Members of the University Committee: With time growing short before the next Faculty Senate meeting when, as I understand it, the Ad Hoc Diversity Planning Committee will be submitting its new diversity plan and seeking Senate approve of it, I am forwarding to you the questions that need to be raised about the plan and its implications. The first page lists my five major concerns about the plan, and these are amplified on the second page. These concerns are based on my careful study of the March 14, 2014 draft as well as my long term interest in the efficacy of our minority programs.
April 23, 2014
To: University Committee
Subj: Concerns about Forward Together diversity plan, March 14, 2014 Draft
From: W. Lee Hansen, Prof Emeritus, Economics, firstname.lastname@example.org
After careful study of the Ad Hoc Diversity Planning Committee’s March 16, Draft, I want to voice my major concerns about the new diversity plan. These concerns are listed below and elaborated on the next page. I hope to be able to meet briefly with the University Committee prior to the next Faculty Senate meeting, preferably next Monday, April 28.
Concern #1: What is the rationale for the greatly expanded definition of diversity and its positive and negative implications (academic, administrative, and legal) for UW-Madison faculty, staff, students, and the general public?
Concern #2: What useful knowledge about diversity gained from evaluations of prior diversity plans helped shape this new diversity plan?
Concern #3: Do we have the budgetary resources, human resource capabilities, and will to implement this new diversity plan?
Concern #4: Why is so little attention given to the “pipeline problem”—the continued small number of academically well-prepared targeted minority graduates from Wisconsin public high schools as well as the small pipeline of new targeted minority PhDs?
Concern #5: What does the new plan have to say about how to increase transparency and enforce personal accountability for the operation, monitoring, and rigorous evaluation of the numerous programs and initiatives already in place as well as those proposed?
My recommendation: In light of these concerns, this new diversity plan should not be approved by the Faculty Senate.
Concern #1: What is the rationale for the greatly expanded definition of diversity?
(1) Exactly how will enumerating and recognizing the “MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS OF DIVERSITY” help UW-Madison attain the “educational, business, and social justice” outcomes of concern?
(2) Exactly how can the additional dimensions of diversity “be engaged in the service of learning”?
(3) What are the educational, curricular, and legal implications for faculty, academic staff, and students of incorporating into diversity these additional differences,” in particular “affiliations based on cultural, political, religious, or other identities”?
(4) What new groups identified by their individual differences and group/social differences can be described accurately as “historically underrepresented”?
Concern #2: What useful knowledge about diversity gained from evaluating prior diversity plans has helped shape the new diversity plan?
(1) Why isn’t the new plan’s account of the history and success of prior diversity plans more accurate and forthcoming?
(2) What are the results of the evaluation studies promised in UW-Madison’s Final Report on Plan 2008?
(3) What documented knowledge gained from the experience with Plan 2008 and the subsequent five years of Inclusive Excellence has helped shaped the new diversity plan?
Concern #3: Do we have the resources, capacity, and will to implement this new diversity plan?
(1) What additional resources, e.g., expenditures, FTE personnel, and faculty/staff time, that will be required to implement the new plan?
(2) Is there any assurance we have the knowledge and skill to successfully implement the seven goals?
(3) What evidence is available to demonstrate widespread campus support for the seven goals and the ability and willingness to implement the plan’s 27 recommendations?
(4) Are the Short-Term and Long-Term Indicators of Success stated precisely enough to permit informed assessments of whether they have been achieved?
Concern #4: Why is so little attention given the “pipeline problem”?
(1) Why does the report give so little attention to the small pipeline of academically qualified targeted minority high school graduates in Wisconsin and to the even smaller pipeline of highly talented and accomplished new targeted minority PhDs in accounting for the still small numbers of minorities?
(3) What can or should UW-Madison do to increase the size of these two pipelines and thereby augment its targeted minority undergraduate student body and its targeted minority faculty?
Concern #5: What does the new plan have so little to say about how to increase transparency and enforce personal accountability in the operation, monitoring, and rigorous evaluation to the numerous minority programs already in place as well as those newly proposed?