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Rackham DEI GSSA Program

The Rackham Graduate School announces the availability of funding to support graduate student involvement in the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and excellence in graduate education within the various schools and colleges at the University of Michigan (U-M). For the fourth consecutive year, the Rackham Graduate School, in collaboration with the U-M Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), will be offering an opportunity for schools and colleges to advance the objectives of their own DEI strategic plans through the employment of six (6) DEI Graduate Student Staff Assistants (GSSAs).

Applications Open: May 21, 2020. Proposals Due: June 22, 2020

Program Description

The Rackham DEI GSSA Program is an opportunity to hire a GSSA to support programmatic activities associated with your school or college’s DEI strategic plan for one (1) academic year (e.g., a fall semester appointment with possible renewal during the winter semester).

As part of the appointment, schools and colleges will facilitate their GSSA’s participation in at least two DEI professional development experiences (i.e., workshops, trainings, seminars, etc.) per semester. These professional development opportunities are available through Rackham as well as other campus units. However, integrating the Rackham Professional Development DEI Certificate Program as a way to meet this requirement is highly encouraged.

The selected GSSA should have a demonstrated commitment to DEI issues and a professional and academic interest in the goals of DEI within higher education.

The proposed GSSA work plan must be related to achieving the objectives and actions outlined in the school or college’s DEI strategic plan, and:


  1. fulfill a degree requirement or
  2. is otherwise considered academically relevant by the department or degree program in which the degree is being pursued (see GEO contract, Article I, Section B.6).

    In addition, schools and colleges receiving funding will complete a year-end evaluation assessing the impact made on the DEI strategic plan as a result of the GSSA’s work.

    Funding & Eligibility

    Funding is competitive and is provided for only one (1) academic year (e.g., a fall semester appointment with possible renewal during the winter semester). Total funds currently secured will support up to six (6) 0.50 FTE GSSAs during the 2020-2021 academic year.

    All schools and colleges, except Rackham, are eligible to submit a proposal.

    Proposal Evaluation Criteria

    Proposals submitted for the competition will be evaluated by the selection committee according to the following criteria:

    • Need: the strength of connection between the unit’s DEI needs, as articulated in the school or college’s DEI strategic plan, and DEI GSSA’s work plan;
    • Impact: the probability that the proposed DEI GSSA’s work plan will make a significant, lasting impact within the school, college, and beyond;
    • Attainability: the likelihood that the DEI GSSA can meet the proposed goals and expectations within the limits of a 0.50 FTE (50%) appointment, particularly during this time of disruption;
    • Alignment: the degree to which the proposed project aligns with the definition of a GSSA as defined in Article I, Section B.6, of the GEO contract;
    • Support: the quality of the plan for broadly advertising the position, selecting and hiring the candidate, regular supervision, and supporting the professional development and growth of the proposed DEI GSSA during the appointment (see DEI GSL Task Force Report); and,
    • Sustainability: the merits of the plan for sustaining the efforts initiated through the work of the DEI GSSA within the school or college beyond the term of the appointment.

    Proposal Submission

    Schools and colleges are invited to submit a three (3) page funding proposal (approximately one 100-word paragraph per criterion) as a PDF file to [email protected].

    In addition to the sections delineated above, proposals should include a title heading which contains:

    • Name of school or college submitting the proposal
    • Name and contact information of the primary contact person within the school or college

    Submission should also include a one (1) page draft job description for the proposed DEI GSSA position with details for how the opportunity will be broadly advertised.

    Program Timeline

    The submission, selection, and evaluation of the 2020-2021 Rackham DEI GSSA competition will proceed according to the following timeline:

    • Competition Opens: May 21, 2020
    • Proposal Submissions Close: June 22, 2020
    • Award Selections Announced: Week of July 4, 2020
    • DEI GSSA Hiring Process Completed: End of August 2020
    • DEI GSSA Appointments Begin: September 1, 2020
    • Year-End Report Due: May 2021