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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan

The School is proud of its past achievements in this area and yet recognizes fully the need to build on those successes by exploring new and creative ways of enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also recognize that the professional arts landscape has changed considerably in recent decades, and that in order to remain competitive among our peer institutions, we must adapt accordingly. Part of that adaptation includes a willingness to explore ways in which our curriculum can become more inclusive in nature. Therefore, in addition to implementing strategies to aid in diversifying our student body, faculty, and staff, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance also proposes strategies within the plan intended to spur critical thinking about our mission as an institution and about the means by which we can attain our broader goal of relevancy by enhancing our visibility as scholars, performers, and creative artists and ultimately our position as leaders in the field

We urge all students, faculty, and staff to read the plan, respond to it and determine what you can do to improve DEI at SMTD. Each of us has a role to play in making our community better. Ultimately, we will be judged not by what we say, but what we do.

Strategic Objectives, Measures of Success and FY 17Action Plans*

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan pertains to faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and post-doctoral fellows. The strategic objectives necessary to further the university-wide goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion have been aggregated into four domains determined by the University.

Our strategic plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion includes 24 objectives with associated recommended actions for achieving them. Your voice helps ensure that this plan continues to reflect our community.

All strategic objectives are categorized under one of the domains listed below, and are accompanied by measures of success that will be tracked over time, as well as descriptions of single- and multiple-year actions that will be taken to accomplish those objectives.

  • Recruitment, Retention, and Development
    • Increase the number of applicants to SMTD from underrepresented minorities (URM)
      • Establish strategic partnerships with high schools and colleges; arrange faculty recruitment visits.
    • Increase the yield of URM students offered admission to SMTD
      • Detailed assessment of current merit scholarships and broaden criteria to what is used for the Rackham Merit Fellowship
    • More effectively utilize the Youth and Adult Community Programs as means of recruiting a more diverse undergraduate cohort
      • Explore ways to build YAC to recruit more students form underrepresented populations
    • Recruit a more broadly diverse graduate cohort across all programs – Graduate Students
      • Require faculty who serve on graduate admission committee to attend the Rackham Faculty Workshop
    • Enhance access to peer tutoring at SMTD
      • Assess existing tutoring structures and determine opportunities to enhance.
    • Adopt or create a tool for collecting demographic information on applicants to faculty positions at SMTD
      • Work with the university to determine if E-Recruit can be adapted to meet the needs of SMTD and/or explore the idea of obtaining a third-party vendor to collect such data
    • Increase number of URM applicants to faculty positions at SMTD
      • Establish process to have all search committee members attend STRIDE training before serving on a search committee (or have taken training within last three years); consider mechanisms to ensure genuine efforts are made to diversity applicant pool
    • Increase the diversity of the staff, as represented by the percentage of URMs and by men
      • Require that search committees be constituted to hire staff members; require the language of all job postings to be approved by Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer to ensure inclusivity
    • Provide more professional development opportunities for staff
      • Offer workshops and training sessions for staff that are specifically tailored to the SMTD context
  • Education and Scholarship
    • Raise general awareness of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
      • Climate surveys, focus studies, course evaluations
      • Establish a faculty subcommittee to explore the creation of a DEI requirement for all undergraduates
    • Better address music theory deficiencies among incoming freshmen
      • Establish a “Music Theory Boot Camp,” a new fall-term section for all incoming freshmen who perform poorly on the diagnostic Theory Proficiency Exam
    • Enhance teacher training for GSIs
      • Working with CRLT, establish an Inclusive Teaching Workshop Series for GSIs
    • Define what diversity and inclusion mean relative to the repertory and artistic traditions with which our faculty and students engage as performers, scholars, and creative artists
      • Compile data showing relative diversity of student/ensemble performances and mainstage productions at SMTD over the past three years, followed by sharing and discussing this data with relevant faculty.
    • Raise general awareness of DEI issues with respect to research, teaching, and service
      • Include a question on the annual Faculty Activity Report (FAR) asking about efforts undertaken in the realm of DEI as they relate to research, teaching, or service; require that faculty, hired after FY 2016, being evaluated for tenure and/or promotion provide a DEI statement explaining how s/he has pursued such areas in relation to research, teaching, and/or service
  • Promoting an Equitable and Inclusive Community
    • Create a more inclusive environment overall
      • Use the results of Winter 2016 Advance Survey to suggest revisions to five year strategic plan
    • Create a more inclusive and open classroom / studio / office environment
      • Working with CRLT, establish a series of workshops around the creation of an inclusive classroom and pertaining to other pertinent DEI issues
    • Increase student awareness of SMTD and university resources for academic assistance, mental health and well-being, and conflict resolution
      • Form a working group to come up with more effective ways to inform students of the many resources on campus and to be more aware of SMTD’s new Director of Inclusion; also explore the idea of a dedicated staff person to assist with the unique needs of international students
    • Improve awareness among faculty of issues related to students with disabilities
      • Provide training to faculty around issues related to supporting students with disabilities
    • Do a better job of publicly acknowledging the contributions of the staff to SMTD
      • Establish staff recognition awards to be given out annually; begin including at least one staff profile each year in SMTD’s alumni publication
    • Do a better job of helping new staff members acclimate to SMTD
      • Establish a working group to devise an SMTD orientation for new staff members and to explore the idea of establishing senior staff mentors for the first three months of employment
    • Improve access to resources for staff concerning conflict resolution and equity issues
      • Explore better ways of communicating with staff about existing university and school resources and consider the establishment of a formal grievance process internal to SMTD and that might include the creation of a staff ombudsperson
  • Service
    • Increase the number of SMTD performances in underserved communities
      • Form a working group to explore the current number of such performances and explore the possibility of establishing a community performance requirement for students who play in chamber ensembles for credit; facilitate and support opportunities for students and students groups not part of existing ensembles to perform within the community
    • Ensure that SMTD is serving the needs of students across the university in ways that are broadly inclusive
      • Establish a working group to assess the manner in which students across campus come to know of and audition for various non-major ensembles at SMTD,
    • Enhance the School’s Michigan Artist Citizen (MAC) Program
      • Find ways to offer better and more effective support to SMTD students participating in the Michigan Artist Citizen Program as it expands its scope and seeks to engage with a broader swath of the southeastern Michigan region

Read the full Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

You Can Participate

Have an idea or a perspective you'd like to share? Explore the plan's objectives and share your thoughts via the feedback form. All responses are anonymous.

DEI Subcommittees

*All strategic objectives and related actions will be pursued in accordance with the law and University policy

Tell us what you think.

Please share your thoughts and suggestions through the feedback form or via email to Freyja Harris,, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.


brass musicians

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower