CHRISTINE HOLT: Good morning. Thank you for joining us today. I am Christine Holt, and I serve as Chief of Staff for the University of Missouri System and Interim Chancellor, and I serve as the Interim Chief Diversity Officer for the UM System. I have the privilege of serving as a facilitator for today’s panel discussion and Q&A, and I hope for this time to be a time when we can actually talk candidly about our community’s experiences and concerns related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and I heard it said the way that we can remember what diversity, equity and inclusion stands for is diversity is being invited to the dance, equity is participating in the song selection, inclusion is having opportunity to dance. So what we’re hoping to do today is to discuss our recent progress and talk about challenges that we still have yet to face. We are very proud of the progress that we’ve made to this point, and you are to be commended as being a part of that progress, but we know we must also continue to work. We must push harder. We must take bigger and broader steps. Inclusive excellence, it should be said, is not a destination. You don’t reach it and then you stop trying. Inclusive excellence is a journey, and we are wholly committed to the journey and to work to make continuing strides. A few quick notes on how the event will unfold today. Our panelists will begin with their presentation, and it’s slated to take about three minutes for the presentation, we will then take questions live from audience, and to submit questions, click on submit a question from the event page, where you are viewing this forum today. I will read those questions and then direct them to our panelists to answer their questions. We are recording today’s event, and will include follow up information and today’s presentation on the Chancellor’s web page in the very near future. So let’s go ahead and begin, and we will begin with an introduction of our panelists. Our panelists include President Choi, Latha Ramchand, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Inya Baiye, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Inclusive Excellence in Strategic Initiatives in the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, or IDE, NaTashua Davis, Executive Director of Access and Leadership Development in the Division of IDE, Bill Stackman, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and our newest member of the team, Maurice Gipson, the new Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. At this time, I will cede the floor to President Choi.
MUN CHOI: Christine, thank you, and many thanks to all of you for joining us. During the past several months, you’ve gone through a lot individually, as well as a community, and during that period we’ve had to deal with the pandemic, the financial fallout, and also concerns about inclusion, diversity and equity, both in our community, as well as our university, but I also want to thank you for your deep commitment to the University of Missouri, and in return, we are also very deeply committed to your success and to find ways for us to increase opportunities for inclusion, diversity and equity at the university. So today, we’re going to be featuring the work of many individuals, including the deans, department chairs, faculty, staff and students who worked hard since 2015 to make this university a better university. Now, while there is more work to do, I do believe that we’ve made some very good progress. At the heart of our efforts in IDE, we want to have a university that is a university that values individual dignity and values and promotes the differences in background, differences in perspective that make this university a richer university. As part of that process, we need to take action. The periods of listening and periods of dialoguing are very important in finding ways to develop those action items, and we’re going to be measuring the impact of those actions and also hold each one of us accountable to make that progress. As part of the strategic plan for Mizzou, there are five areas that have been outlined in terms of areas of emphasis to make significant progress as part of IDE. They include institutional infrastructure, access and success, research and scholarship, campus climate and community engagement. All of these activities are interwoven, interwoven to create that more inclusive environment at the university. The next slide shows the impact of the aftermath of 2015. As you can see, since 2015 until the fall of 2019, there was a reduction of almost 20% in our undergraduate population. There was slightly less decrease when it comes to total underrepresented minority undergraduate, a 14%, but our black and African American undergraduate saw the largest decrease of 29%. So at this point, we are educating 600 less black and African American undergraduate students, and we are making a strong effort to reverse these trends. This slide shows the applications for underrepresented minority students from fall of 2015 as well as fall of 2020. As you can see from the top line, the number of applications compared to fall of 2015, the fall of 2020 is very equivalent. Compared to fall of 2017, there’s been a 29% increase. Even with the same number of applicants as of 2015, we’re also seeing a dramatic increase in the number of students who have been admitted to the university. Compared to 2017, it’s 33%. We also see impressive growth in Hispanic and Latinx population for the applications, as well as admits, and this also translates into more students from underrepresented groups choosing the University of Missouri. From 2017 to 2019, we have seen an 8% increase in the total number of underrepresented minority students, both in the undergraduate and the graduate categories.
So how do we compare as a university? We looked at the 11 largest flagship universities in the Midwest. Of all of those universities, the percentage of black and African American undergraduate student is highest for the University of Missouri at 7.65%. The next highest is 6%. But what’s more impressive is the growth over the years. This data shows from 2004 to 2020, the University of Missouri has seen the greatest growth during that period, even with the dip resulting from 2015, of black and African American undergraduate students. Had the students who were, the number of students, blacks and African American undergraduate students, been at the university in 2020 at the same rate as 2015, our numbers would approach 11%. What’s also very positive is the increase in the performance of all of our students, including our underrepresented minority students. In 2017, the six year graduation rate was 52%. I’ve also broken down the difference between men and women, Hispanic, as well as all students. Keep in mind that the average, national average for black and African American graduation rate is 40%, for Hispanic, it’s 54%, and for all, it’s 59%. So in all of these categories in 2017, we have performed admirably. This shows the results just two years later. Look at the dramatic increase, dramatic increase in the six year graduation rate in all categories except for Hispanic men. So there’s work to do there, but we are now at 59% graduation rate, which is the national average for all students. But there is work to be done. While the graduation rate for black and African American women is 67%, which is very impressive, but for men, it’s 43%, so we have to figure out what is it, what are the hurdles that prevent African American men from performing at the rate that, that is comparable to women, and that’s something that we will we will be looking at very carefully. In terms of faculty hiring, for all ranked faculty for tenure, tenure track, as well as NTT faculty, there has been an increase of 32% just in four years, from 2015 until the fall of 2019, 32%. If we look at just the black faculty, it increased by 23% during that period. And as this slide will show, this shows from 2016 until 2019, the number of faculty members were higher in each of these different demographics. Overall, 277 tenure, tenure track faculty members were higher. Of that, 54 were underrepresented minority at 20%, and 27 or 10% were black and African American faculty. And this is really due to very proactive recruitment, as well as training postdocs at our university to transition into faculty position that the Provost will talk about a little bit later. And this slide shows, out of the 11 Midwest flagship universities, the comparison of, percentage of black faculty, compared to the total. University Missouri is rank four. We have room to grow, but if we are able to continue to hire underrepresented minority faculty at a rate of 20% and black faculty at a rate of 10%, you could see easily in a few years as a percentage that we can be the top university in the Midwest when it comes to diversity, inclusion and equity. So I’m very proud of the work that all of our deans, our faculty, staff and students who have contributed to all of these efforts, but there’s more work to be done, and we’re committed to getting that work done. So with that, let me now turn it over to my colleague, Inya Baiye.
