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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  • Establishing 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 and related actions will be shared with the campus community throughout 2021-22.

  • 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

    In additional to professional development on diversity, equity, and inclusion for senior leaders, we are offering regular workshops for faculty and staff, as well as white anti- racism lunch discussions and weekly Intersections discussions.

  • Pursuing Inclusive Pedagogy

    We are continuing the support and assessment of faculty use of expanded inclusive pedagogical strategies in the classroom both through a faculty learning community and through a range of other programs.

  • Recruiting Local Students
    Starting in fall 2021, UR will meet 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, plans are underway to memorialize the burying ground for enslaved people on campus with input and connectivity with the descendant community and to expand campus exhibitions and signage with an inclusive history.

  • Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Athletics

    Spider Athletics created a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position and implemented a new diversity council to support the unit’s DEI goals. UR joined the A-10 Commission on Racial Equity as an active participant.

  • Advancing Support for International Students
    International Education (IE) has reimagined unit-wide efforts to ​increase support ​for international students, given their changing needs and the greater challenges for their mobility associated with the pandemic. IE has shifted the focus of the International Alumni Fellow to international students and added a staff to the team that reaches out regularly to these students and helps to meet their needs. The team’s process for building International Education Week has changed, so that it is more inclusive and maximizes student and faculty participation. IE student workers have been re-tasked as global guides to bring their own international experience to the forefront in working with other students.
  • Building a Values-Based Community
    We are committed to ensuring that students understand and affirm the University’s values, including diversity, equity, and inclusion from the time they choose Richmond through graduation. 
     
    Incoming students sign a values commitment statement setting the foundation for their time at UR. 

    Text of Committment: Members of the University of Richmond community embrace the dignity, worth, and contributions of all individuals. We recognize that our diversity is among our greatest strengths, serving as a foundation for academic excellence that enriches our University community. Our shared values of student growth, the pursuit of knowledge, educational opportunity, diversity, equity, and inclusivity reflect our commitment to making Richmond’s transformative education accessible to students from all backgrounds; to promoting thoughtful, intellectually rigorous, and respectful engagement with a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives; and to fostering a diverse learning community in which all members reach their full potential. We acknowledge that all members of our community — faculty, staff, students, and University leadership — share responsibility for upholding, implementing, and embodying these values.
    In joining the University community, I agree to the University Honor Code, and I am committing to the pursuit of a vibrant, inclusive intercultural community that prepares me and my fellow students to lead lives of purpose.

    During Orientation, all new students receive a strong introduction to our values.
  • Leveraging Student Leadership and Learning

    We’re supporting the student-led Interpoint programming to build students’ awareness and skills in intercultural dialogue. 

  • Deepening Communication Between Students and University Leadership

    A President’s Student Cabinet was established in fall 2020 to facilitate open dialogue among students and University leaders.

  • Building Skills for Difficult Conversations
    In spring 2021, UR piloted the Community Dialogue Facilitation Network (CDFN), 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. The initiative will continue in 2021-22. For more information contact Dr. Glyn Hughes.
  • Well-Being Unit Focusing on DEI Training
    A DEI audit has been completed for the Well-Being Unit. The staff in this Unit plan to pursue recommendations that will improve the DEI training of the staff (professional and student) as well as an equity focus as we are now able to implement programs and services in the new Well-Being building that were postponed due to the pandemic.
  • Establishing an Africana Studies Program
    The University of Richmond faculty voted to create a new Africana Studies Program. During the 2021-22 academic year, Arts & Sciences will be hiring two new faculty to teach in this interdisciplinary program.
  • Providing Financial Resources for Students
    Funds have been raised to support additional capacity for CAPS as needed during acute times for providing first-rate counseling on campus for students, and we are continuing our commitment and fundriasing for Spiders Helping Spiders. 
  • DEI Board Committee Established
    Beginning in fall 2021, the University of Richmond Board of Trustees will establish a DEI Board Committee to to focus on strategic priorities and goals relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance the Institution’s work.  

Work Implemented

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  • Expanded Disability Services

    Through a Planning and Priorities Committee allocation to the University’s FY 20 budget, we have 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.
  • Created a Multicultural Space

    The Multicultural Student Space (“the Space”) in Whitehurst Hall was piloted to explore the potential uses and logistics of a campus space designed to support students of color. We are continuing to assess the space and its uses in order to determine a permanent location for it on the University’s campus.

  • Increased Support for Student Affinity Groups

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

  • Joined Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance

    UR became a founding member of the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). Convened by the USC Race and Equity Center, the LACRELA consortium is made up of 51 liberal arts colleges and universities committed to developing and achieving equity goals, fostering campus climates that are inclusive for people of color and other underrepresented groups, and offering shared educational resources and tools for faculty and staff.

  • 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 Disability Services Office Opened
    The new Disability Services Office opened in August 2020 to ensure more consistent and equitable practices across campus.
  • New Support for Student Athletes
    Richmond Athletics and the Student Center for Equity & Inclusion hired a new Coordinator of Student-Athlete Leadership Development & 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 provide spaces for students of color and LGBTQ students to connect, and recharge.