School of Applied Sciences
School of Applied Sciences
Five-Year Equity-in-Action Plan
MESSAGE FROM DEAN GRANDJEAN
The School of Applied Sciences is a place for everyone to flourish. We respect the dignity of every person. We recognize the diverse cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, talents and skills of our people. We acknowledge that our organization is much stronger because of the aggregate intellectual capital, the energy, performance and productivity that comes from a diverse and inclusive environment. Diversity creates unmatched educational experiences. Inclusion fosters understanding, compassion, innovation and interdisciplinary community engagement. It is for these reasons that the School of Applied Sciences, her departments, institute, degree programs and centers are committed to nurturing a healthy environment for everyone and enriching all we do with diversity, equity and inclusion.
I am dedicated to encouraging and inspiring a culture of inclusion and respect for all. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has developed a plan and prepared the way for deliberate organizational improvement in how we respect, honor and serve each other. Ours is an ongoing commitment and a continuous process. I am excited about our journey together!
An overarching goal in the School of Applied Sciences is to “Enrich everything we do with diversity, equity and inclusion.” Diversity creates unmatched educational experiences. Inclusion fosters understanding, compassion, innovation and interdisciplinary community engagement. Together we affirm our respect for the dignity of every person. We recognize the diverse cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, talents and skills of our people. We acknowledge that our organization is much stronger because of the aggregate intellectual capital, the energy, performance and productivity that comes from a diverse and inclusive environment. It is for these reasons that the School of Applied Sciences, its departments, institute, degree programs and centers are committed to nurturing a healthy environment where everyone has access and opportunity to flourish. We pledge deliberate organizational improvement in how we respect, honor and serve one another. Ours is an ongoing commitment and a continuous process. Let us do this for each other. Let us do this together.
We are dedicated to developing, encouraging and inspiring a diverse culture of inclusion and respect for all.
All will be welcome, will belong and will flourish.
PATHWAYS TO EQUITY: University of Mississippi Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
The University of Mississippi continues its commitment to excellence and making a positive difference in society through higher education. Pathways to Equity stands as our institutional guidepost for addressing and advancing our institutional mission through centering on diversity, equity and inclusion. Our complex institutional history coupled with our rich culture of students, faculty and staff striving for inclusive change has led us to the solidification of this institutional plan. Pathways to Equity works in concert with the university’s strategic plan to leverage university-wide, college/school-level and departmental transformative initiatives that cultivate a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus.
With Pathways to Equity, the University of Mississippi aspires to achieve the following statements by the conclusion of this plan.
- The University of Mississippi consistently and comprehensively articulates diversity, equity and inclusion as essential in fulfilling the mission, vision and values of the institution.
- The University of Mississippi is organizationally and culturally equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to continue advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
- A campus climate is fostered that ensures all individuals are valued, supported and feel a sense of belonging at the University of Mississippi.
- The University of Mississippi has decreases in disparities across underrepresented groups in the enrollment, retention and graduation rate at undergraduate and graduate levels.
- The number of underrepresented groups employed at the University of Mississippi is increased to reflect a talented and diverse workforce at all organizational levels, especially tenure-track faculty, managerial positions and executive leadership positions.
The development of this plan requires us to address individual, social, organizational and systemic factors that create and sustain inequities that prevent all members of our community from fully participating and thriving. We view this as central to the mission of the University of Mississippi. As we embark on this journey together, we must commit to the following shared principles:
- Equity-mindedness – We embrace the institutional responsibility and agency to actively address the challenges and disparate outcomes at all levels of our community. This requires us to be data informed and connect best and promising practices to generate high-impact change for underserved groups in our community.
- Institutional Accountability – We must ensure efforts outlined throughout Pathways to Equity are acknowledged in the established systems of recognition, performance and accountability. It is vital that we work to account for the advancement of these goals in our ideas of success, merit and reward. Further, we must account for, honor and recognize faculty, staff, administrators and students in their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Transparency – In our execution of Pathways to Equity, our success is predicated on a highly accessible and collaborative process that actively involves university stakeholders to work as virtuous partners. To that end, we will consistently, publicly and broadly share our intended actions, goals and measurable impacts of this plan.