INYA BAIYE: Good morning. So I will briefly discuss some changes to our institutional infrastructure over the past four or five years. Many schools and colleges have invested in offices and faculty fellowships or administrative positions that are designed to oversee inclusive initiatives at the college and school level, and also to give these initiatives structure as part of the inclusive excellence process and the framework. The School of Medicine, the College of Arts and Science and the College of Human and Environmental Sciences, as well as the School of Health Professions, have all made those kinds of improvements. Additionally, the College of Business and the College of Veterinary Medicine have expanded their efforts to recruit underrepresented minority students, and the School of Medicine has achieved significant success in diversifying their student body. The Chancellor already mentioned the increases in six year graduation rates for black students. We see some significant increase, specifically in the College of Arts and Science, CAFNR, the Journalism School and the School of Health Professions. But I would also like to highlight an improvement or a significant achievement for the entire institution. The NIH awarded MU’s MARC program a million dollars a year for five years to train undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds for careers in biomedical science. As part of our commitment to advancing inclusive excellence, the University of Missouri system invested $1.2 million in inclusive initiatives at MU, many of which expand access to the academy and diversify the faculty, as you will see on this slide. One of the common improvements to our infrastructure, however, is the launch of a bias reporting hotline in the coming weeks, and it should be done by mid-August. Thank you.
MUN CHOI: I believe, is it Dr. NaTashua Davis is next?
NATASHUA DAVIS: I’ll be going through the access and success, and please don’t it’s just a handful of initiatives that are happening within both IBE, but also the broader campus community. So again, this is just a sampling of some of the things that are going on related to access and success and pipeline programs and initiatives as we’re moving forward. So, one of the, I think, wonderful programs that we have to really kind of highlight right now is our KC Scholars program. This is, you know, a wonderful initiative that’s coming out of Kansas City, and because of the sake of time, we don’t have a lot of time to actually talk about the logistics of the program and the description of it, but I encourage you all to please look this program up on the website and see the impact that it’s having within the Kansas City community and within our universities that are designed to really support these scholars. So what this is is an initiative that’s really designed to support Kansas City students that are coming out of their high schools and pipelining into one of 17 different programs, excuse me, different universities and colleges that are around the region within Kansas City, MU being one of those. And right now, what we’re seeing is MU as being one of the top choices of our Kansas City scholars. What we’re seeing right now is that we have right about 131 scholars, just this past year, that are on our college campus and looking to increase that. So this upcoming year, we should be well over 200 KC Scholars that will be on our college campuses. But what the scholarship does is it provides a five year $10,000 scholarship over the course of five years for our students. MU and the MU system, though, has kind of taken it one step further in actually partnering with Kansas City, excuse me, KC scholars and creating a match program. And so what this is allowing us to do is to really expand the number of KC Scholars that are coming into our colleges and campuses, particularly as we’re pipelining them into MU, and so that’s why we’re seeing this wonderful increase of KC Scholars that are going to be coming. What we’re seeing here is real dollars being invested in our students, and that is tremendous. And right now, what we’re seeing this past year, with our KC Scholars, a 98% retention rate that’s happening, and then in this coming year, you’re seeing very similar numbers as well, too. But as we know, as we’re thinking about, you know, just kind of access and retention and all of that, we really have to consider that the financial piece is just one part of that, right? We have to have the student successes, excuse me, the student interventions and supports in place. So what we’ve been able to do is be able to fold KC Scholars into the very, very capable arms of our Center for Academic Success and Excellence, or our CASE Scholars program. They’re one of several initiatives, excuse me, several scholarships that are actually being supported at the institution. So we have our Brooks Scholars, our Diversity Scholars, our Sub Scholars, which are actually being supported, which equates to about over 500 underrepresented minority students that are being supported through CASE. CASE is wrapped up in five pillars, and they predicate and put these in all their interventions that they have for the students, and this includes academic enrichment, career development, financial literacy, sense of belonging and wellness, and having those wrapped up into everything that they do and supports that they have and interventions that they have for students have resulted in just this past year, we’re seeing a 94% retention rate of those CASE Scholars that are in the program. This is in comparison to the general population of students at about 87%.
Another initiative that we have that is pretty new on our campus, we joined an alliance, it’s the Missouri Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM, or what we call MoLSAMP, and what this is is a consortium of nine different colleges throughout the state of Missouri, and the goal of the program in itself is to really increase the number of STEM participants of our underrepresented minority students, and not only increase the number, but make sure that they’re matriculating and completing within these STEM fields. When we originally started the program, and kind of our investment into the program in 2016, we were, the role that we were playing was MU was hosting a comprehensive summer research program for 10 to 12 or so Alliance scholars, scholars across the Alliance, and so we were supporting them through a very comprehensive program with the partnership of our Undergraduate Research Office and providing them with professional development as well as a very extensive, robust research experience in the summer for college campuses. This in itself is a wonderful pipeline initiative as we’re looking at advancing our students into graduate programs, but along with that in 2018, Harris-Stowe State University, which serves as the lead to this alliance, allowed us to have increased funding, so that we can actually expand and extend our program to Mizzou students as well, and so we were able to kind of pilot an academic year program to really help support not only specifically students that are within MoLSAMP, but some of our other wonderful initiatives that we have, like the IMSD-EXPRESS program, the McNair program or HHMI THRIVE program. We’re able to collaborate with them and just provide more resources and more experiences for our students. Again, we were also able to pilot a small program too that was just dedicated to MoLSAMP, and with that we’re seeing some really good success in this pilot. Though it’s a handful of students, we are seeing all of our students continue to matriculate within the STEM fields, which is wonderful.
