“D&I Roadmap” will include action steps and progress updates; Harris creates new Assistant Dean position for Diversity and Inclusion

Today, Katherine Baicker, dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor at Harris Public Policy, announced the release of the Harris D&I Roadmap, the school’s first-ever strategic plan for diversity and inclusion, as well as a new D&I website housing the roadmap, action steps, progress updates, and more.

“This roadmap seeks to cultivate a climate of inclusivity and institutional accountability in which people of all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives are welcome and can be successful in advancing their research, education, and impact in the world,” Dean Baicker said. “As our community – and the world – continues to grapple with these important issues, Harris is committed to concrete action steps and honest conversations about our progress toward those goals.”

The Roadmap

Informed by feedback from the Harris community and the Fall 2019 recommendations of the dean’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, the roadmap consists of school-wide goals and concrete action steps, grouped into four categories:

  • Foundational Infrastructure: Invest in the infrastructure to build, measure, and communicate a school-wide diversity and inclusion strategy
  • Diverse School: Increase diversity of our faculty, other academic appointees, student body, and staff
  • Inclusive Classroom: Build an inclusive learning environment that supports the needs of all students
  • Engaged Community: Foster a culture of full participation, shared responsibility, and high engagement in diversity and inclusion for all members of our community

In keeping with Harris’ dedication to evidence-based policy, the new D&I website, which goes live today, couples these steps with output measures to provide institutional accountability for the school’s progress on the goals.

“As leaders, students, and scholars dedicated to better policy, we can and must do more to generate a diverse and inclusive Harris community,” Dean Baicker said. “I believe this roadmap is a major step forward, but it is only part of what must be an ongoing effort towards continuous improvement and evaluation.”

Action Steps Today

In addition to releasing the new D&I Roadmap and website, the dean today took two additional steps to build a foundation for the school’s diversity and inclusion work:

  • Creation of new Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, reporting to the Dean of Harris. Michelle Hoereth, currently Harris’ Director of Diversity and Inclusion, has agreed to take on a new, elevated role as the inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. This change reflects the position’s school-wide scope and Michelle Hoereth’s instrumental role in our progress.
  • Creation of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board as a standing body. As another component of Harris’ investment in D&I infrastructure, the dean is establishing the DIAB as a standing advisory body with a rotating membership, including faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The DIAB will work closely with the dean and the new assistant dean in developing Harris’ next steps, engaging our community, and monitoring our progress. More information about the DIAB and membership nomination process will be announced soon.

The Roadmap: Looking Forward

Harris will hold a virtual town hall in October, at the beginning of the new academic year, to discuss plans and progress with our faculty, students, and staff, and will provide regular updates to the broader Harris community on the diversity and inclusion work being done at Harris. Additionally, Harris Alumni Council’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will play an important role in engaging Harris alumni in advancing this important work, with more information on ways to get involved coming this fall.

“The roadmap strengthens Harris’ commitment to diversity and inclusion by creating a pathway for progress and dialogue around the challenges and opportunities facing our community.” said Michelle Hoereth, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. “This is challenging work, and while there will never be a finish line, we will learn, reflect, and continue to grow as an institution. I am excited to continue leading this work as we go forward with our ambitious plans.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with the Harris D&I team, please check out the website and email harrisdiversity@uchicago.edu.