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Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Spring 2012


This past February, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion invited campus units to apply for grants of up to $15,000 for diversity and inclusion initiatives. The ODI wished to encourage and support new pilot projects that addressed aspects of the University of Maryland's Strategic Plan for Diversity, Transforming Maryland: Expectations for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion.

Funding was intended to be applied towards specific program-based costs. Projects with the potential for ongoing or sustained impact would be favored over one-time speaker-focused events. Units/organizations were strongly encouraged to consider collaborative projects that involved partnership with other campus units and/or with communities the University served, e.g. Prince George's County.

Any "unit" of the University of Maryland, College Park campus could apply or any group of students, staff, and/or faculty, as long as they had a university account or the support of a recognized unit for the proper administration of funds.

The ODI received 42 applications for funding from a wide variety of campus units. Proposals were considered by a nine-member review committee and, after two rounds of evaluation, eleven pilot projects were selected for funding. A complete list of pilot projects appears below. Click on the title for a full description of the project:

A Learning Community to Improve Teaching and Learning of Diversity and Inclusion in Undergraduate Studies

Community Mural Project

Diverse Leaders for a Diverse Community

Inclusive Language Campaign

Maryland Ascent Program

Preparing URM Students at Universities at Shady Grove for Graduate Studies

Reducing the Achievement Gap Among Diverse Students

Simultaneous Translation Equipment

Soaring Achievers

Spectrum: A Conversation about Media and LGBT Identity

Student Success Project


A Learning Community to Improve Teaching and Learning of Diversity and Inclusion in Undergraduate Studies
Center for Teaching Excellence
Program Coordinator: Spencer Benson

The Center for Teaching Excellence will pilot a diversity and inclusion learning community (DI-LC) that will focus on addressing how to incorporate diversity and inclusion in undergraduate courses. A learning community of six faculty and four graduate teaching assistant will spend the 2011-12 AY identifying best practices and studying challenges and successes encountered in designing and implementing diversity and inclusion components in undergraduate curriculums. Envisioned projects include; the development of survey to measure the effects of diversity and inclusion pedagogical changes in courses, a campus wide work-shop organized on diversity and inclusion in undergraduate courses, presentations at campus and regional teaching and learning meetings and development of a resources archive to help faculty integrate diversity and inclusion into their courses. A call for faculty and graduate applications will occur in summer 2012, please check the CTE website.

Community Mural Project
Office of Community Relations, Division of Administrative Affairs
University of Maryland Art Gallery
Leadership and Community Service Learning (Stamp Union)
Northwestern Connections (Stamp Union)
Good Neighbor Day Planning Committee
Program Coordinators: Gloria Aparicio Blackwell and Shane Bryan

The Community Mural Project is envisioned as an ongoing community arts project with the goals of building community across difference, breaking down the perceived Route 1 "town-gown" divide, and creating mentorship and arts education opportunities for Prince George's County youth. We will work with local high school students to create a mural that "tells the story" of College Park, to decorate the Route 1 underpass entry to campus.

Diverse Leaders for a Diverse Community
College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program
Rawlings Undergraduate Leadership Fellows, School of Public Policy
Program Coordinators: Dr. Nina Harris and Jennifer Littlefield

The Maryland School of Public Policy (MSPP) will strengthen its undergraduate leadership development programs in several ways. Current staff will be trained in implementing curricula that exposes students to the challenges and skills needed to lead in a multicultural world. This will increase faculty and staff capacity to educate students about diversity issues and to develop inclusive learning environments.

A weekly, one-hour colloquium experience will develop students' awareness of diverse challenges and ideals of leadership and citizenship in a multicultural society and will include a series of multicultural speakers that are leaders in their fields. Students will develop community action projects that expose them to the challenges of our own diverse community of Prince George's county.

These projects will serve to increase the number of community partnerships and the quality of engagement with our diverse external community, thereby enhancing the overall diversity of the public service workforce.

Inclusive Language Campaign
Department of Resident Life
Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy Office (MICA)
Program Coordinators: Amy Martin and Judy Martinez

This year, the Department of Resident Life and the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office are partnering to create a comprehensive, multi-layered, inclusive language campaign that engages all students. Our students frequently express feeling unwelcomed and uncomfortable on campus, and in the residence halls, because of the derogatory language used by their peers. This type of language impacts many students based on their class, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability status, sex, and gender identity.

Our goals for this campaign are to:
Help students understand that their words have power and impact others' sense of belonging on campus.
Provide students with helpful strategies and teach them to engage others about language in a way that creates "aha moments".
Help our students understand the impact, origin, and context of words.
Create a student-driven process via focus groups and surveys, so that students can express the power of language in their own words.

Maryland Ascent Program
Maryland Ascent Program, Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Program Coordinators: Shannon Gundy and Derrick Davis

The Maryland Ascent Program (MAP) creates prolonged and sustained interaction with 50 high school seniors (and their school counselors) from Baltimore City and County. Participants, called Ascent Fellows, will receive information, motivation, and practical assistance in the college application process from professional staff and student volunteers from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Admissions Office staff have found that many of these students struggle with college application and, consequently, those who may be competitive for admission choose not to apply to Maryland. MAP will cultivate a relationship with the University and will provide the practical support necessary to remedy this. Also, MAP will channel Fellows and their counselors towards pre-existing University programs and resources designed to heighten their success.