- Innovation – Actualizing diversity, equity and inclusion will require us to deeply examine and rethink our policies, practices and procedures at the University of Mississippi. Each unit and individual across campus is invited to offer new thoughts, ideas and perspectives as we thoughtfully consider ways to make our institution more equitable and inclusive through an intersectional lens. This disposition will create a community of learning, growth and development as we collectively engage in this complex work.
- Alignment of Critical Resources – During this planning process, we have navigated a global health pandemic that has shown the vulnerabilities in our systems that disparately affect underserved and underresourced communities. As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, we must not falter in our commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community. Instead, we must recognize that our commitment to equity is even more important today than ever.
The following goals represent the University of Mississippi’s commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). These overarching goals represent interconnected priorities that are applicable to UM broadly, from our comprehensive divisions, down to individual teams. We aim to have all units see meaningful alignment of these goals with their work. We will ensure UM embraces the transformative nature of diversity, equity and inclusion across all levels of the institution, addressing challenges to DEI at every corner of our institution by combining contextual understanding with internal and external expertise.
- Advance Institutional Capacity for Equity
Infrastructure, Information, Systems, Education and Processes
- Cultivate a Diverse and Equitable Community
Recruiting, Retaining, Advancing and Succeeding
- Foster an Inclusive Campus Climate
Support, Value and Belonging
SCHOOL OF APPLIED SCIENCES’ FIVE-YEAR EQUITY-IN-ACTION PLAN
Our primary organizational function is to provide relevant, formal education so that all learners are inspired and equipped to advance their profession, serve others and improve the human condition through discovery, ingenuity, hard work and compassion. We are dedicated to developing, encouraging and inspiring a culture of access, inclusion and respect for all so that all of us may achieve our career and life goals.
The action statements for diversity, equity and inclusion in the School of Applied Sciences are organized according to the overarching goals described in the University’s Pathways to Equity plan. Together, we will: I. Advance Institutional Capacity for Equity (Infrastructure, Information, Systems, Education and Process); II. Cultivate a Diverse and Equitable Community (Recruiting, Retaining, Advancing and Succeeding); and III. Foster an Inclusive Campus Climate (Support, Value and Belonging). Our strategic activities and the more specific action statements are designed as a framework for units and programs within the School of Applied Sciences to develop specific objective statements. The Dean’s Office will partner with our specific departments, units across the University of Mississippi, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and external organizations to provide resources for facilitating this plan.
I. Advance Institutional Capacity for Equity
(Infrastructure, Information, Systems, Education and Process)
Strategic Activity 1 – Develop infrastructure and information systems
- The School of Applied Sciences will organize and support a permanent standing committee on diversity, equity and inclusion. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will be composed of faculty, staff and students from across the School of Applied Sciences. The committee will be charged with establishing our mission, vision and values; consulting with and advising the dean; assuring faculty and staff searches comply with our core values, policies and procedures for fair, open and equitable hiring processes; coordinating and marketing annual training opportunities for personal and professional growth; recognizing faculty, staff and student excellence in DEI engagement; and developing and maintaining a schoolwide scorecard to annually assess our environment.,,
- The School of Applied Sciences will support and strengthen a standing Administrative Support Network. The Administrative Support Network will meet regularly throughout the year to promote and facilitate ongoing professional development opportunities, job-specific training, skill acquisition, soft-skill enrichment, leadership development, comradery, a sense of community and team building.
- The School of Applied Sciences will support and develop a Research and Community Engagement Office. The RCEO will communicate internal and external funding opportunities; provide resources for building research capacity and abilities (e.g., workshops, trainings, grant-writing seminars, etc.); offer statistical support and consulting; assist with pre-award proposal development and post-award activities; and serve as a liaison to our university’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
- The School of Applied Sciences, in partnership with Student Housing, will develop a “Health & Human Sciences” Living and Learning Community. Our learning community is designed to promote a greater sense of belonging among our students. Students from all undergraduate degree programs within the School of Applied Sciences will undergo our co-curricular programming, and for participation in our recruiting activities, they will be eligible for reduced room-and-board expenses (see Action Statement 5 under Strategic Activity 6).
