Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan
A Commitment to Learn, Listen, Contribute, and Transform
Statement of Intent
The College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science (EMS) at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is committed to its people — students, faculty, staff, and administration — by establishing and enhancing programs and processes intended to ensure an inclusive culture that attracts and serves a diverse population, and succeeds in engaging and inspiring each of us in ways where equity, access, support, and compassion are a given.
We believe in diversity as an organizational value, equity as a cultural requirement, and inclusion as a cornerstone of our College and campus community.
Our Overarching Promises
- We will recognize that the College of EMS is part of an integrated University community, and we will follow the lead of University leaders responsible for campus climate and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, while advancing their mission in ways that account for our unique academic programs and STEM-inspired culture.
- We will examine our individual and organizational biases to identify and change any attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, curricular or operational practices, processes, and policies that leave any population of stakeholders disenfranchised, disengaged, or disrespected.
- We will embrace the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's campus-wide decree that “Hate is not a UW-Platteville value.” We will, instead, choose respect for one another and will hold ourselves accountable for eradicating antagonism or hostility, disrespect or dismissal of our colleagues and classmates at every level and in every corner of our College.
- We will shine a bright light of recognition on examples of DE&I progress, holding them up for all to see, celebrate, and emulate.
- We will commit to achieving meaningful and lasting change through which everyone will feel at home in our College.
- We will evolve together, learn from one another, and examine our individual and collective shortcomings, strengths, and opportunities as they relate to an inclusive, diverse, and equitable culture.
- We will strive to give voice to the previously unheard, power to the previously disempowered, and agency to the previously unseen.
- We will be better, stronger, and more impactful — individually and as a College — by seeing each other’s unique differences and by continually seeking to celebrate the ways in which we bring those differences to bear on our shared educational and research priorities.
Our DE&I Goals
When it comes to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at the College of EMS, we believe that we must move beyond beliefs and principles ... to adopt and inhabit meaningful words and actions. Words matter and actions heal. As such, we have articulated the following goals, which we are already making progress toward achieving:
1. Create the Comfort Required to Challenge the Past
Because the College of EMS educates individuals for modern, evolving, cutting-edge careers, we must develop a College environment that is likewise contemporary. As such, we are doing away with the former tendency to value tradition at the exclusion of change. We will encourage faculty, staff, students, and administrators to challenge the status quo and to ask questions of all members of our community so that we can learn, listen, contribute, and transform. We will encourage and support students, faculty, and staff of color (POC) to come together with white students, faculty, and staff in interactions where they can collectively express their viewpoints on the issues of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, religious intolerance, and other types of aggression or dismissal. We recognize that we exist to serve future generations and their voices will ring most loudly.
2. Diversity of Thought and Behavior
As we approach 2021, we must expand our definitions of diversity — beyond race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, and ability — to also include diversity of thought, belief, and behavior. A truly diverse and inclusive College of EMS will be welcoming of various political views, religious beliefs, social frameworks, personal style choices, hobbies and interests, and communication styles. Where we must be aligned is in our respect for one another, our demonstration of compassion and introspection, and our shared commitment to advancing our collective knowledge, the professions and fields of study represented by the College of EMS, and our personal growth through a broader worldview. At the College of EMS, we will maintain an open mind about open minds.
3. Not Just Policies or Plans — But People!
We are committed to attracting a more diverse population of students, faculty, and staff, while recognizing that our largely homogeneous University (overwhelmingly white, straight, Christian) appears, at first class glance, to be keeping diverse applicants at arm’s distance. We do not look like a College or University committed to DE&I, though we’d like to be. We realize that our efforts to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive College community will generate modest, slow results at first. But we also know that we must start where we are, accept the challenges of our historic realities, and become a destination for all those who seek to study or teach in the fields of engineering, mathematics, and science.
- We will attract, embrace, and serve:
- Students — We will enhance, expand, and continuously assess outreach, recruitment, financial aid, and support programs to raise the proportion of students of color, women students, and other underrepresented students (on campus and at a distance), while increasing their percentages in academic programs in which they are currently underrepresented.
- Faculty and staff — We will enhance, expand, and continuously assess outreach, recruitment, and support programs to raise the proportion of people of color, women, and other underrepresented people in faculty and staff positions in job categories where they are currently underrepresented. We will likewise seek to promote, tenure, and recognize larger numbers of diverse educators, leaders, and staff.
- We will provide implicit bias training opportunities to better understand the unconscious ways in which we inadvertently sabotage our diversity goals on search committees and in student recruitment efforts. We’ve already started this process by engaging the College of EMS Executive Council in regular professional development opportunities and discussion.
- We will continually measure our progress in these regards. We will assess curriculum, prospective student (admissions) marketing, and academic and social services in achieving diversity goals, taking corrective action, as necessary. Likewise, we will assess the effectiveness of faculty and staff recruitment, selection, development, performance review, and reward processes in achieving diversity goals, taking corrective action, as necessary.