Another program that we have, and for those of you all who know me know that this is near and dear to my heart, is our McNair Scholars program. This is a long standing program that we’ve had on our campus, but it’s so worth mentioning the model of the program and the results that we’re having within McNair. McNair is the US Department of Education funded program that we have, and it serves, it’s designed to really support underserved and underrepresented students as they matriculate into graduate school. Our really main goal, though, is the doctoral program as well too, and I think you’re seeing that in our numbers here. What we’re seeing is 162 total doctoral degrees over the length of the life of the program and 300 Master’s degrees. Also, I was just sharing with President Choi before we got on that we’re also seeing right now over the last probably eight or nine years, an increase of our numbers that are coming out with our students that are achieving PhDs, so we’re averaging about seven PhDs a year that are coming out, and the vast majority of those are going into postdocs or academia, so we’re looking again to be that pipeline as it relates to really serving our underserved pipeline within academia as well, too. Also too this last year, I think it’s definitely worth mentioning that 94% of our current scholars who apply for graduate programs will be continuing into a graduate program this upcoming year, with the vast majority of them going into doctoral programs. And talking about kind of that that pipeline to academia, one of our other new initiatives that we have that we started back in about 2017 is our Southern Region Educational Board Doctoral Scholars partnership that we have. And within this program, the goal of the program is to increase the number of minority students who earn doctorates and then pursue degrees in academia. Right now, we have about eight MU doctoral scholars that are within mid and late stage that are participating within this program. Again, we not only want to recruit from the pipeline, but we also want to be a part of feeding the pipeline as well, too, and this initiative is really helping us to do that. Some of the other things that we’re looking at doing and have been doing and looking at really creating and growing is our initiatives around inclusive teaching, and so our Office of Inclusive Engagement Teaching and Learning Center as well have kind of been in tandem in in kind of being able to create these initiatives and interventions around this space. We have the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Teaching, or our FIT program, I think it’s in its third cohort now, that is expanding throughout our campus as well too and seeing some great success in working with faculty in helping to increase their knowledge and understanding of inclusive classrooms. Then also too, the Teaching for Learning Center has partnered with the Cornell University to host a five week hybrid program on teaching and learning in diverse classes. So part of our commitment as we continue to increase access, increase recruitment and enrollment are through our admissions, of course, and some of the things that they’re doing that we wanna highlight are the collaborations with the LINK Unlimited in Chicago and PREP-KC programs, as well as many others that they’re working with to help students and parents within the college planning process. Another one that I would be remiss if we didn’t mention is the Missouri Land Grant Scholarship. That scholarship in itself has been tremendous and really helping our Pell eligible students to fill in those gaps that they need to help support them throughout their academic careers as well, too. So that is one that they’re really promoting out there and is going to continue to make tremendous slides, excuse me, tremendous strides within our efforts. Also too, some of the things that they’re looking at piloting are test optional admissions for fall of 2021. So again, our commitment is to strengthen inclusive teaching practices and also continue to grow our access and student success initiatives. Thank you.
LATHA RAMCHAND: Thank you, Dr. Davis. This is Latha Ramchand, I serve as Provost. Our inclusive excellence framework is complete when the diversity of our student body, the success and access of our students is also reflected in the diversity of our researchers and scholars and in the diversity of their scholarship. So what are we doing to make sure that we recruit and retain a diverse group of scholars? Next slide, please. I’m going to talk about faculty recruitment and faculty retention. Within the recruitment pillar, you can think about process and programs. How strong are our processes so that we, in fact, recruit the best faculty out there nationally, internationally, who are underrepresented and bring them to Mizzou? From updating our guides to faculty recruitment to bias training for search committees to a process by which we actually review the candidate pools using a group of folks from our office, from HR and the Division of Diversity and Equity, we are improving the processes so that we are able to address the candidate pool and that we are able to remove bias in our recruitment plans. We’re also holding ourselves accountable in terms of these efforts. So, annual evaluations take into account the efforts made by the Dean’s Office, by the several deans, the department chairs, the Provost’s Office to make sure that diversity, inclusion, equity is not just a goal that we visit once a year, but it’s an ongoing part of what we live and do. The COACHE survey, the COACHE survey is a survey, is a climactic survey that is undertaken once in three years, and the survey points to the climate on campus. This year we had the COACHE survey, and the goal starting this year is going to be to make sure that the COACHE survey results are included in our annual evaluations. In terms of the programs that we have in place, we have what I would call a continuum of recruitment initiatives that recruit students, explained by Dr. Davis, by Inya. We have a program whereby we recruit postdocs, and then turn these postdocs into faculty that are ready to transition into the academy. So in terms of this three pronged approach, recruiting students to research, several programs in place, several initiatives and investments that we have undertaken, and just to highlight the most recent one, which Inya alluded to, is the MARC program, which is Maximizing Access to Research Careers, so that we not just recruit students, but also get them interested in research careers. Our funding for this is about half a million dollars over five years, and then the next stage is to recruit postdoctoral students through our Preparing Future Faculty Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity program. It’s an excellent program that has grown over time, and I’ll come back to that in the next slide, but very briefly, it’s what I call the PFFFD program, and the support for this program has also substantially grown. As you can see from the little graph on the bottom of the slide, the number of applications into this program has grown substantially in the last few years, from about 128 in 2017 to over 230 applicants for 2020. Once we recruit them as postdoc students, this is a two year program, we invest in this group, in this cohort, and the goal is that by the end of the two years with the professional development we provide them, they are able to transition into being a full fledged faculty who can be recruited by any university, hopefully by our own university. In order to facilitate that, we have the Faculty Inclusive Excellence Fund, which is a fund that allows colleges, schools and deans to come to us for funding to support faculty recruitment, faculty who are underrepresented minorities, to help in recruiting faculty, providing salary support, providing moving expenses, research support for up to three years. Again, our investments in this initiative have grown from about $700,000 in FY ’16 to over 1.3 million in FY ’20, and starting next year, it will grow to one point, about 1.7. million.