Strategic Activity 1 – Key Performance Indicators
- Establishment of the School of Applied Sciences DEI Committee and summary report of DEI activities
- Establishment of the School of Applied Sciences Administrative Support Network and summary report of network activities
- Identification and description of continued development of the RCEO
- RCEO webpage buildout and maintenance
- Development and implementation of School of Applied Sciences Health & Human Sciences Living and Learning Community
Dean’s Office, department chairs, DEI Committee leadership, Academic Advising Network, RCEO, academic advisers
Strategic Activity 2 – Develop education and process
- Develop and implement a one-semester credit hour iStudy course, “SAS 101 – Discovering Careers in Applied Sciences” to introduce students to the applied sciences and to resources available at the University of Mississippi for personal development, professional development, autonomy, personal agency, citizenship, team building, service and volunteerism.
- Promote the development of course objectives to study, consider and discuss diverse perspectives and experiences; apparent and real disparities between groups; existing commonalities; solutions to mitigate disparities and reduce barriers to access; and resources that promote health, tranquility and the pursuit of happiness for all.
- Promote the development of courses and curriculum that include cross-cultural and/or global engagement, interdisciplinary experiences and problem solving, group discussions and projects that recognize differences and disparities, and emphasize our common values of respect, honor and service to one another.
Strategic Activity 2 – Key Performance Indicators
- Identification of courses with value-added elements and a listing of these elements in curriculum maps
- Development and implementation of SAS 101 course
Department chairs, program directors, faculty, Curriculum Committee
II. Cultivate a Diverse and Equitable Community
(Recruiting, Retaining, Advancing and Succeeding)
Strategic Activity 3 – Develop a systematic approach to inspire, encourage and recruit faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds
- Include K-12 and community college students – with attention to those in underserved communities across our state – in community engagement projects, in part, for inspiring, informing and encouraging careers in the academy.
- Encourage our faculty and students to present discipline/topic-specific work to students in K-12 settings and community colleges – with attention to those in underserved communities across our state.
- Develop professional relationships by inviting graduate students from HBCUs and other sister institutions to present scholarly work and engage faculty and students on our campus.
- Create scholarship-focused student exchange opportunities (e.g., research- and community-engaged projects) with HBCUs, other domestic and international institutions of higher education.
- Review and systematically update hiring policies and procedures to ensure we comply with mission and goals of diversity, equity and inclusion plans of the IHL, university and our school.
- Ensure search committee structure is diverse and that all members have undergone appropriate search committee training prior to initiating faculty and staff searches.
- Advertise broadly in academic outlets, outlets that target the discipline and those that are designed for diverse groups.
- Active recruiting practices should be expected from all search committee members including active online searches for qualified potential applicants, personal emails and phone calls.
- Require job applicants to describe how and why their values, commitment, dedication and experiences align with university, school and department commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Strategic Activity 3 – Key Performance Indicators
- Number of projects, community members involved in community engagement work
- Number of events and presentations to K-12 schools, community colleges, community organizations, etc.
- Number of events in collaboration with HBCUs
- Documentation of changes and updates made to school’s hiring policies and procedures
- Search committee summary memos to department chairs for candidate on-campus visits
- Job applicants’ written and oral communication and committee records of interactions indicating applicant commitment to DEI
Dean, recruitment coordinator, Dean’s Office liaison with ConnectU and hiring process, DEI Committee, department chairs, search committee chairs, center directors, program directors, faculty
Strategic Activity 4 – Create opportunities to promote personal and professional success and advancement
- Develop and implement departmental mentoring plans for instructors, tenure-track and
newly hired faculty and administrative staff. Plans should address introduction and
familiarization with policies and procedures, training and resources for teaching,
pedagogy, research, community engagement, creative work, committee service, job- specific training and skill development.
- Develop and implement mentor-mentee dinners and/or social events to discuss issues
regarding tenure and promotion and to promote information exchange and collegiality
across the School of Applied Sciences.
- Promote and facilitate ongoing professional development opportunities, including job-specific training, skill acquisition, soft-skill enrichment, leadership development and team building (see Action Statement 2 under Strategic Activity 1).
- Develop and maintain a consistent organizational approach to celebrating significant life events, professional awards, personal achievements and recognition within departments and across our school.
- Identify resources and increase awareness of resources within the university and in our
community to support health, wellness and well-being.
