A University of Wisconsin ad hoc committee released a preliminary draft of a new campus diversity plan Wednesday, outlining a variety of new campus goals with an emphasis on access and accountability.
The draft outlines a variety of measures for recommendations, emphasizing accountability for the university to develop programs and policies related to diversity and building an inclusive community.
The Ad Hoc Diversity Planning Committee began preparation for the new diversity plan began in November 2012 and is now reaching its final stages before its adoption this summer.
The draft sets a framework to increase access to the university and its resources and to create an inclusive campus environment that ensures individuals in the community feel valued and supported.
Additionally, the draft includes recommendations for promoting practices that recognize diversity as a source of creative and innovative teaching and learning and emphasizes the importance of maintaining the Wisconsin Idea.
The draft highlighted the 2008 Diversity Plan, which it said was intended to draw diversity into every aspect of campus by increasing the number of students of targeted diversity groups in the UW System, increasing financial aid availability and increasing accountability.
The draft said an evaluation of the 2008 plan showed progress toward achieving the goals, most markedly in the area of increasing the number of students of targeted diversity groups in the UW System.
Ryan Adserias, committee co-chair, said it was necessary to return to and address previous diversity plans.
“I would not say that there are problems with the older plans, they’ve just expired. Diversity is something that is constantly changing and universities should not look at it once in a great while,” he said. “Diversity plans should be frequently revisited.”
The new draft will serve as a framework for the upcoming conversations between UW administrators and shared governance committees, Adserias said.
He also said it is important to bring the preliminary draft to small groups first to ensure that the broad points are refined and corrected. Once this is done, he said, the draft will be brought to the larger university and Madison community.
“This draft has a lot of things in it that have not been refined yet,” Adserias said. “By mid-March we plan to release a polished draft that will be available to the general public.”
The preliminary draft was disseminated to UW administrators and members of shared governance committees and is meant to spark conversation and recommendations from these individuals and groups, Adserias said.
The draft features example recommendations that may or may not appear in the sequential drafts of the diversity plans, Adserias said. The recommendations are designed to encourage UW administrators and shared governance committees to submit more recommendations that may be included in future drafts, he said.
“Every time you add more people to a situation, the more complicated it becomes to get to the essence of what folks are really asking for and what they are saying is really important,” Adserias said. “Before adding 40,000 student voices as well as faculty, staff, and the Madison community into the mix. We’re hoping to get a lot of the broader point refinements to happen now.”