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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan for CAHSS

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College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Announcement  •
Campus Life  •

The College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Denver is committed to addressing systemic racism within our institution and participating in the shared responsibility of fostering a community of excellence, innovation, engagement, integrity and inclusiveness.

We see first-hand the educational and societal benefits of creating and maintaining an accessible and equitable experience for everyone in our college, priorities that strengthen our academic community of learners and knowledge makers. As such, we strive to comprise a student body and faculty and staff that represent diverse peoples and perspectives, and to offer curriculum and skills that help prepare students for ethical and engaged citizenship in today’s global society.

Our intentional commitment to advance equity and inclusion remains critical to CAHSS’s mission of providing a robust liberal and creative arts education in service to the larger public good. Yet as the CAHSS Keystone Strategic Plan explains, “we also know there is profoundly important work to be done to infuse inclusive excellence into everything we do.” As detailed in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plan below, our College is working to facilitate a long-term culture shift where faculty, staff and students of historically underrepresented and minoritized groups can fully participate and thrive, and one that values inclusivity and equity as integral to strategic outcomes and institutional excellence.


CAHSS Faculty and Staff: Competency and Capacity Development

Goal: Take steps to build a culture of inclusiveness in CAHSS, with particular attention paid to articulating and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals into accountability structures.

  • Progress

    DEI competencies incorporated into the CAHSS Annual Report performance review. (First implemented in 2018–2019 AY)

  • Action Items
    • Creation of a  program to encourage departments/programs to include DEI assessments in their academic/program reviews in order to promote DEI within their units and to foster a shared sense of mission in the College. (A pilot DEI assessment program launched in spring 2021, centering on the student experience and learning outcomes in two CAHSS departments, and will continue into the 2021–2022 AY.) 
    • Encourage all new and existing CAHSS faculty and staff to engage in universitywide diversity/cultural competency presentations/trainings/workshops on how best to foster and contribute to DEI in the workplace, academia, and the larger community. The College recognizes these activities as key to professional development and includes these sorts of activities in Annual Reports.
    • Provide support and professional development funds for CAHSS faculty and staff who are or would like to become involved in DEI conversations and initiatives and/or to attend conferences and professional development opportunities specific to Staff and Faculty of Color and other historically marginalized and minoritized groups. (CAHSS initiated an inaugural Faculty and Staff DEI Awards program in the 2020–2021 AY.)
    • Encourage and support departments and programs to include DEI statements and specific action plans and examples of DEI practices on their websites, marketing materials, and mission statements.
    • Officially recognize faculty/staff/departmental efforts that embody DEI principles; encourage and support nominations of CAHSS faculty and staff committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion for DU-wide awards.
    • Those CAHSS departments/programs, and/or individuals within, that are working on DEI efforts will have the opportunity to share ideas and progress with the dean’s office quarterly, as is custom with quarterly requests to chairs and directors for information about major accomplishments. The dean’s office will publish and publicize these ideas and efforts annually on Portfolio in order to provide useful models and share innovative ideas across departments/programs. (Requests began in Fall 2020.) 

CAHSS Faculty and Staff: Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention

Goal: Build processes, policies and strategies that support and advance efforts to develop and retain staff and faculty from historically underrepresented and minoritized groups.

