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Rackham Faculty Allies and Student Allies Diversity Grants

2024–25 Call for Proposals

Application Opens: November 15, 2023
Submission Deadline: March 4, 2024

Rackham Graduate School supports faculty-led efforts to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion in graduate programs and departments through the Faculty Allies for Diversity initiative. The Faculty Allies Diversity Grant offers up to $8,000 to Faculty Allies on behalf of their programs for activities, events, and programming to help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion among graduate students. In addition, the Student Ally Supplemental Grant provides $5,000 to support students who assist with Faculty Ally work.

Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant

The Faculty Allies Diversity Grant provides Faculty Allies with funds to organize and host activities, events, and programming that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion among graduate students within their departments. The purpose of this financial support is to improve DEI at the program level in meaningful ways. 

In order to calibrate proposed activities with their program’s current DEI challenges or concerns, we urge Faculty Allies to engage their graduate students and colleagues in discussions about the needs of the program in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This grant is an opportunity to experiment with new and innovative activities, events, and initiatives that foster diversity and address the concerns of increasingly diverse graduate student cohorts. Proposals that seek to improve the following areas of the graduate student experience are especially welcome: climate; retention and completion; academic and professional development; career outcomes; and alumni engagement.

Grant Guidelines

Any graduate program at the University of Michigan that has designated a Rackham Faculty Ally may apply for the Faculty Allies Diversity Grant.

The grant application must be submitted by the program’s Faculty Ally. Since programs often rotate Faculty Allies as a service position, it is generally useful to name on the application a second faculty member who is serving in a longer-term leadership role (director of graduate studies or chair), as well as the department chief administrator.

Grants are for specific activities, events, or programming; they are not meant to serve as an open-ended fund for ad hoc graduate student needs.

Faculty Allies applying for the Faculty Ally Diversity Grant may request a Student Ally Supplemental Grant to support one or more Student Allies who will collaborate with the Faculty Ally in planning, hosting, or executing the activities proposed in the Faculty Ally Diversity Grant. Student Ally Grants may be used to support students in the spring/summer or during the academic year, depending on the specific projects.

Grants cannot be used to pay faculty or staff salaries and benefits, or U-M tuition or fees.

Rackham Graduate School reimburses the actual spent costs of authorized activities, events, and/or initiatives at the conclusion of the project. In other words, all grant funds are disbursed at the end of the grant period. To receive funds, Faculty Allies must submit a report on the grant activities that details expenditures, includes a basic budget reconciliation, and explains the progress toward DEI goals laid out in the original proposal. 

Evaluation Criteria

  • Fit between the graduate program’s DEI needs and the proposed activities, events, programming
  • Likelihood that the proposed innovations will make a significant, lasting difference to students in the graduate program
  • Number of students impacted
  • Demonstrated commitment of the faculty, program, and department leadership to the proposal, including willingness to share costs and to create structures to support the proposed initiatives beyond the period of the grant


Application Procedures 

Proposals are due on March 4, 2024, by 1:00 p.m., and must be submitted through the online application portal.


Please address the following issues as prompted by the online application portal: 

  • Current status of DEI climate and work: What are the DEI issues that are currently front of mind for your program? What work has already been done?
  • Proposed activities: What activities, events, programming are you applying for a Faculty Allies Grant to support?
  • Gaps or challenges around DEI in your program: How are the proposed activities designed to meet particular DEI challenges in your program?
  • Student Ally Supplemental Grant: If you are seeking funds to support one or more Student Allies as collaborators in executing the Faculty Allies Diversity Grant, please explain how they will contribute to the activities proposed, including the specific work, time commitment, and estimated timeframe for the project.
  • Evidence of commitment: What ways will your faculty, leadership, and department contribute to supporting DEI efforts in your program and the activities for which you are seeking Rackham funding?

Budget (One Page)

Please use the budget table provided to list the proposed activities (i.e., invited speaker, summer writing workshop, career panel) and provide a cost break-down (i.e., activity, number of students involved).

If you are applying for a Student Ally Supplemental Grant, please include the student work as a budget line item.

Be sure to include a total budget amount up to a maximum of $8,000, or $13,000 if you are requesting Student Ally support.

Letter of Support (One Page)

Please provide a letter of commitment from the department chair, director, or dean with responsibility for the graduate program.

If you are applying for a Student Ally Supplemental Grant, please provide a letter of support from the student’s advisor or graduate program director.

Award Notifications

Awardees will be notified in April 2024.

2024–25 Call for Proposals

Proposals are due on March 4, 2024, at 1:00 p.m., and must be submitted through the online application portal. Award notifications will be sent out in April 2024.

2023–24 Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant Awardees

Asterisks indicate a recipient of an additional Student Allies for Diversity Grant.

  • Patrick Barry, Law School*
  • Kevin Cokley, Psychology*
  • Jessie DeGrado, Middle East Studies*
  • Tom Duda, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Mara Duncan, Cell and Developmental Biology*
  • Robert Duncan, Neuroscience*
  • Megan Ewing, Germanic Languages and Literatures*
  • Christine Freeman-Basmajian, Immunology*
  • Maisie Gholson, Educational Studies*
  • Ben Hansen, Statistics
  • Jordan Horowitz, Biophysics
  • Irene Hwang, Architecture*
  • Sean Johnson, Astronomy and Astrophysics*
  • Charlotte Karem Albrecht, Women’s and Gender Studies*
  • Yasmina Laouar, Microbiology and Immunology
  • Mike Liemohn, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering*
  • Jayakrishnan Nandakumar, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology*
  • Alison Narayan, Chemical Biology*
  • David Nordsletten, Biomedical Engineering
  • Se-Mi Oh, Asian Languages and Cultures*
  • Rushika Patel, School of Nursing*
  • Kelly Reynolds, Dermatology
  • Amy Schulz, Health Behavior and Health Education*
  • Laura Scott, Biostatistics
  • Elizabeth Speliotes, Medical Scientist Training Program*
  • Serife Tol, Mechanical Engineering
  • Deborah Watkins, Environmental Health Sciences*
  • Brian Weeks, Communication and Media*
  • Chase Weidmann, Biological Chemistry*
  • Jason Young, History*

Contact the Dean’s Office

If you would like to become a faculty ally or have questions about the grant program, please email us at [email protected].


The Dean’s Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The office is closed Saturdays and Sundays and on the following holidays: Thanksgiving (Thursday and the following Friday), Christmas through New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), and Labor Day.