The PFFFD program that I alluded to is a program, like I said, that recruits postdoctoral fellows into Mizzou. We support them for two years, and the goal is to place them into faculty roles. It’s heartening to see that the first cohort of five postdoc fellows transitioned into being four faculty members at Mizzou. Our second cohort, again, three out of the four were either placed or continuing at Mizzou. This is an excellent program, as you can see from the success of the outcomes that have happened since these postdocs were hired, and I’m really, really pleased to share that thanks to support from our Chancellor, we are going to be doubling the funding for this program starting this year, so that we can double the number of postdoctoral fellows we recruit. The second part of growing underrepresented researchers and growing a diverse faculty is to make sure that we retain the faculty who we recruit, preemptive retention, so that our best faculty don’t go out into the market and are not recruited away by other institutions. Program reviews. We’re reviewing programs on an annual basis to ensure that the scholarship, the teaching of these programs is really strong, but in addition to that, the culture of the department, the diversity component of these programs is also strong and growing. Promotion and tenure workshops for our committees that review promotion and tenure cases. Specifically, we have our tenure workshops, but in addition to that, this last year, working with faculty counsel, our Teaching for Learning Center is looking at expanding and improving on assessment of teaching so that we take into account everything a faculty member does inside the classroom so that the teaching evaluation is used in the appropriate manner so that our commitment to our students is not just measured in terms of a teaching evaluation score, but it’s also captured in terms of our accountability to our students. Do we show up on time, do we respond to emails? What else can we do to strengthen our commitment to teaching in an inclusive framework? Finally, mentorship opportunities for all our faculty, including the faculty that we recruit as part of these cohorts. We’re also very pleased that starting last year in 2019, Mizzou became part of the IChange Network of 19 universities. This is a network, this is a program that is hosted by the APLU, the Association of Public Land Grant Universities, and the initiative aims to recruit, hire and retain underrepresented STEM faculty and facilitate inclusive teaching and mentoring. So faculty recruitment, faculty retention, both processes as well as programs, strong and growing thanks to all the good work that our deans, our chairs, our faculty and staff are doing. Are we done yet? Absolutely not. And we are committed to continuous improvement, so we recruit, develop and retain faculty who are committed to research and teaching in an inclusive environment. With that, I’m gonna hand it on to our Vice Chancellor of the Student Affairs, Bill Stackman, who’s going to talk about campus climate.
BILL STACKMAN: Thank you. Thank you, Provost Ramchand, President Choi, and thank you to everyone who joined us today to discuss this very important topic. I’m going to spend a few minutes talking about campus and community engagement and campus life, and I want to touch on some things that we’ve done and our commitment to doing more for our black, Latinx, Asian, international, Indigenous students and students of color. In the Division of Student Affairs, we are committed to student success. This includes making sure that all students are healthy, active, engaged and feel connected to the university. We do this through providing living spaces, physical and mental health resources, inclusive programming, opportunities for every student in ways to get involved and opportunities to learn from each other in different backgrounds. One of the things that we heard from students was that we need better representation in the Counseling Center. Since 2015, there have been intentional structural changes in our Counseling Center and services. In the spring of 2019, we started to implement an integration of the Counseling Center, Student Health Center, and Wellness Resource Center services. This change is outlined in the University of Missouri Strategic Plan, goal eight for Excellence in Student Success, which I encourage you to look at. As you can see on the table, we have added more counselors with a specific focus on hiring more counselors of color. This includes full time, part time, graduate, interns and temporary staff. We have also added counselors who specialize in racial trauma, something that is critical for helping our students of color. We’ve also provided training and are doing trainings this summer to ensure that clinical staff are using inclusive language and being mindful of cultural differences that impact the healthcare and calcium experience in order to improve the mental health and well being of MU students in a manner that is consistent with recognizing the relevance of their cultural identities and backgrounds. We remain committed to hiring more underrepresented minority counselors to serve our students. We understand that this is a need and we’re working on this. Right now, we’ve got a search going on and hope that our numbers are up this this fall. While we have implemented critical changes, we are committed to doing much more. Along with other campus leaders, we are actively working to develop and support greater diversity education and awareness opportunities, and we commit to being transparent through this process. Thank you.
MAURICE GIPSON: Thank you, Dr. Stackman. Good morning, all. So, you know, just to take, you know, just a quick few minutes to talk about what the future looks like at Mizzou. We’ve spent some time this morning talking about our progress and what we’ve done since 2015. Now it’s important to really talk about the future. How are we going to operate as a Mizzou community moving forward? Dr. Stackman said a couple of key things a few minutes ago, and we’re going to make sure our work, particularly in IDE is undergirded by ACT, you know an acronym, ACT: accountability, commitment and transparency. Accountability, commitment and transparency. Without those three, we’re not going to be able to move forward as a university. So remember that: we’re going to ACT in IDE. As many of you know, back in 2018, ACE finished a report that detailed the 2015 incident on campus. They talked about, and luckily we gave them complete access to campus, so there was no stone left unturned. They were able to access individuals who were part of the 2015 protests, they accessed administrators, students, staff, and they really uncovered quite a few things, and for that, we’re a better university, so that’s, “Speaking Truth and Acting with Integrity” was the name of the first report, and quite honestly, they rated us as having low capacity to deal with issues as it relates to, you know, racism, insensitivity, and so on, and it said we had low capacity, so we’re excited that the new report that just came out a couple of weeks ago, the 2020 report, has moved us from having a low capacity to solidly moderate. If all of you are as competitive as I am, we know that the m in MU does not stand for moderate. You know, it stands for magnificent. It stands for us moving forward, so that will be our rallying call for the next couple of years to say we’re moving forward. We’re no longer going to be moderate, we’re going to move forward, and as we talked about throughout this entire morning, there have been many things going on throughout campus that shows that we truly are attempting to move forward, but I do know this: that for all of our accomplishments, for all the things we’ve done that have been great, if you don’t be feel that change, then it appears that the change is not happening, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that each individual, each stakeholder feels the change, and that’s going to go towards some of our immediate action steps, so move to the next slide, please. What we are going to do now immediately is launch the Bias Hotline. Inya Baiye spoke about that earlier, and that’s going to come online for the fall, actually before the fall semester begins and really, we’re really excited about that, and I’ll tell you why. We are, we’re going to have an opportunity to report in real time incidents of bias that happens on the campus. We know that individuals typically steer some of those complaints to Title IX Office of Civil Rights, but what we’re saying as a university is that we’re committed to action right as it happens, and the Bias Hotline will help us identify the areas that we need to work on immediately.
We also are going to institute mandatory cultural competency training and bystander and civil discourse training. You know, those are going to be, again, key elements in changing the campus climate, as well as the campus culture. And what we’re saying here is that we want to make sure that no one who interacts on this campus says that, well, I didn’t know. We’re going to give you the tools necessary to say that okay, I understand what it means to be culturally competent. I understand that, you know, I have opinions and you have opinions, so we can we can agree to disagree and also we can agree to let one another exchange our ideas and our opinions and hopefully come to an understanding at the end of the day. That’s going to be a critical, critical piece of transforming this culture that we talked about. These next two pieces, honestly, are what I am most eager to see to see happen on this campus. Oftentimes, we know as frontline workers, we witness behavior that is not true to our University of Missouri values, our core values. However, we always feel that somebody else will take care of it, somebody else will notice it. What we’re saying moving forward is that it’s everyone’s responsibility, it’s incumbent on each and every one of us to change the culture on this campus, and if you see acts of discrimination, acts of bias, we are asking you to stand up and say something about it. Make sure you let a supervisor know, and empowering supervisors to handle and correct that behavior as it happens. We are not going to allow instances to continue to just, to roll and roll and rise up. We want people on the frontlines to feel empowered and to have the support. You have the support of the President Chancellor, you have the Provost’s support, you have the Vice Chancellor’s support and so on and so forth, and do know, and I’ve said this in all of my time at Mizzou, this full day, that I’m empowering the staff of IDE, you know, from everyone from the clerk or the administrative assistant who sees you, all the way up to the Assistant and Associate Vice Chancellors. Everyone has a responsibility, and if we work collectively, if we begin to send the message that no one on this campus is going to tolerate acts of discrimination and bias, slowly but surely, we begin to change, change the culture on this campus, so we’re going to hold people accountable for their actions, and I think there’s no better way to say that: accountability. We’re going to hold people accountable for their actions.
Some other pieces we’re going to do, again, to make you feel as if that, you know, we’re truly invested in change is make sure that we continue to update our use of force policies with campus police, make sure that all officers from, again, from the Chief all the way down to the officers who walk the beat on campus, that they practice deescalation strategies. The President and a few of us have met with the Chief and we talked about, you know, officers being the professionals, so we know that, you know, and people don’t like to to, well, I’ll say it in this way: I certainly don’t like to get tickets. I’m typically doing something to get a ticket, but I don’t like to get one anyway. And the behavior of officers should always be at a professionalism. They are the trained professionals, they’re trained in deescalation techniques, so we’re going to hold them accountable to utilize their their professional training, but we also want to say to to our university community and our stakeholders, remember that they are here for our safety. They’re here to protect and serve. We’re going to hold anyone accountable who falls outside of those tenants, but we want to also make sure that we continue to cooperate and work with them, work with them as partners. The next item that we want to, we’re gonna do, introduce immediately is putting signs around campus, physical signs, physical reminders that we, you know, that one, we don’t tolerate discrimination and bias, but two, that we are truly committed to diversity and inclusion, and we want to make sure that wherever you go any place on campus, that you see these physical reminders that shows you that we are continuously going to be committed and that we will not tolerate discriminatory behavior. And last but certainly not least, and this is something that I know that came somewhat out of all this Title IX and civil rights, as we talked about investigating those instances of discriminatory behavior, and sometimes we, the lack of evidence makes it difficult for us to hold offenders accountable. So we want to make sure that all of our safety equipment that we modernize it so that we can catch these acts, and we’re able to hold those offenders accountable appropriately, so that is another key part, again, of changing this culture on campus. So, you know, as we get, you know, as we prepare to hand it over for questions, turn it back over to President Choi, President Interim Chancellor Choi, I, you know, I want to say this commitment as the new Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, I am here for you. I am here for the Mizzou community. I’m here for our stakeholders. We want to make sure that everyone who interacts with this campus or on this campus feels that they are a part of it and that they matter, and that we value you. The President Chancellor has committed to me that he will give us, you know, all the resources we need to make sure that happens and that he fully supports our vision and mission to make sure everyone wants to come to the University of Missouri. President Choi?
MUN CHOI: Thank you. Thank you very much, Vice Chancellor Gipson. I’m going to now turn it over to Miss Christine Holt, who will serve as the moderator for questions. And, you know, the presentation took longer than we expected, but there were so many good items to share, and so we are going to extend the time for this town hall question and answer so that we can accommodate your questions, so Christine.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you, thank you President Choi. I agree. What a wealth of information that we just learned about. A lot of great things that are happening. Still some work to do, but great things are happening. Just as a reminder, if you do have questions, we ask that you submit your questions, and you can do so in the forum. We do have some questions, and the first question goes to, I believe the last shall be first, and Vice Chancellor Gipson, we’re going to send this first question to you. And the question actually comes from a staff member. What are your thoughts about internal tolerance within our institution? Do we seek understanding and acceptance or just tolerance?
MAURICE GIPSON: So that’s an excellent question, and thank you, Christine, and I’ll make sure when I moderate I return the favor at some point in the near future, but that’s an excellent question, and I’ll be quite honest with you. You know, as a university, we have to move beyond tolerance. You know, if you think about it, tolerance is just the act of saying, you know, you’re here, I know you have to be here, I’m not going to engage with you, but I’m also not going to, you know, behave in a discriminatory way, so essentially just acquiesce to your presence being here. We don’t want people to just be present on this campus. We want you to be engaged. We want you to interact with one another. Again, you don’t, you know, we, there’s no expectation that the people who are part of this community have to be best friends, but be collegial, and intolerance is not a part of collegiality. So I think if there are issues within various departments, divisions, offices where colleagues feel as if they’re tolerating one another, I think that’s a problem, and we’re not going to move towards this environment of inclusivity if individuals are just tolerating one another. My suggestion to this individual is that first, we understand what is the issue? What are the issues that make someone want to only tolerate their colleagues, right? So getting to the root of those issues. And then once we figure out what those issues are, start looking at ways to solve those problems, and this may, you know, my first suggestion is to do this on a colleague to a colleague basis, but if you feel as if that the subject matter or the conversation is more difficult than peer to peer, I would encourage you to bring in a supervisor and let that person serve as a mediator, because again, you know, as we begin to break down barriers and break down silos, we begin to find out that we have much more in common than differences, and if we begin to understand those nuances, I think it creates an environment of acceptance, because we are not going to progress and move forward, as we talked earlier, with just tolerance as the way. It’s a great question, though.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you, Vice Chancellor Gipson. The next question, actually, is about our students, so I’ll direct this question to Vice Provost Stackman, or Vice Chancellor Stackman, and the question is this: we’ve talked a lot about the programs and strategies that we have in place to enhance our campus culture and campus climate. The students are still facing microaggressions and harm. So as a student, if you’re experiencing something like that, what should you do?
BILL STACKMAN: Thank you so much. Great question, and I think Maurice touched on some of this in his remarks, but I would say the first thing is you’ve got to tell somebody. Let the university know of your experience, what happened. So then we can act accordingly. There is going to be a Bias Hotline. There’s going to be training for our staff so we know, and we’re doing a better job to act on what is happening, but I would say definitely tell somebody. I would say you can go to the Dean of Students Office to start with. We have an Office of Accountability. We will point you in the right direction. It could be that it is for Title IX and Civil Rights Office to take action on, but you’ve got to tell somebody, and then we will take it, and from there, one, to make sure that it’s reported, but the other thing I want to make sure that the person is cared for. You know, that you are, you may need additional counseling, you might want to talk to somebody else in addition to this being reported and handled administratively. My question would be how else can we care for you? How has that act impacted your academics? How has it impacted your sense of well being? And one of the other ways that we can do to ensure that you’re feeling good while while you’re here?
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you. This next question is for Provost Ramchand. Provost Ramchand, you talked about the COACHE results, and it appears to be apparent that some of our faculty or faculty of color are not feeling included and welcomed and a sense of belonging. So what steps are you taking to ensure that all of our faculty feel welcome and included on campus?
LATHA RAMCHAND: Good, good question and thank you, Christine. Yes, the COACHE survey helps us get a pulse on not just metrics, but also the climate, and it is clear that we have a lot of work to do. So what are we doing about it? I would say there’s a couple of things we’re doing. As many of you know, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers several workshops that help us better understand how to deal with things like microaggression. How do we learn to create an environment where we not just, as the earlier question alluded to, not just tolerate, but respect each other for our differences, so there are programs in place. What we are trying to do now is to make sure that these programs become a part of your annual performance on campus. In other words, it is not enough if we just do research, teaching and service, but as part of our efforts towards continuous improvement, I enrolled in a class that teaches me this every year, as does every dean, every department chair, every faculty member. So making these programs a required part of what we do on campus is going to be one step. The second thing we need to do is to also make sure that our students, that we engage with our students in an inclusive environment, our teaching is inclusive. If we know how to teach inclusion, then we obviously know how to live inclusion, so requiring every major on campus to have a class, a course where our students learn to respect each other, I think that is another good step in the right direction. Finally, I want to add that this has to be an initiative that we all own collectively. While we have a Title IX Office, while we can improve our video surveillance on campus, the biggest challenge we have right now is people not speaking up when they notice an act or an action of microaggression. Empowering people to speak up, giving everyone a voice and allowing ourselves to be part of the solution, not just the problem. So, we want people to speak up. We want your solutions to address these problems so that we can all go into this and make progress in the right direction.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you, Provost Ramchand. President Choi, this next question is for you. So, does the decision not to remove the Jefferson statue, does that negate our commitment to inclusive excellence?
MUN CHOI: The decision to have the Jefferson statue remain was a difficult one for me to make. I did hear the concerns from many members of our community. In the end, I made a decision, recognizing that it’s also very important for us to learn from history and to contextualize it, and Jefferson, as many people know, was instrumental in the founding of this country, but also instrumental in founding of this state, as well as this university. And we also recognize that he was a slaveholder, that he had relationships with Sally Hemings, and so after making my decision, I decided to establish a task force, which will be announced in the coming weeks, of faculty, staff, students and external members, with a large population of historians on that task force, to help us contextualize Thomas Jefferson so that we get to understand his complex legacy to this country, as well as to our university.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you, President Choi. This next question is for Bill Stackman. Bill, it’s from a student, and what is the University of Missouri doing to make non-white alumni think fondly of the higher education experience here at MU?
BILL STACKMAN: I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?
CHRISTINE HOLT: Absolutely, I’ll be glad to. What is the University of Missouri doing to make non-white alumni think fondly of the higher education experience?
BILL STACKMAN: I think it’s acting on everything we have been saying. You know, I think that we have really invested in making sure that we are a diverse and inclusive and welcoming campus, and I think it’s modeling this commitment and acting on our pledge, and so I hope that, you know, if we are here next year and if people can continue to see our efforts that we’ve made and the strides we’ve made toward this important goal.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you. Provost Ramchand, this next question is for you. One of the student demands of 2015 was to have a required racial awareness and inclusion curriculum in place for all campus constituents, and since this seems to be only at the institutional level, what is being done across the institution, something of substance, to embed an inclusive curriculum across the entire university, and is it beyond just citizenship at Mizzou?
LATHA RAMCHAND: That was a great question, and thank you, Christine. As I alluded to in my earlier response to the earlier question, we have citizenship at Mizzou, but we also need for a course that speaks to respect for all to be integrated into a curriculum. No matter what your major is, every student at Mizzou needs to leave and graduate with a better understanding of this notion of respect for all, so I have asked our deans to work with their curriculum committees within every college to make sure that every student, every major, when you come to Mizzou and you graduate with a major, no matter what your major is, you would have had some course that speaks to this notion of respect for all, perhaps contextualized in your environment. So for instance, a business school student could have this as part of their curriculum with a context of business. How does bias get played out in the world of business and what can you do to prevent that? Similarly, someone in the School of Medicine might have a different context. So if we can do that in the coming year, I think we will, that will make all of us better off, and that is the goal.
CHIRSTINE HOLT: Great, thank you. Yes.
MUN CHOI: And if I may add.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Absolutely.
MUN CHOI: In addition to that, as part of the action items, the courses on the training and cultural competency, as well as having civil dialogue is going to be so important, and the aggressions that we hear occur for international students who come to this university or students from rural parts of Missouri, and for us, we need to be inclusive of everyone, and that’s key, and what we see in society these days is differing sides speaking in very elevated voices, instead of trying to listen to the other perspective. And in terms of that word tolerance, yes, tolerance is not sufficient. We need to get to empathy, understanding and recognizing the value of each individual, and that’s going to be a process, but we’re going to start that journey immediately.
MUN CHOI: Thank you, thank you President. Just as a reminder, if you do have questions, you can submit them in today’s forum, and we will address the questions for you. This next question is for Provost Ramchand and also for President Choi. You have touted the increase in hiring faculty of color. One dean who has led that has recently been released of her duties, and you recently denied tenure for a faculty of color. How can we be sure that you are committed and that we will not continue to lose ground on the front of making significant strides related to diversity, equity and inclusion?
MUN CHOI: Sure. Yes, please, Provost Ramchand.
LATHA RAMCHAND: Thank you. So our commitment to diversity and inclusion is independent of people. In other words, our commitment is strong and growing and we’re having honest conversations about this on so many different levels. Those positions that you alluded to Christine, and I’m glad you brought them up, they do not have any relationship to the discussion we’re having today. Personnel matters are not discussed, but I can assure you that our commitment to diversity was not in any way reduced by those actions. President Choi?
MUN CHOI: Yes, thank you very much, and on the issue of tenure and promotion, as well as performance by all of us, there is accountability, and this is a university that values excellence, and we’re going to be increasing the standards each year as we achieve that excellence, and it’s very important for department chairs, deans, provosts and the Chancellor to communicate very effectively what is required for tenure and promotion, and it’s excellence in teaching, inspired teaching, as well as extraordinary creative activities and research, as well as scholarship.
INYA BAIYE: If I could just quickly add to the question about our further commitment to diversifying the faculty, the Office of the Provost had an initial investment of around 600,000 to $800,000 in the FIEF program, the Faculty Inclusive Excellence Fund, which has funded over 100 faculty from underrepresented minority backgrounds, and that investment was recently increased to over a million dollars. So my office and the Office of the Provost continue to work hand in hand on specific measures to diversify faculty, but of course, there’s more work that needs to be done as we consider retaining faculty, and more work to be done on the department level and at the college level and creating an environment that is inclusive and that is also attractive to bring in new, underrepresented minority faculty. Thank you.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you, Inya, for that addition, and just so that you know, given that we have quite a bit of interest, we will continue for another 15 minutes or so. This next question is for Dr. Davis. Dr. Davis, how are we able to see inclusion within the diversity stats that you mentioned earlier at the beginning of the presentation, specifically analyzing how the campus climate survey is portrayed in the diversity report? While we may have an increase in representation, are these individuals feeling accepted and included on campus?
NATASHUA DAVIS: I think that’s a great question. Some of the things that we’re looking at. I think the report, the second report does a good job in talking about this in relationship to looking at, you know, kind of how different individuals experience the campus. And so as we see, we mentioned so many programs and initiatives and things that are going on within our university, and for those students that are able to, you know, kind of participate within those and take advantage of those and find community within those, they’re experiencing the campus differently than those who may not. And so we really have to think about what it is that we’re doing kind of in terms of a breadth, as well as depth within these initiatives that we have. So we’re seeing a lot of breadth that’s happening with the different departments and the different initiatives that are happening across, but we also have to look at it in terms of depth as well too. What are some of the things that we’re doing that we need to do to that specifically that are going to be ingrained into the structure of our campus to be able to help to fill gaps that may be there, fill levels of inequities that may be there and things that we need to kind of produce in that respect? And so I think as we’re looking at, you know, making sure that as Vice Chancellor Gipson mentioned, making sure that that it’s not only seen, but people are feeling the difference in the change in the culture and all of that. It goes with that depth and that understanding of some of the structural things that we also need to be addressing as well to help support our students, our faculty and staff within this process.
MAURICE GIPSON: Christine, can I add really quickly to what Dr. Davis has just mentioned?
CHRISTINE HOLT: Absolutely.
MAURICE GIPSON: So, you know, excellent, Dr. Davis, and you and I have talked about this idea of having consistent experiences across all entry points. We talked about how, if you come in the university at one point, your experience can be fundamentally different if you come in at a different point, and that’s just, it’s not acceptable. You know, we can’t be uneven in how we implement our initiatives and what our priorities are. We have to make sure that no matter where you enter on this campus, just as if you’re coming off one road, you see the University of Missouri sign, almost on each access point, you see that same sign, so it’s important to have that for all of our colleges, departments and offices, no matter where you’re coming in, you’re gonna have a consistent experience, and that means that we have to do more due diligence to make sure that each office is upholding these ideas of diversity, inclusion and equity, so just wanted to make sure we added that we’re looking at ways to make sure experiences are consistent.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Great, thank you. So far, we have two more questions, and this is a part two, perhaps, to what we were just talking about, so I’ll ask Dr. Davis and Inya, perhaps others who might want to respond to this question. What are we doing to partner with the state’s high schools, particularly in our urban centers, to foster quality pre-university education, and to attract students to attend our UM campuses, particularly MU. Are we partnering with technical secondary educational institutions to help prepare MU students for technical occupations?