  • Progress
    • Creation and implementation of a new CAHSS Faculty Hiring Guide that merges with approved CAHSS Diversity Faculty Hiring Policies. The guide includes guidance in attracting a wide-pool of diverse applicants including: training of hiring committees in principles of DEI; involvement of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) and the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX in the hiring process; requiring applicants to include a statement reflecting on their engagement with DEI in their application materials; and reviews of compositional diversity of candidate pools at various stages in the hiring process. The document is updated annually to accommodate new best practices and policies, systems, and any other changes that might apply. (First implemented in AY 2016–2017)
    • Creation of a CAHSS Staff Hiring Guide that provides specific attention and guidance toward diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring policies and practices for staff in the College. The document includes direction in attracting a wide pool of diverse applicants including: training of CAHSS staff hiring committees in principles of DEI; involvement of the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX in job ad descriptions and recruitment processes; guidelines to encourage job candidates to speak about their experience with and commitment to inclusive excellence; sample interview questions for inclusive excellence in the interview process; and reviews of compositional diversity of staff candidate pools at various stages in the hiring process. The document will be updated annually to accommodate new best practices and policies, systems, and any other changes that might apply. (First implemented in AY 2020–2021.) 
    • Implementation of CAHSS C&Ds DEI professional development trainings and workshops, devoted to best practices in retaining, advocating for, and mentoring faculty members, with specific attention to those from historically underrepresented and minoritized populations. C&Ds will be expected to take part in these workshops and/or trainings when offered. (Inaugural training took place in August 2018; subsequent trainings and workshops are maintained on a regular basis.) 
    • New Faculty Intensive Mentoring Program implemented by the CAHSS dean’s office. This program pairs incoming permanent (teaching and tenure line, but not visiting) faculty members with a mentor who is a senior (associate or full) faculty member in another program. Research shows that quality mentoring is linked to greater professional success and job satisfaction, particularly important for faculty from historically underrepresented and minoritized groups. (2018–2019, 2019–2020, and 2020–2021 AYs)
    • CAHSS revises teaching evaluation processes in annual merit review and T&P procedures; sole utilization of student evaluations is in violation of CAHSS policy (Implemented June 2019)
  • Action Items
    • In collaboration with the Provost and HRIC, the dean’s office is asked to continue annual reviews of staff and faculty salaries to identify potential discrepancies related to membership in marginalized groups and use available resources to make appropriate adjustments in order to ensure competitive, equitable compensation for all faculty and staff. (Initial review took place in 2018–2019.)
    • Track promotion rates and attrition rates for women and Faculty and Staff of Color, with longer term goal to expand tracking of other minoritized groups, and compare across groups to determine discrepancies and/or inequities; design strategies to address said discrepancies and/or inequities. Track separately for staff, tenure vs. non-tenure series, and promotion to associate and promotion to full. Utilize university-wide collection and assessment of COACHE data and exit interviews to address specifically retention of historically underrepresented and minoritized faculty and staff in CAHSS.
    • Prioritize an annual increasing trend in hiring of faculty and staff from historically underrepresented and minoritized communities. The CAHSS DEI Director and, when applicable, the CAHSS ODEI Fellow, with the assistance of the CAHSS DEI Committee, will be responsible for reviewing compositional hiring data annually, in consultation with the dean, for transparency and accountability purposes. The CAHSS IE Committee will report out annual findings in order to track goals and progress (or lack thereof). (First report provided to dean in July 2021.) 
    • Departments/programs will be expected to reflect on the ways in which Covid-19 currently impacts, and will continue to impact, faculty going up for promotion. These considerations are particularly acute for Faculty of Color, given the disproportionate rates of Covid-19 in communities of color, in addition to junior faculty navigating this unprecedented environment. Individual faculty reflection on experiences amidst Covid-19 should be included and taken into consideration in annual reviews, third-year reviews, and the tenure and promotion process; we also encourage review and potential adjustment of faculty evaluation practices in light of disruptions caused by Covid-19. Issues to consider might include: a more flexible approach to defining what counts in the production and circulation of knowledge, and the disparate impacts of teaching in the hi-flex/online environment, including consideration of the changing teaching environment and added labor, and where/how this affects student and faculty experience. (We strongly encourage these conversations to begin taking place in the 2020–2021 AY.)
    • As part of retention efforts, put in place transparent plans and mechanisms to recognize and compensate the extra labor provided by staff and faculty during the global pandemic, particularly once merit pay increases are restored.
    • Provide DEI training specific to third-year review, tenure review, and professional faculty promotion committees (akin to DEI training for faculty hiring committees). (Report on best practices utilized at other institutions prepared in winter 2021; pilot program for CAHSS planned for the 2021–2022 AY.)
    • Conduct focus groups with CAHSS associate and full Faculty of Color that encourage reflection on the factors that enhanced their experiences of inclusion and productivity, as well as those that hindered achievements. Foster suggested strategies that worked; address those factors that obstructed the ability to thrive in the academy. (First focus groups carried out with junior and senior Faculty of Color in spring, 2021.)

