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Faculty Allies for Diversity in Graduate Education

In partnership with the Rackham Graduate School, each graduate program is asked to identify at least one faculty member who has shown a commitment to diversity issues and agrees to serve as a part of the Faculty Allies for Diversity in Graduate Education. The Faculty Allies for Diversity is a group of faculty members who work within their programs in collaboration with Rackham’s diversity initiatives on recruitment, admissions, climate, retention, and completion issues. Thus, the Faculty Allies play important leadership roles in their programs and, as a collective, move forward our broader university mission around promoting diversity and excellence.

A primary goal is for Faculty Allies to work collaboratively with their department leadership and other colleagues to identify the diversity issues most relevant in their programs and to plan action steps to address them. Another related goal is for Faculty Allies to serve as one of the “go to” persons on diversity issues in graduate education in their programs, including serving as a resource to their program’s graduate students. That said, while the Ally is an important point-person within her/his department, it is not the intent that the Ally should be solely responsible for “doing all of the diversity” within her/his program. The responsibility for enhancing diversity should be held by all program and university members. But, Allies play critical roles as support and coordinating forces – for instance, they can raise awareness, as well as help lead planning and connecting of diversity activities in their programs.

As the diversity issues and concerns in programs may vary, so do the activities best suited to address them in each Ally’s program. While there is no one set of specific standing responsibilities for all Allies, examples of Ally roles and activities include:

  • Leading and coordinating Diversity Committees in their programs, often made up of faculty, students, and staff
  • Working as a direct support to students, serving as a formal or informal advisor around academic, professional, and/or personal issues in a safe, confidential context
  • Collaborating with student organizations to gather information about program community members’ experiences and concerns
  • Working directly with program leadership to raise awareness, share concerns, and advise around diversity issues
  • Collaborating with various program members—program leadership, faculty, students, staff, and/or alumni—to develop diversity-related activities and innovations related to recruitment, admissions, creating a high quality, inclusive climate, and retention and completion
  • Participating in educational/professional workshops related to effective diversity practices (in recruitment, admissions, teaching and mentoring, etc.); sharing information learned and encouraging participation among faculty colleagues and other program community members
  • Working (often in collaboration with colleagues) to develop a Diversity Grant proposal to support new ideas for enhancing diversity

Furthermore, Rackham offers opportunities to all of the Faculty Allies to help support their respective work, including:

  • Invitations to special meetings and events on campus related to diversity issues, including sharing of useful and effective practices
  • Faculty Allies communication on current and topical issues
  • Invitation to attend Rackham Program Review meetings for their programs
  • Opportunity to apply for the Rackham Faculty Allies Diversity Grant for up to $12,000 per year on behalf of their graduate program

Rackham deans and staff work collaboratively with Allies to keep them informed of diversity-related research, resources, and activities in Rackham and around campus; and we continue to draw on them for good ideas and advice that can be shared across programs. Finally, while much of Allies’ efforts/activities occur within their program communities, another goal is that Faculty Allies will function as a leadership group and learning community, connecting with and drawing on one another for information, ideas and strategies, and support. The names and affiliations of the 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

Directory of Faculty Allies