NATASHUA DAVIS: I definitely appreciate that question, and that is something that we’re looking to grow. It’s an area that we need to grow in, and an area that we need to connect in, absolutely. We do some significant work with our local high school here in Colombia, through a program that we call MOCHA WOCHA Scholars Academy, and that is a tremendous program in terms of really helping to support our students that are rising sophomores and support them in their process of really attaining AP and honors classes and putting them on college ready tracks, and so we help support them throughout their summer academy that they have here by doing career exploration, by doing a wealth of information in terms of what that process looks like in the preparation for them now, even as rising sophomores and putting them on campus, which is significant for a high school student. A lot of times, getting them on a college campus locks them into that college campus. They have an affinity and a love for that campus, just because of what they’ve experienced as high school students. So that is a tremendous program that we have and we’re looking to continue those relationships and grow that as well too, and then we continue to work with those students throughout the academic year through our MOCHA WOCHA program, which is our minimum of, excuse me, our Men of Courage, Honor and Ambition and Women of Courage, Honor and Ambition. So we’re looking at those things as well, and then we’re also really trying to figure out too what are some touch points that we need to kind of develop in the way of grants and initiatives that are happening, and so we’re having these broader conversations around how can we partner very intentionally with other entities of education and post secondary education to be able to create those opportunities around some of the things that you just mentioned, and so that’s a big part of what we’re doing as well, too. We’re looking at a few programs that may be able to connect us with community colleges and things like that to increase that pipeline. Another initiative that we have, and that has been on our college campus for quite some time, but we’ve kind of pivoted it a little bit is our Emerging Leaders Program, and that program actually filters through the entire state of Missouri, but we really have some target points in terms of the Boot Hill, Kansas City and St. Louis, and that program was designed to be really a civic engagement program. We’ve worked with the Missouri Black Caucus and black legislators to be able to provide that kind of understanding of, you know, kind of civic engagement and all of that. But what we did recently, we also expanded that to be an access program as well too. Again, we have anywhere between 50 to 80 of those high school students on our college campus. There’s no way that we’re not going to expose them to everything that is Mizzou, and so we’ve been integrating that within to that program as well too, and really have turned that into also a college access program, and we don’t just talk about Mizzou. We talk about just college access in general, because, in terms of fit, we want to make sure that our students that we’re working with have a good fit in their next step, and if it’s Mizzou, then that’s wonderful, but we also want to make sure that they’re understanding what other opportunities that are out there and available for them as well too. So those are some of the initiatives that we have, but we’re thinking along those lines, and really helping to establish partnerships and collaboration that will develop, again, those very intentional pipelines to the university as much as possible.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you, Dr. Davis. We have time for one more question. And again, going based on the premise the last shall be first, Dr. Gipson, you get the last question. We’ve talked a lot about faculty, we’ve talked a lot about students. What is your goal and your vision for diversifying our staff?
MAURICE GIPSON: Thank you again, Christine. So, that’s an excellent question, and it always happens this way. You know, we spend a lot of time on faculty and students and rightfully so, right? You know, we understand that those issues typically surface are more visible than some of the staff issues but I want to say this, I am equally committed to issues that our staff face, and one thing I talked about a couple of weeks ago, particularly with human resources, so Patty, we talked about the need to make sure we are, that we have diverse staff members in our mid-manager and management roles. We do, you know, we do a decent job making sure we have diversity, you know, amongst our staff, but in those increasing leadership roles, we don’t have as much diversity. And one thing I’ve shared with HR and want to work with HR on is developing a leadership pipeline program where when these positions become vacant, we have a cadre of individuals who have gone through this intensive training modules who will have an opportunity, right? So we’re not saying that you’re gonna obviously automatically get into an increased supervisory role, but some hiring managers will know you’ve been through this leadership program, you’ve essentially been vetted by campus leadership and that you’re prepared to take the next step. I’ve talked to countless staff members who have said, you know, I, you know, I’m nervous to apply, you know, I never get, you know, I never get the opportunity, so on and so forth, and what we want to do is make sure that that is not the posture people are taking, that they know if they apply that they’re going to, they’re going to be one, they’re going to be actually, you know, looked at, right, so that they’re gonna have an opportunity, and two that they’re welcome to apply for these mid-jobs. So that’s one area I want to focus on in the very near future is creating this leadership development program because again, I think there’s so much as, you know, we talk about not having people in that role. We also want to show individuals what it means to be in leadership. That’s an increased responsibility, right? It’s an increased expectation. Some of, you know, it’s not all all glitz and glamor, you know, proverbially, and I’m not suggesting people think that, but what I’m saying is that this program will let you know if in fact you do want to be, you know, in a leadership role or, if that’s not necessarily the role for you, but you will have the opportunity to participate and get, you know, get access to to campus leadership, and there are other components to it, but that’s the number one area I want to focus on in the immediate future, so excellent question, Christine.
CHRISTINE HOLT: Thank you. And thank you to all of our panelists for your great work and your commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity. We thank you to all of you who joined in today for our discussion and for asking really good questions. We will post today’s presentation and follow up information on the Chancellor’s webpage very soon. This does conclude our forum for today, but it does not conclude our commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity. We will continue to have an ongoing dialogue throughout the year, and it seems appropriate to me to close with two quotes as reminders, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the quotes simply reminds us, it takes time for systemic and longstanding change, and we are all responsible, both individually and collectively, as we heard from our panelists today, to make the change that we desire. The quotes are simply this: “We shall overcome, “because the arc of the moral universe is long, “but it bends towards justice.” Thank you. I saw Maurice also chiming in. And the second quote is this: “Make a career of humanity. “Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. “You’ll make a better person of yourself, “a greater nation of our country, “and a finer world in which to live.” I will ask Provost Ramchand to have concluding remarks.
LATHA RAMCHAND: Thank you, Christine, and thank you for those inspiring quotes. I want to thank all our panelists, and every one of you who participated. You know, the events this past summer and over the last three months have been horrendous in so many different ways, and we need to communicate, we need to talk to each other. We have a lot of work to do, but with your commitment and support, we can get there, but the important thing is we need to keep those lines of communication open as, and I wanted to also share a quote that I really like from Martin Luther King, Jr., which is, “People fail to get along “because they fear each other. “They fear each other because they don’t know each other. “They don’t know each other “because they have not communicated.” So let’s keep those communication lines open and know that we’re here to serve you, and thank you all for participating.