The program includes an Overview Seminar, a Back to School Night, and workshops on Essays and Resumes, and the Application. A Conference and an informational Breakfast are offered for counselors.

Preparing URM Students at Universities at Shady Grove for Graduate Studies
The Graduate School
The Universities at Shady Grove
Program Coordinator: Dr. Charles Caramello

The Graduate School (GS) will provide undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students at Universities at Shady Grove (USG) with the knowledge and tools needed to recognize the benefits of graduate education, identify appropriate graduate schools and graduate programs, apply successfully for admission and financial support, and succeed in graduate studies once enrolled (it will use the same plan to prepare USG masters students for doctoral study). If successful at USG, the program will be expanded to include other USM institutions.
Building on the Graduate School's expertise in graduate URM recruitment, retention, and student success initiatives, this program will serve local student communities that otherwise might not receive detailed guidance regarding graduate education. GS Postdoctoral Research Associate for Diversity Initiatives, Dr. Shaun Myers, will administer the program, and GS McNair Graduate Fellows will lead its workshops and colloquia.

Reducing the Achievement Gap Among Diverse Students
Academic Achievement Programs, Office of Undergraduate Studies
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Program Coordinators: Dr. Jerry L. Lewis and Dr. Kim Nickerson

The project proposes a novel approach to increasing retention and reducing the achievement gap by exposing students who are typically able to only access the SSS/IED program the first two years to the unique Lectures and Workshops Series with guest speakers consisting of UM faculty and outside experts, focusing on career exploration, graduate school connectivity, research opportunities and assistance with navigating the academic culture to promote greater students engagement and academic excellence in their respective programs. An innovative twist will be targeting some non SSS/IED sophomores and juniors with potential for graduate school in BSOS; partnering to offer eligible students specialized mentoring, guidance and instructive academic interventions on a weekly basis as potential McNair participants and or successful graduates.

Simultaneous Translation Equipment
Work/Life Initiative Committee, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Program Coordinator: Laura Tan
Many employees within the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) are non-native English speakers. The primary objective for obtaining simultaneous translation equipment is to make access to information easier for those for whom English is a second language. Additionally, part of what we are targeting is healthcare issues because of concerns over healthcare literacy and disparities for our staff members for whom English is a second language. Our long term objective would be to enable our departments to more easily provide translation services for those in the division of student affairs for whom English is a second language by making this equipment available University-wide.

Soaring Achievers
Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education
Program Coordinators: Dr. Christopher Lester and Dr. Shaunna Payne Gold

This project will invite all incoming fall 2012 Black and Latino males to enroll in five sections of UNIV 100 during their first semester. The course is designed to facilitate students' transition to the campus through an introduction to the academic environment (including campus resources), assistance with skills development, and appreciation of cultural diversity. The curriculum will also emphasize building a strong sense of self, purpose and developing coping strategies in the midst of challenging race, gender, and intellectual interactions. The UNIV 100 sections and ongoing support through OMSE should improve the current 6-year graduation rate of 64.5% for Black Males and 73.1% for Hispanic males. The UNIV 100 sections will provide an opportunity for OMSE to monitor and support the participants during the crucial first semester of their academic journey as well as establish a relationship to facilitate retention.

Spectrum: A Conversation about Media and LGBT Identity
Merrill Graduate Student Association, Philip Merrill College of Journalism College Park Scholars
Program Coordinators: Kimberly Davis and Ben Parks

Contemporary issues of sexual identity permeate the ever-changing social landscape. In this environment, the media plays an increasingly important role - from reporting on the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell to bringing to light stories of bullying of gay or perceived-gay teens and college students. Indeed, the role of journalism in covering these stories helps society to understand these issues and to gain a fuller picture of the LGBT community. Against this backdrop, LGBT journalists often play a dual role.

This program will bring together LGBT journalists, UMD faculty and students to engage the campus community in a conversation. Leading up to this conversation, some of our panelists will provide training and mentoring to undergraduate and master's students.

Student Success Project
Student Success Project, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Program Coordinator: Tony Randall

The Student Success Project seeks to increase retention and graduation rates of African American male students through a two-prong approach (virtual and student centered) designed to promote a student culture centered in academic achievement and professional success. Monies received through the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Grant will be used solely to support the development of a virtual community for African American males at the University of Maryland. The virtual community will consist of a website, Facebook page, Tumblr page, a Twitter account, and a redesigned e-newsletter. Each of these platforms has been intentionally developed to interact and engage students through the use of student driven content and material, such as student profiles, interviews, blogs, an event calendar and reporting of campus events. All of which are intended to uniquely recognize the academic achievements of African American male students and the organizations that are promoting their success throughout the University.

Review Committee

Kumea Shorter-Gooden (Chair), Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice-President; James Bond, Assistant Director, Office of Student Conduct; Alex Breiding, graduate student; Carol Corneilse, Program Coordinator, Office of Diversity & Inclusion; Rosemary Parker, Director, Center for Minorities in Engineering; Mahlon Straszheim, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs; Cynthia Trombly Allen, Director of Human Resources, University Relations; Mindy Wu, undergraduate student; Ruth Zambrana, Director, Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity.