The Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Strategy Council (EDISC) was originally formed in 2021 in order to help provide direction and leadership to the university around its work in equity, diversity and inclusion. Aimed at creating more equitable policies and practices to cultivate a more inclusive campus climate, it is made up of an academic cohort that includes leaders from across the 18 colleges and schools on campus, and an administrative cohort that includes senior leadership from HR, safety, enrollment and legal (among others). The Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Strategic Council employs the Shared Equity Leadership model to guide its operation and ensure the broadest degree of investment in the institution’s growth.
Created by the American Council on Education (ACE), the Shared Equity Leadership model seeks to make equity, diversity, and inclusion everyone’s responsibility. To facilitate the work of the EDISC, a wide range of campus representatives in both formal and informal leadership positions were recruited and participated in an intensive four-month Shared Equity Leadership training session last year. Led by the director of the New Leadership Academy, Dr. Amy Fulton, preparatory work allowed the council to develop a shared language, practices and values for working collaboratively. It also reinforced their shared commitment to equity and readied them to begin working to thread these values throughout the university.
Members of the EDISC are drawn from across campus—from many divisions, colleges and units—and this diverse group of participants also helps serve as liaisons between their own parts of the institution and the EDISC body. University of Utah Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President for EDI Emma E. Houston says this arrangement is intentional, ensuring greater unity in the work of the strategy council. “It also creates clearer pathways for communicating on a large and diverse campus,” Houston adds, “and that’s important for maintaining transparency.”
Recently, EDISC and the four workgroups assigned to develop each of the focused responsibility areas below released their finalized recommendations to ensure campus follow-through on proposed reforms.
Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Strategy Council recommendations
Ensuring belonging for all
Include a new survey instrument for assessing belonging among students, staff and faculty.
Fostering an inclusive campus climate
Include the solicitation of climate assessment data from all academic and administrative partners in order to identify climate themes and construct a coherent campus climate narrative (this is part of a unit-level self-study that will help to inform future equity, diversity and inclusion efforts).
Amplifying community engagement
Include a campus-wide onboarding toolkit for hospitals, clinics and academics.
Securing health equity
Include data transparency, centralized messaging opportunities, resources and regular mandatory training.
To discover more about the work of the EDISC, find out about future efforts or learn about how you can get involved, please visit the Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Strategy Council website.