In September, after The Bulletin had gone to print, the Board of Trustees received recommendations from the Naming ACUI Awards Working Group. Among these was a call for the Association to more clearly communicate and commit to diversity and inclusion. As part of their work in reviewing the group’s report, the board determined the 2019 strategic plan that had been drafted insufficiently addressed diversity and inclusion. This was reinforced in an open letter from the Community of Practice for Multi-Ethnic Professionals and Allies toward the end of 2018, which also expressed a need for ACUI to take action related to equity.
The revised plan will begin in July, and annual priorities relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion appear within each of the strategic guideposts—research, data, member and volunteer engagement, and active dialogue—such as:
- Within the area of research, the “inclusive communities” aspect of the research agenda is noted as the topic to be emphasized.
- Volunteers and staff have been asked to use data to better understand demographic representation.
- Equity in ACUI’s volunteer recruitment and selection processes is noted as a priority for improvement.
- To increase engagement among members who do not hold majority identities, there is a call to examine structures for communities and investigate how individuals want to interact with ACUI.
- Additionally, active dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion will be a priority.
The next step is to identify measurable action and responsibility for achieving these and all priorities within the strategic plan. Staff and volunteers have committed to efforts, for which the Board of Trustees will hold them accountable. These include but are not limited to:
- Disseminating the results/resources from the recent college union engagement study ACUI conducted in partnership with Indiana University
- Providing education to help members conduct assessment, evaluation, and research in a socially just and equitable manner
- Completing the review of the core competencies, paying critical attention to the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Growing the number of members who have filled in the demographic fields on their member profiles
- Building the data available through ACUI Benchmarking
- Creating self-paced volunteer training modules to increase participation and completion
- Increasing the number of volunteers serving in short-term roles across the Association
- Auditing volunteer procedures to identify opportunities to improve equity
- Conducting regional assessments of desired engagement experiences for members who do not hold majority identities
- Introducing a career advancement program for marginalized populations
- Documenting ways in which ACUI’s student programs facilitate active dialogue
- Collecting models of how campuses are facilitating dialogue and discourse on their campuses around diversity, equity, and inclusion
Deepti Chadee, Texas Christian University, will lead the Board of Trustees Strategic Direction Committee to oversee the accomplishment of these goals. Staff and volunteers will provide quarterly updates to the board, in addition to regularly scheduled meetings. In March 2020, new annual priorities will be identified to take effect in July 2020.