CAHSS Students: Recruitment, Experience, and Retention

Goal: Create an environment within CAHSS where each student feels welcome, heard, and understood, a place where a culture of inclusiveness and meaningful systems of support advance the success of students from historically underrepresented and minoritized groups

  • Progress
    • Contributions to DEI are now specifically addressed and encouraged in all CAHSS student award RFPs. (First implemented in the 2019–2020 AY)
    • Creation of the CAHSS First-Gen Mentorship Program, a system of support for liberal arts undergraduate students who are first in their families to attend college. The pilot program began in the 2020–2021 AY and, with a generous gift from a donor, will continue in the 2021–2022 AY, pairing first-gen students with faculty/staff and peer mentors, in addition to providing community, professional opportunities and support from the program’s director.  
  • Action Items
    • Consider implementation of other CAHSS faculty-student mentoring opportunities to support students from historically underrepresented and minoritized populations.
    • As part of program assessment, departments/programs are encouraged to review recruitment and retention data to assess demographic representation of students from historically underrepresented and minoritized populations, and to conduct 6 student surveys to determine areas of strength and need for improvement as it pertains to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

CAHSS Students: Academic Curriculum and Co-Curricular Activities

Goal: Incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusion into CAHSS curriculum in a substantially meaningful and purposeful way.

  • Progress
    • With support from Chancellor Haefner and Provost Clark, CAHSS is moving forward with the development of a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies program and major at DU. The university has committed to hiring four new tenure-series faculty members, including the faculty director, and staff support for this program. CAHSS will immediately begin the search process for the director, who will start leading CRES in Fall 2022, working with current faculty to design the program and hire the additional new faculty members that will constitute the core faculty of the program. (The major is expected to launch in Fall 2023.) 
    • Creation of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) minor. Knowledge and study of race and ethnicity plays a vital role in dismantling systems of racial oppression and white supremacy, and in engaging and supporting Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, and other students from historically underrepresented and minoritized groups who often do not see themselves reflected in course content. (Launched in Winter 2019)


  • Action Items
    • Identify and promote incentives for faculty to broaden the perspective of current courses to include anti-racist and intersectional pedagogy and scholarship, attention to settler colonialism and white supremacy, and to amplify voices that are historically overlooked, dismissed, and silenced in the classroom, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, and other People of Color. Encourage collaboration with the Office of Teaching and Learning’s efforts to decolonize classrooms and curriculum, including their Inclusive Teaching Practices program.
    • As required by the university, all faculty — including all series, adjuncts, and graduate teaching assistants — must complete a mandatory one-hour Faculty Institute for Inclusive Teaching (FIIT) training (first implemented by DU in the 2020–2021 AY). The College recognizes these activities as key to professional development in teaching excellence and encourages faculty to go beyond the mandatory training to earn an Inclusive Teaching Certificate from OTL. Likewise, we recommend that faculty take advantage of continued professional development opportunities to practice and refine inclusive teaching practices; these types of activities can be included in Annual Reports. As detailed in the Inclusive Teaching Practices website, “whether face-to-face or online, inclusion must not be an afterthought. Rather, it should permeate every aspect of curriculum and course design, classroom management, and assessment of teaching and learning.” The OTL’s Inclusive Teaching Practices website shares a wealth of knowledge and resources.
    • Consideration of a college-wide requirement for all majors in CAHSS to take a class on power, privilege and oppression and/or a course on race and ethnicity prior to graduation. We recommend such a conversation begin once we have grown and funded the Critical Race & Ethnic Studies program, hired more Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian and Pacific Islander faculty and/or faculty with specializations in race and ethnic studies, and have a clearer sense of future university general education requirements.

Institutional Leadership

Goal: To have faculty and staff from historically underrepresented and minoritized groups, and with experience in, and commitment to, DEI, in leadership roles designated to lead the College in its implementation of the CAHSS DEI Strategic Plan and DEI practices.

  • Progress
    • Creation and establishment of a permanent CAHSS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (implemented in Winter quarter 2018)
    • Participation in the ODEI-CAHSS Faculty Fellows Program (2018–2019, 2019–2020, 2020–2021 AYs)
    • Creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Directorship position for the College (Begun in the 2020–2021 AY)
  • Action Items
    • Continued intentional engagement between CAHSS and ODEI.


Note: We envision this as a dynamic document, subject to adjustment and responsive to need and changing context. The CAHSS DEI Committee will annually revisit the DEI Strategic Plan to consider, highlight, and add priorities, and necessary revisions, in collaboration with the Dean’s office.

Updated July 2021

CAHSS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

Committee Members

DEI Committee Members

This plan was created by the current DEI Committee with the assistance of previous IE Committee members Alejandro Cerón, Lydia Gil Keff and Sarah Pessin, 2017–2020.