Status of Our Work

We acknowledge the urgency of the work before us to address the inequities routinely experienced by our community members from historically underrepresented groups. We must also address the cultural assumptions and structures that perpetuate inequity. The immediate and the long-term work are critical for the change we seek, and both are urgent. Highlights of the work underway and completed include:

Work Initiated

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  • Expanding Our Web to Foster Belonging
    The President will hire the first VP for Inclusion and Belonging reporting directly to him and serving on the President’s Cabinet to continue advancing UR’s DEIB commitments in collaboration with senior leaders and practitioners across campus.
  • Responding to Bias on Campus
    The University of Richmond is piloting an integrated, holistic approach to bias reporting, response, and support.
  • Enhancing Student Belonging in the Classroom

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded UR a $625K grant to support efforts to enhance student belonging. The HHMI Inclusive Excellence 3 grant is a six-year program and will be led by biology professor Angie Hilliker, who will work with ten interdisciplinary UR faculty on the project.

  • Gender Reporting Options
    Gender reporting options for students have been expanded to include non-binary. Pronouns have been available for students to choose since 2021.
  • Affinity Groups for Staff and Faculty Belonging

    During the 2022-2023 academic year, Human Resources, in collaboration with the Office for Institutional Equity & Inclusion, conducted a pilot program to support three existing faculty and staff Affinity Groups, namely: UR Proud, Faculty and Staff of Color, and Womxn in Leadership. All of the groups held events throughout the year, several of which were marketed to the UR Community. As a result, these groups saw enhanced engagement by existing members and the addition of new members.

  • Supporting Anti-Bias Efforts in Faculty and Staff Recruitment

    HR and the Provost’s Office provide training and resources for faculty search committees and hiring managers to support anti-bias efforts, and new processes are in place for committees to maximize recruitment of diverse, qualified applicant pools. The faculty hiring workshop occurs every year, includes anti-bias training focused on the hiring process and is mandatory for department and search committee chairs. See the resources on the Provost Office’s website. 

  • Supporting Ongoing Learning for Faculty and Staff

    Professional development workshops on diversity, equity, and inclusion for staff, faculty, and senior leaders are regularly offered on campus, as well as weekly Intersections discussions and opportunities at the Faculty Hub.

  • Pursuing Inclusive Pedagogy
    The Faculty Hub is launching a new Inclusive Partnership Program this spring to support faculty members’ efforts to make their classrooms and their teaching more inclusive. The program pairs a faculty member with a trained student partner who regularly observes and provides feedback on teaching through the lens of inclusive practices. Research has shown that partnership programs like this one can contribute to important shifts in campus culture.
  • Recruiting Local Students
    UR meets the full demonstrated financial need of students with grant aid, not loans, if they enter UR directly from Richmond Public Schools, CODE RVA Regional High School, and the Maggie Walker School.
  • Reconciling our Past
    In addition to ongoing support for the Race and Racism Project, the University of Richmond is working toward a permanent memorial to honor those enslaved and laid to rest on the land that became this campus.
  • Widening Access for International Education

    EnCompass, Richmond’s flagship program for increasing access to study abroad for all Spiders, was
    recognized with a 2022 IIE Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education in the category of "Widening Access for International Education."

  • Creating Structures of Inclusion for Faith Traditions

    In addition to hosting regular programming for Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and spiritual but not religious (SBNR) students, Chaplaincy staff supported other traditions (Greek orthodox, Hindu, Buddhist), educated about the University’s Religious Observance Policy, and hosted a wide variety of multi-faith dialogues.  

    Chaplaincy staff worked with dining services to expand Halal offerings for Muslim students, and washing stations will be installed in the Wilton Center to allow the UR Muslim community to comfortably prepare for prayer. 

    In support of Jewish life, Carole and Marcus Weinstein announced this year that they will donate $3 million to the Office of the Chaplaincy. The gift will support Jewish student programming and strengthen opportunities for the entire campus to learn more about Jewish tradition.

  • Building Skills for Difficult Conversations
    The Community Dialogue Network (CDN) is a home-grown initiative to strengthen our campus community by developing and promoting skills related to group facilitation and managing difficult dialogues. The initiative aims to create and grow a network of practitioners skilled in equity-minded facilitation and community building. In 2022-23, CDN graduated 44 faculty and staff across two cohorts and is continuing in 2023-24.
  • Providing Financial Resources for Students

    Student Development and the Office of Financial Aid are partnering to provide financial assistance, in accordance with Federal financial aid regulations, for club and organizational participation as an option for students who need the support to participate.

  • Unit-level efforts to Strengthen Belonging:

    This academic year, the Business Affairs Division engaged broadly with its team members (approximately 450 employees) to develop a new Mission/Vision/Values statement for the Division. With active leadership support and the engagement of third-party expertise, over 80% of Business Affairs employees participated, at least once, in this process.  A new divisional mission, vision, values ethos has been formally adopted and in 2024 the division will work to ‘operationalize’ their commitments which include belonging, mutual respect, and open-mindedness.

