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Home » Rackham Life » Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion » Faculty Allies for Diversity in Graduate Education

Faculty Allies for Diversity in Graduate Education

Through the Faculty Allies for Diversity initiative, Rackham Graduate School promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion within graduate programs across the University of Michigan campus. Rackham expects every department that trains graduate students to identify at least one faculty member as a Faculty Ally, who will lead efforts to strengthen DEI for graduate students and serve as the point person(s) for diversity matters in their program. As a group, Rackham Faculty Allies for Diversity partner with the graduate school to improve recruitment, admissions, climate, retention, and student success in relation to DEI. Faculty Allies play a crucial leadership role in their programs and, as a collective, advance our broader university mission to pursue diversity and excellence.

The Rackham Faculty Allies initiative provides two key forms of support for Faculty Allies and their graduate programs. First, it convenes a workshop series (with two sessions each semester) in which Faculty Allies explore—together with Rackham experts—topics such as how race structures the academy, unconscious bias, inequity in program practices and pedagogy, and strategies for dialogue across difference.

Second, the Rackham Faculty Allies initiative gives grants of up to $10,000 per year for Faculty Allies to organize and host activities, events, or programming that improve diversity, equity, and inclusion among the graduate students in their department.

There is no single set of responsibilities for the Faculty Ally role. It can include the following:

  • working with program leadership to raise awareness, share concerns, and advise around diversity issues;
  • providing direct support to students, serving as a formal or informal advisor around academic, professional, and/or personal issues in a safe, understanding context;
  • leading and/or coordinating with diversity committees in their programs, often made up of faculty, students, and staff;
  • collaborating with student organizations to gather information about program community members’ experiences and concerns;
  • collaborating with various program members—program leadership, faculty, students, staff, and/or alumni—to develop diversity-related activities and innovations related to recruitment; admissions; retention and completion; and creating a high quality, inclusive climate;
  • working (often in collaboration with colleagues) to develop a Faculty Allies for Diversity Grant proposal to support new ideas for enhancing diversity.

Although Faculty Allies necessarily focus their energy on their program communities, Rackham views Faculty Allies as DEI leaders at U-M and seeks to foster community among the Faculty Allies across campus. In this respect, Rackham assumes that Faculty Allies will make every effort to participate in Faculty Ally workshops to learn about effective diversity practices, as well as to exchange information, ideas, and strategies for their DEI work. The names and affiliations of the current Rackham Faculty Allies for Diversity are listed below.

To learn more about the Faculty Allies program, including becoming an Ally or nominating an Ally for your program, please contact rackfacultyallies@umich.edu.

Directory of Faculty Allies