We will welcome, support, and celebrate a vastly more diverse community of learners, educators, leaders, and champions.
- We will attract, embrace, and serve:
4. A New Kind of Classroom — Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive
For most faculty members and academic leaders, the vital, complex, and intertwined issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion were only minimally (or not at all) on their minds when constructing curricula, designing programs, or honing personal pedagogy and classroom style. As a result, the College of EMS — like so many other colleges and universities in the United States — has been left with curricula, programs, and faculty pedagogies that are not optimally “DE&I aware.” Together, we will work to remedy this.
- Continue and expand academic content, courses, and programs that provide relevant and comprehensive instruction about all those who experience disadvantage and exclusion — instruction that challenges the racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, religious intolerance, and other forms of aggression or disrespect in higher education and in STEM careers.
- Develop an ongoing micro-grants program to support faculty in their efforts to redesign their courses to make them meaningfully more inclusive.
- Continue to provide workshops and other instruction for faculty and staff under the leadership of people of color (POC) and others with expertise to identify, challenge, and root out racism and mitigate its damaging effects on the College community and to promote cross-cultural interaction and in depth understanding of other races, ethnicities, and cultures.
- Lean upon our students for insightful suggestions about how to improve the social and academic experiences provided in the classroom, acknowledging their areas of expertise, and lived experiences. We will consult often, the wisdom of a younger generation for whom multiculturalism and inclusion is a more natural inclination and for whom equity and inclusion is increasingly necessary to achieving their fullest sense of well-being.
We are committed to ensuring all students receiving the kind of instruction and care they expect and deserve.
5. Fixing the Failures in and Around Us
We recognize that the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and the College of EMS, have perpetuated DE&I failures for far too long. Beginning now, we will identify and own the evidence of those failures, as indicated by past university-wide climate surveys and current reports of bias:
- Increasing reports of classroom discrimination by instructors and classmates.
- The 56% of students of color and 59% of LGBTQ+ students who have considered leaving the University.
- The 60% of students who say they do not feel connected or understanding of groups outside their own racial/ethnic identity.
- High rates of female students subjected to harassment and sexual violence.
- Our low retention of highly qualified students whose families are experiencing poverty.
- The high dissatisfaction among faculty of color, causing them to leave, on average, in less than five years.
- The unmet training and support needs among the 38% of faculty who say they want to meaningfully incorporate teaching about individual differences (particularly political, gender, sexuality, and race and ethnicity) in the classroom.
We will examine the results of third-party DE&I assessments, external rankings and benchmarking, and internal surveys, focus groups, and operational statistics to shine a light on where we must do better. And then we will do better. We will allocate attention, resources, and energy to these efforts, tying them to our shared accountabilities in creating a culture of diligence and optimism about moving the DE&I needles in the right direction.
6. A Safe Embrace for Our Students
Where many institutions of higher education fall short is in respecting (and therefore retaining) the diverse body of students they work so hard to recruit. We want to do far more than just attract students from underrepresented groups; we want to make the student experience at the College of EMS one of welcoming allyship — a community of curiosity and friendship, equity and opportunity, respect and safety, inclusion and autonomy.
- We will take a “start with self” approach to seeing, serving, and embracing students through a DE&I lens. We must first understand ourselves. We will create training and sharing opportunities (like the White Accountability Forums and Intergroup Dialogues we have held throughout 2020) to encourage students (and the faculty and staff who serve them) to look inward at their own feelings, experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Through that self-awareness, we will build DE&I-focused systems, then cultures, then the kind of lasting and meaningful change we seek.
- We will continue to create safe avenues for the reporting of hate and bias incidents, and we will maintain a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior in our College.
- We will continue to invest in programs and initiatives (and entire departments with full-time staffs) to promote an environment for students that takes our campus climate from adequate to admirable. Our campus climate efforts and our DE&I efforts will forever be a way of life — not a short-term project or a momentary or passing trend.
- We will provide for College-led, University-led and student-led affinity programs where students can celebrate their unique identities, explore both their heritages and their futures, and build social and informational programs for their own memberships and for others.
- We will leave no aspect of the student experience unexamined when it comes to ensuring equity and inclusion: classrooms, study and lounge spaces, dining areas, social spaces, residence halls, laboratories, and more.
- We will charge our alumni with coming back to demonstrate what is possible for EMS graduates of diverse backgrounds.
7. Partnerships in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
When it comes to fulfilling our long-term DE&I goals, we intend not to go it alone. We are a College within a University, a University within a community, and a community within a region. We are engineers, mathematicians, scientists, and computer scientists within thriving and dynamic professions, surrounded by organizations and industries, associations and foundations, municipalities, and joint ventures. Alumni, donors, sponsors, and friends are everywhere we turn. We will be our strongest when we link arms with organizations that share and expand our values and our mission.
