*A note on language: There are ongoing conversations regarding how we talk about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. There are questions about which terms to include, the appropriate order, and whether an acronym should be used at all. After many discussions with our deans and their graduate school diversity officers, we heard overwhelming support for two acronyms: JEDI and HUGS (historically underrepresented graduate scholars). In addition, we heard concerns about using the term “challenge” and opted for growth opportunities. So, for now, we plan to use the terminology defined below. However, we will continue to listen as conversations shift and thinking evolves and remain committed to following your guidance.
The Council of Graduate Schools is excited to launch a new initiative, Growth Opportunities for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, or GO-JEDI. Our goal is to encourage and champion CGS member commitments to improving justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion for historically underrepresented graduate scholars.
Prioritizing JEDI excellence may seem a daunting task – where to start, what to prioritize, how to find resources and support – so to help address those questions, we have identified themes for each quarter and suggested goals for each theme that are outlined below. We do not expect that schools will successfully complete their goals within the short timeframe, but rather that you will use them as a starting point to begin reassessment, new initiatives and/or programming, etc. For example, if you choose to begin a workshop series, we understand that full execution of this in a few months is not realistic, but we hope to see you are making progress towards this goal. We do, however, expect that the work you undertake will allow you to deeply engage and move toward true transformation.
As you work towards fulfilling these growth opportunities, we would like to hear about your progress. We will share these updates with the CGS membership, and, with your permission, through CGS social media channels and our website.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please let us know if you have other suggestions. This is a community effort, and to be successful we must listen to and learn from one other.
Building a Culture for JEDI Excellence
- Equity / Inclusion Steering Committee: Does your graduate school have a committee dedicated exclusively to promote JEDI excellence? Begin the process of establishing one, or revisit who is on the committee and consider changes, such as including students and external stakeholders.
- Revisit / Revise Commitment to Diversity Statement: Identify ways you are and are not fulfilling the commitments made.
- Conversation Series: Identify resources from Barbara Knuth’s Social Justice and Anti-Racism Resources for Graduate Education and meet for lunch or coffee to discuss with graduate school staff, with graduate program directors, with graduate students, etc.
- Develop Resource Hub: Providing readily accessible resources is an important way to demonstrate your graduate school values JEDI excellence. Consider using Dr. Barbara Knuth’s Social Justice and Anti-Racism Resources for Graduate Education as a starting point.
Enhancing Diverse Voices
- Workshop Series Launch: Taking advantage of faculty and graduate student research/expertise on JEDI to start a campus workshop series for your graduate education community.
- Build External Partnerships
- Recruitment: Expanding recruitment sources Where do you go to recruit new students? DO you go to HBCUs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges, and regional public colleges? Are there opportunities to recruit at community colleges for accelerated master’s programs?
- Town Hall Discussions: Plan a town hall discussion to provide the graduate education community on your campus the opportunity to share their thoughts on improving justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion on your campus.
Evaluating Our Progress
- Measuring Where We Are: Consider institutional research collaborations to assess student recruitment/matriculation/retention data and begin establishing trend data.
- Evaluating Current Initiatives: When thinking about initiatives that have already been established, evaluate your progress. Do you have metrics that will demonstrate success? If not, what metrics should you consider? If the initiatives have not been as successful as you hoped, what are your plans to achieve success?
- Climate Survey: Establish a semi-annual climate survey, separate from a student satisfaction survey, to garner feedback from your graduate education community on current and possible future efforts, and/or ensure that you have access to campus level disaggregated climate survey data.
(Re)Designing Effective Programs and Opportunities
- Refining Current Initiatives: Use what you learned during assessment to refine current initiatives.
- Enhancing Policies and/or Practices: Are there policies and practices that are barriers to JEDI excellence? Are there ways to reshape or enhance them? What are they? What barriers exist to changing them?
- Expanding Community of Practice: Bringing new voices to the table; cultivating diversity champions (and co-laborers) among other colleagues (faculty and staff) and ensure that their work is valued and recognized campus wide.