC anti-prejudice
t-shirts were disseminated to
students during the New Student
Welcome. We also co-sponsored
lectures and a crosscultural communication
workshop with 15 student groups
and the Student Government Association
(SGA). UC members petitioned the
SGA to support the Benjamin Banneker
Scholarship for African American
students. We are currently mediating
a conflict between Hillel, the
Jewish Student Union, the Black
Student Union and the UMCP NMCP.
The SGA voted to make United Cultures
a permanent organization of SGA
with a starting budget of $8,000.
A Student Advisory Board is being
formed that will train students
to address, mediate, and refer
diversity complaints and concerns.
I now come to the third major component
of our Diversity Initiative, which is
public and media relations. All the
committees work to maintain a constant
flow of diversity programs and activities.
Information about campus programs are
generated in the following ways:
- The information is solicited in
Steering Committee meetings, through
the electronic Diversity list serve,
and through e-mail.
- Program proposals for Matching
Diversity Grants are solicited (by
mail). The grants must be inter-disciplinary,
open to the campus, and seek to build
community in innovative, collaborative
ways. (50) Proposals were received.
The Sub-Committee funded 19. Some
of the proposals came from physical
plant, the campus police, computer
science department, the school of
business, residence halls, the German
department, the dance department,
the fire protection department, the
library, the geography department,
the Center for International Development
and Conflict resolution, the Student
Government Association, the International
Student Council, and the Black Student
Union. 3. Program proposals are solicited
from students through presentations
to the United Cultures and other student
- The College of Journalism is requiring
students to write articles on diversity
programs for academic credit. The
articles may be selected for placement
in the major campus student newspapers.
Once programs are submitted to the
Public Relations Committee, a decision
is made to identify what programs will
be promoted, the communication techniques
to be used, and the intended audience.
All communications bear the Diversity
initiative logo. Our communication strategy
uses several public relations techniques.
For the campus community audience,
the strategy includes several approaches.
1. One approach is developing and
disseminating diversity related items.
The items are:
A. Posters (4) disseminated annually
to unit heads, program sponsors, and
student organizations; and are posted
- The Diversity Initiative Teaser
Poster (5,000). These posters are
used by the Graduate Admission Offices
for recruitment purposes.
- Matching Grants Poster (2,500)
- Fall Focus Calendar Poster (3,000)
- Spring Focus Calendar Poster (3,000)
B. Bookmarks (2,000), with racial
demographics of undergraduate and graduate
students are disseminated to students
at major events such as the New Student
Welcome, Orientation, and Diversity
Focus Days. They are used by the Graduate
School for recruitment purposes.
C. Buttons (1,000)
D. Fortune Cookies, with a Diversity
Initiative message, will be handed out
at student and staff dining facilities.
E. Coffee Mugs, with the logo and
theme are given as a thank you to program
sponsors, Initiative supporters, and
2. The second approach for our campus
audience is working with campus print
and non-print media. Our successes include:
- 24 articles written and places
in the Outlook, the UMCP Faculty/Staff
Weekly Publication. An article is
always accompanied by our logo.
- The highlighting by color of diversity
programs in the Outlook Calendar.
The calendar page also includes a
notation that the Diversity Initiative
has identified the highlighted programs
as part of the Diversity Initiative.
- 2 articles placed in the campus
alumni publication which is distributed
4 times a year.
- 2 commentaries written and placed
in the Diamondback, our student daily
- 8 ads for diversity programs placed
student publications. For the campus
and non-campus audiences, our approach
is the Diversity News Bureau. It was
developed in October, 1995 to increase
campus and non-campus media coverage.
It is perceived to be the first campus
diversity news bureau.
To date, the Bureau has:
- sent 11 external press releases
which have generated 9 articles, mostly
on the diversity of the freshman class,
on the Speakers' Bureau, and political
correctness. The placements include
the Chronicle of Higher Education,
The Washington Post, the Washington
Times, the Educational Daily, and
several local newspapers.
- sent 10 internal press releases
to editors of campus publications.
The releases generated 9 articles
in the Diamondback. Five articles
were part of a week-long series on
the ways that diversity affects students.
- conducted 3 on-air radio interviews
with Washington, D.C. stations * received
coverage from local cable stations
for 4 Diversity Initiative events
In summary, this is a work in progress.
It is dynamic and evolving. I look forward
to hearing your feedback on how to continue
our evolution at a steady pace.