- We will embrace the imperative to fulfill external goals, like contributing to a more diverse workforce in key fields for which our College educates future professionals.
- We will participate in industry efforts for DE&I — everything from participation in the ASEE Diversity Recognition Program to partnering with public and private businesses that seek to make their organizations (and the industries and communities they serve) more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
- We will actively seek opportunities to partner with external organizations in the establishment of academic scholarships and internships for diverse students, as well as the delivery of a public lecture series and other experiences devoted to the embrace of DE&I in our College and beyond.
8. An Emerging Role Model for the Region
We believe that while our geographic location in a rural area in the Midwest places us in a stark reality of sameness — in a nearly homogeneous community of white conservatism — that the College of EMS can be (and must be) a destination for new voices and faces. We believe that our academic and extracurricular programs can and will draw, in greater numbers over time, a more diverse pool of learners and leaders who are passionate about engineering, mathematics, and science. Furthermore, we believe it is our imperative and our opportunity to be an emerging role model for the region by signaling to a broader community (where diversity is lacking, and equity and inclusion are largely failed efforts because no one is trying) that what is possible at UW - Platteville is possible in the entire city of Platteville. The truth is that, as of the writing of this plan, Platteville is a community of ~ 10,000 where 94% of residents are white/Caucasian. The University, for all it admittedly deficits in diversity, is the most diverse community within the larger region, and our institution has an opportunity to inspire locally.
We seek to lead by example and open our doors to share our evolving story so that it might embolden others into recognizing, as we have, the importance of establishing a deliberate DE&I philosophy — a new way of being and thinking — now and into the future.
- We will share our stories, voices, and faces with the broader community through public events and public relations.
- We will go out of our way to invite the community onto our campus and into our College, through public open houses and interactive events.
- We will invite local residents to serve on committees and councils, and to experience intercultural interactions with our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.
Guiding Principles and Overarching Philosophies
We believe in diversity as an organizational value, equity as a cultural requirement, and inclusion as a cornerstone of our College and campus community.
We must start where we are, acknowledging our realities, shortcomings, strengths, and opportunities.
We will take an incremental approach — which we have already begun — to making deliberate steps in this worthwhile endeavor to improve awareness, intention, and stakeholder experience.
We must build on our roots as a state school and an “access institution” to provide even more access and opportunities in broader, deeper ways to larger populations of stakeholders, while keeping the concepts of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion forever in our institutional DNA.
We will continually challenge ourselves to expand our definitions of diversity and identity, giving due attention to all those groups for whom we hope to make a meaningful difference, including students from regions with high rates of poverty, students experiencing homelessness, those with a permanent disability or chronic illness, those who are veterans or currently enlisted in the armed forces, students who identify as LGBTQ+, international students, and more.
We will hold ourselves and each other accountable for our words and behaviors such that diversity, equity, and inclusion become part of our shared values and our intentional culture.
We will follow the lead of the University as a whole, while also developing our own programs and initiatives, serving our unique population of students, faculty, and staff in the ways they desire and deserve.
We will be students of our own efforts, learning as we go, emulating best practices from other institutions, and adjusting and expanding our work in response to real results, which we will measure.
We believe that to effectively compete in the higher education marketplace, we must first collaborate — internally and externally.
We will remove barriers, open doors, and ignite conversations and possibilities at every turn.
Every day, we will be better than the day before.
A Collaborative and Integrated Approach
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion — for the students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and friends of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science at the University of Wisconsin - Platteville — will furthermore be a collaborative effort with an integrated approach. We will challenge leaders to lead — the Dean, with support of the Provost, at the helm; and with Associate and Assistant Deans and academic Chairs creating a “community of practice,” customizing efforts to the distinct needs of their stakeholders. Faculty, student leaders (like the student government officers), and prospect-facing teams like admissions and financial aid will have clear roles and responsibilities. We will take cues and expertise from Campus Climate and Diversity & Inclusion leaders on campus, and will form an advisory committee to take this foundational plan to its next phase, with programs and projects outlined, with key performance metrics established, and with timeframes and accountabilities made clear. We will, annually or bi-annually, update the plan and celebrate our successes and growth. We will forevermore be a College driven by a deep honor and respect for all that makes us each unique and all that binds us together.
We need to be active in dismantling inequity in our own College community. We understand we have significant progress to obtain as a community before all our campus community members feel equitable respect and access to our educational mission. We are personally committed to ensuring that every student, faculty member, and staff member in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science feels valued, safe, and supported in meeting their educational and career goals. We look forward — with humility, responsibility, and honor — to doing the work necessary to create the positive change we so desperately need.