I created the UMass Lowell Council on Social Justice & Inclusion to ensure the great work we’ve undertaken and the plans we’ve implemented serve as the foundation for our ongoing efforts to strengthen a culture of diversity and inclusion at UMass Lowell.
Two new task forces, one on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and one on Gender and Sex-based Discrimination Prevention will build upon the great work and recommendations of our Sexual Harassment Task Force and the 2020 Strategic Plan subcommittees that focused on Students of Color and International Students and Global Engagement and Inclusive Culture.
Each new task force is charged with the development of an action plan and aggressive timelines that are only possible thanks to the work already completed by our friends and colleagues. Their collective membership will comprise the Council, which will serve as a strategic and coordinating body for this essential institutional priority.
It’s also important to emphasize that UMass Lowell has not been waiting to implement changes or process improvements when we identify a need. Among the changes we’ve already made include:
- The promotion of Clara Reynolds to associate vice chancellor for Equal Opportunity & Outreach, Diversity & Inclusion with a direct reporting line to Human Resources and a dotted line to me to further elevate diversity and inclusion issues and concerns to the executive level.
- The development of a statement of UMass Lowell values. I am interested in your feedback and suggestions on how to improve this statement. Please send any comments to email@example.com.
- The scheduling of education and information sessions and the development of educational courses and workshops for faculty and staff on university non-discrimination, Title IX reporting, prevention and investigation policies and procedures, and fostering a diverse and inclusive campus culture.
- The reorganization of the Office of Multicultural Affairs to better support academic success, including a three-day on-boarding program for multicultural, first generation and international students.
- Developing a partnership with the Washington, D.C. College Access Program Foundation to bring high-achieving D.C. students to UMass Lowell. Our first cohort of 19 had a 100% retention rate and we just welcomed our second cohort of 20 this fall.
- Establishing the LBGTQ Student Center in University Crossing.
UMass Lowell is successful because we have leadership and a commitment to equality and diversity at all levels of the university. No culture is static and with the creation of this council and the work of the task forces, I know will continue to improve the campus climate.