Work Implemented

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  • New Student Lodge Opened
    The Cave, managed by the Center for Student Involvement, now serves as a place for all student organizations to host events and meetings.
  • Africana Studies Program Established

    In responses to student interest, the University of Richmond faculty voted to create a new Africana Studies Program. Africana Studies is an academic concentration that critically examines the African diaspora from multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.

  • New Student Center for Equity and Inclusion Staff Hired
    The Student Center for Equity and Inclusion hired a full staff to support First-Generation, Limited Income, LGBTQ+, and Multicultural students by providing avenues to build community, explore identity, and develop skills that encourages them to flourish at the University of Richmond and beyond.
  • Established a Baseline for Growth and Improvement
    Higher Education Resource Institute (HERI) surveys to students, staff, and faculty in 2020-21 assessed UR’s overall campus climate around diversity, equity, and inclusion and gathered baseline belonging data to help us measure our challenges and progress. Survey results were shared with the campus community in April 2022.
  • DEI Board Committee Established
    The University of Richmond Board of Trustees established a DEI Board Committee to focus on strategic priorities and goals relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance the Institution’s work.  
  • Expanded Disability Services

    Through a Planning and Priorities Committee allocation to the University’s FY 20 budget, we established the Office of Disability Services as a separate unit and welcomed a director, Emily Helft, to lead it. This change augments our capacity and resources to support the various needs of students with disabilities on campus.

  • Established Comprehensive Web Guide for Student Financial Support
    The University of Richmond is committed to helping students thrive and ensuring that they can take full advantage of the educational experience Richmond has to offer. In addition to financial aid, the University provides many other kinds of support and assistance.
  • Increased Support for Student Affinity Groups

    Through reallocation of existing University budgets, $100,000 in new funding was provided for student cultural organizations for 2020-2022. 

  • Declared Juneteenth a University Holiday
    The University declared Juneteenth an official annual holiday.
  • Inclusive Language Standards
    Recommendations were published as part of the University Communications style guidelines, and there will be changes in Banner, Blackboard, and on campus forms that support the use of gender-inclusive language and preferred pronouns.
  • Admissions Director to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    The University of Richmond hired its first director of admission for diversity outreach and partnerships who will directly oversee the diversity recruitment and outreach, international, and off-campus programming teams. The director will work closely with other senior leaders to develop strategies and tactics to attract, recruit, and enroll a talented and diverse student body, including the recruitment of first-generation college students and scholars from community-based organization partners.

  • Student Center for Equity & Inclusion Established
    The Office of Multicultural Affairs with the Office of Common Ground merged to form the new Student Center for Equity & Inclusion on the second floor of Whitehurst Hall. The SCEI seeks to cultivate inclusive communities and empower students to be affirmed in the intersections of their identities and amplify the voices of these populations. To achieve this mission the center is dedicated to enhancing Multicultural, LGBTQ, and First-Generation student experiences on campus.
  • WELL 100 Created to Extend Student Orientation and DEI Conversations
    WELL 100, a fourteen week extended orientation class that will eventually involve all first year students, was launched in fall 2021. The course provides a laboratory for the University to go beyond what it can do in a five-day general orientation program, especially in the DEI area. This will allow new students to receive more dedicated instruction on University history, adjustment to college life, meaningful extracurricular involvement, and DEI awareness. 
  • New Support for Student Athletes
    Richmond Athletics and the Student Center for Equity and Inclusion hired a new coordinator of student-athlete leadership development and engagement to work closely with Spider student-athletes on a daily basis providing support and guidance.
  • DEI Plans Created Across Campus
    Information Services created a DEI Commitment and Mission Statement, which staff can voluntarily sign, a DEI Plan, and established a DEI Committee to help guide initiatives around DEI in their unit. Student Development is in their third year of their DEI Plan. Other offices continue to initiate plans and connect Equity & Community staff for support and guidance.
  • Minimum Wage for Employees Raised
    We raised the minimum wage for our employees to $14/hour to reflect our commitment to providing total compensation (including benefits) that is competitive in the Richmond area and helps us attract and retain excellent employees.
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds For Students
    The University distributed $2.8 million of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds to UR students who qualify for need-based financial aid since the onset of the Pandemic. Using University resources, the University also provided funds for international and DACA students who did not qualify for HEEERF funds under federal government mandate.
  • Enhanced Multicultural Spaces
    Part of the new Student Center for Inclusion and Equity, the Multicultural Student Space ("the Space") and LGBTQ lounge in Whitehurst Hall provide spaces for students of color and LGBTQ students to connect and recharge.