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Due to the pandemic, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force (DEI) was unable to hold its inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Town Hall. In lieu of the Town Hall, we’d like to share with you the important initiatives we’ve been working on this academic year, as well as open up a dialogue with the UArts community about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University.

The Curriculum working group assembled resources to support programs and instructors in designing and delivering inclusive, equitable learning resources for all UArts students, including a diversity, equity and inclusion syllabus rubric designed by task force member Kait Sanchez. These resources are available through the Center for Teaching and Learning (DEI Teaching Resources and Strategies) on the UArts Portal, and the working group is exploring more ways to share these resources with faculty and expanding the availability of workshops, webinars and online courses. The Curriculum working group continues to partner with the Provost’s Office in the advancement of the University Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Learning Outcomes.

Representation and Advancement
The Representation and Advancement working group, in partnership with Human Resources, continued to revise the University hiring manual to incorporate inclusive search practices, such as training for hiring managers and decreasing subjectivity throughout the hiring process. The working group continues to assess the diversity of the University workforce on an annual basis, as well as researching and compiling best practices for increasing diversity in higher education.

Policies and Communication
The Policies and Communication working group, in partnership with the Representation and Advancement working group, is coordinating a review of University systems that collect information regarding sex, gender and gender identity, to ensure that information is consistent and accurate, streamlined and private, and fosters an inclusive working and learning environment. Additionally, the working group continues to draft a robust Harassment and Discrimination Policy that will apply to non sex- and gender-based harassment and discrimination.

The Culture working group created the UArts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page, a central location for information about DEI resources and programming at the University. The working group is planning an event that addresses “Being an Artist in the Social Media Age,” as well as discussing the need for a DEI “values statement” that can be utilized in hiring, onboarding, with visiting speakers and in other ways.

In October 2019, the DEI Task Force, in partnership with the Office of the President, held its first Open Conversations event, during which faculty, staff and students gathered to discuss a difficult topic. The October event centered on free speech and its interaction with creating an inclusive learning environment. We are thankful for the 60-plus UArts community members who participated and engaged in a thoughtful and important dialogue. The topic for our next Open Conversations event will be unconscious bias.

At the final gathering of the DEI Task Force this semester, we discussed equity issues in the time of pandemic at UArts and ways we can support students and each other through this difficult time.

As was announced by President Yager in the fall, the DEI Task Force is becoming a standing committee at the University. We are very grateful to senior leadership for their continued support of and partnership in our work.

More information about the DEI Task Force, including membership, its mission and meeting minutes, is available on the DEI tab on the UArts Portal.