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Campuswide diversity action plan approved

May 1, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Acting at its April 28 meeting Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees accepted a Diversity and Multiculturalism Action Plan that has been in development for two years.

The plan, known as DMAP, was presented to the board by Dr. Martha Warfield, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of the presidential initiative on diversity, who has led the campuswide effort to develop the plan. The development effort was initiated by WMU President Judith I. Bailey in her February 2004 State of the University Address.

"On behalf of the entire DMAP committee, I want to thank Dr. Bailey who had the vision to determine the need for Western to build a diverse and inclusive community," Warfield told the board during her presentation. "Our focus on a plan for diversity on our campus comes at a time when unrest is being experienced on college campuses across the nation."

The plan was developed around six general goals and includes recommendations for achieving each goal, as well as a time line for implementation and accountability for the next five years, giving direction for the work outlined to achieve the general goals.

The goals driving specific actions outlined in the plan are:

To develop and maintain a shared and inclusive understanding of diversity, multiculturalism, institutional bias and affirmative action through training and education at every level of the institution.

To recommend an institutional infrastructure that dismantles institutional bias and recognizes, supports and sustains the efforts of this diversity and multiculturalism initiative at all levels of the institution.

To create a welcoming and inclusive university environment (climate) that includes ongoing training, curriculum reform and research incentives.

To recruit, retain, and graduate a diverse student body and promote a diverse workforce at all levels.

To enhance curricular, co-curricular, research, service, artistic and study abroad activities as a means to fully engage the university community in an affirming diverse and multicultural learning environment.

To develop and maintain consistent accountability measures in order to accurately assess progress toward institutionalizing diversity and multiculturalism at all levels.

Concurrent with development of the plan, Warfield noted, were several accomplishments on campus that are part of the recommendations outlined in the plan. They include the opening of an active Multicultural Center in the Trimpe Building and establishment of a series of faculty and staff discussions groups that have developed a campus diversity programming plan. They also planned participation next month of 100 staff and faculty in a half-day introductory diversity program designed to also provide an opportunity for interested individuals to obtain advanced training to continue in the coming years.

WMU also has been host to the annual statewide Equity in the Classroom Conference, and next month, will send a delegation of faculty, staff and students to the 19th Annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education.

In a related action and to make all University policy consistent with the new campuswide plan, trustees passed a non-discrimination policy to replace WMU's existing human rights statement and instructed the administration to "make appropriate changes to other University policies, statements, contracts and practices as applicable in order to be consistent with this non-discrimination policy."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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