- Promote and encourage faculty engagement in our university’s Diversity Awards and Incentives programs and Excellence in Community Engagement Awards.
- Promote and encourage faculty from underrepresented groups to participate in the
Provost Scholars Program (Pathways to Equity Plan, pg. 20, IV).
Strategic Activity 4 – Key Performance Indicators
- Mentoring plans on record
- Documentation of mentor events for new faculty
- Documentation of training events for administrative support network
- Plan for communication outlets that celebrate SAS community
- List and communication links with health, wellness resources
- Documentation of promotional materials and evidence from websites that promote faculty engagement with DEI at the university level
Dean, department chairs, DEI Committee
Strategic Activity 5 – Develop a systematic approach to inspire, encourage and recruit students from diverse backgrounds
- Establish a recruitment coordinator to manage faculty, staff, students and academic
advisers in our recruiting strategic plan. The recruitment coordinator will develop and
implement strategies to achieve goals for growth and diversity in undergraduate and
graduate students in the School of Applied Sciences.
- Develop recruitment strategies with departments, degree program coordinators, graduate office of student success and other entities across campus to coordinate marketing plans, off-campus site visits, on-campus recruiting events, communications with school districts and community colleges across the region.
- Develop an annual recruitment events calendar for the School of Applied Sciences.
- Coordinate schoolwide recruitment strategies with retention and success efforts (see section II. D below).
- Endeavor to include undergraduate and graduate students in every community
engagement activity with opportunities for our students to mentor students in K-12 and
- Include K-12 and community college students in community engagement projects, in
part, for inspiring, career paths that align with our degree programs.
Strategic Activity 5 – Key Performance Indicators
- Documentation of and updates to annual strategic recruitment plan for the school
- Development of recruitment calendar for school, plan for regular updates and availability
- Documentation of and updates to departmental and program-specific annual strategic recruitment plans
- List and descriptions of ways in which we include our current students in recruitment of prospective students, while maintaining focus on academics (incorporating ways to enhance professional development of students as they help us recruit)
- Evidence of communications and relationships with community leaders
- Number of projects and number of students (UM’s and K-12 and/or community college students) within each project
- Description of how students are involved with our projects
- Description of mentoring activities within each project
Dean, Dean’s Office, recruitment director, department chairs, program directors, GOSS director, marketing & communications director, project directors/principal investigators, faculty
Strategic Activity 6 – Strengthen our efforts to facilitate student success and advancement
- Develop an academic advising model that facilitates personal and professional development, assisting students to align their worldviews, lifetime and career goals with their academic experiences.
- Improve awareness of student resources across campus for tutoring, personal development, social support, health and well-being, substance abuse, financial support, etc.
- Develop and implement an evidence-based approach to identify at-risk students and to connect at-risk students with individually appropriate resources for tutoring, personal development, social support, health and well-being, substance abuse, financial support.
- Establish a bridge grant program within the School of Applied Sciences to assist students in need with room and board, books, Study USA, study abroad (global engagement), exchange programs.
- Establish “Health & Human Sciences” co-curricular programming to facilitate inclusiveness, personal development, professional development, autonomy, personal agency, citizenship, team building, service and volunteerism (see Action Statement 4 under Strategic Activity 1).
- Expand our Applied Sciences Student Ambassador programming to include more students and more involvement with mentoring, “Health & Human Sciences” co-curricular programming and student recruitment.
- Promote and encourage students to participate in the Provost Scholars Program.
- Create an alumni mentoring network to assist students with personal and professional development.
- Create student mentoring groups at multiple levels (e.g., peer mentoring between students within the same degree program; graduate and undergraduate mentoring between students in similar programs; interdisciplinary student groups to address grand challenges ).
Strategic Activity 6 – Key Performance Indicators
- Development of advising handbook to include mission, vision, values; policies and procedures; trainings and professional development; co-curricular programming; events calendar for co-curricular events; ambassador charge and programming
- Development of advising metrics to monitor and track advising efficacy and student satisfaction
- Development and updates in website with student resources
- Documentation of bridge grant program, funding determinations and algorithms, policies and process
- Create and increase bridge grant funding
- Description of the alumni mentoring and peer mentoring networks, coordinated activities, and measures of utilization and outcomes
- Means of ongoing communication between alumni and current students and between students/student groups (e.g., social media, program-specific events, co-curricular programming, etc.)
Dean, Dean’s Office, recruitment director, department chairs, Academic Advising Network
III. Foster an Inclusive Campus Climate
(Support, Value and Belonging)
Strategic Activity 7 – Promote an environment of inclusiveness and sense of belonging 
- Encourage at least one informal get-together for all departmental faculty and staff per year.
- Develop awareness and encourage faculty, staff and student engagement in cultural,
ethnic and interest organizations and networks.
- All faculty and staff in the School of Applied Sciences will endeavor to participate in at least one Diversity Education Training Workshop – excluding search committee training – per year. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to seek opportunities to participate in trainings outside of the university.
- Encourage students to participate in activities and programming offered by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (e.g., Bonner Program, GivePulse Community Engagement Platform) and the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement (e.g., UM Connect, Allies Training, the iTeam, Multicultural Resource Library).
- Increase awareness and strengthen incentives for students to participate in student organizations such as the Columns Society, Student Leadership and Engagement Ambassador Program, Orientation Leader, Associated Student Body (ASB), Black Student Union, etc.).
- Promote and incentivize student participation in “Health & Human Sciences” co-curricular programming (group meetings, discussions, dinners, retreats, etc.) (see Action Statement 5 under Strategic Activity 6).
- Develop opportunities for intergroup events and social interactions for students and student groups within the School of Applied Sciences as part of “Health & Human Sciences” co-curricular programming (see Action Statement 5 under Strategic Activity 6).
- Create student organizations and/or enhance student engagement in professional, programmatic and departmental student organizations.
Strategic Activity 7 – Key Performance Indicators
- Evidence of communications and relationships within departments, institutes and the School of Applied Sciences
- Listing of engagement, involvement by individual students
- Listing, membership and activities of student organizations
- Number, description of student professional organizations, activities and measures of utilization and outcomes
Dean, department chairs, program directors, Applied Sciences Academic Advisor Network
Strategic Activity 8 – Promote inclusive decision making and accountability
- Include an open, transparent, iterative process for decision making on schoolwide policies and procedures, with input and consideration from the Dean’s Office, Leadership Council, all faculty, all staff, Administrative Support Network and the DEI Committee.
- Establish a DEI scorecard to assess attitudes, behaviors, perceptions about our school’s environment (schoolwide climate). The scorecard will survey faculty, staff and students annually. Relevant findings will inform stakeholders of focus areas, strategies and practices to improve and strengthen our efforts to respect, honor and serve one another.
Strategic Activity 8 – Key Performance Indicators
- Description and messaging of decision-making processes for policies and procedures in the School of Applied Sciences
- Establishment of a Strategic Management Committee to measure strategic progress and develop annual reports
- Establishment of a DEI Strategic Management Committee to measure progress and develop annual reports
Dean, department chairs, Strategic Management Committee, DEI Committee
Assessment and Response
The DEI Committee will assess progress toward and/or fulfillment of each action statement outlined in this plan annually. Metrics will be determined from specific objective statements created by units and programs within the school. The DEI Committee will collect information from the responsible parties and, together with the DEI scorecard results, will create an annual report. Relevant findings will inform stakeholders of focus areas, strategies and practices to improve and strengthen our efforts to respect, honor and serve one another.
 Bensimon, E.M., Dowd, A.C., Witham, K. (2016). Five principles for enacting equity by design. Diversity and Democracy, The Equity Imperative. Winter 2016, Volume 19, No. 1.
 Benchmarking Analysis: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committees. Hanover Research Report, October 2020
 Higher Education Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Toolkit. Hanover Research Report, October 2020
 Best Practices in Diversity, Inclusion and Employee Engagement. Hanover Research Report, 2019
 Grand Challenges are defined as multidisciplinary approaches to solving key issues facing Mississippi and our nation. The School of Applied Sciences is focusing on four key challenges: 1) Strengthening and expanding services for children and young people with speech and language deficits; 2) Reviving our hospitality and tourism industry; 3) Evidence-based policing, and reform; 4) Improving mental health and wellness in Mississippians.
 Best Practices Analysis: Creating a Sense of Belonging for All Students. Hanover Research Report, November 2020