Strategic Priority 1

DEI Scholars Program poster presentation at End of the Year DEI Celebration

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

We will position the School as leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion within the University and our community. We will continue to work towards a learning and workplace environment that is more diverse and equitable. We will strive to ensure all students, faculty and staff feel safe, heard and valued. We demonstrate our integrity and trustworthiness as scholars, educators, practitioners and community members by promoting social work values, ethical practice and the process of critical reflection. We embrace the inherent worth of all people. By taking the position of cultural humility and applying the lens of intersectionality, we seek to develop and promote modes of anti-oppressive social work and dismantle structures of exclusion.

Goal 1:

All decisions are made through a DEI lens


  • Revise organizational chart and/or position descriptions (COMPLETE)

    • Create Associate Dean for DEI role​

    • Identify DEI Coordinator

    • Establish Liaison to Native Communities ​position

  • Develop DEI Strategic Plan (IN PROGRESS)

  • Prioritize DEI in Curriculum Innovation Committee activities and outcomes (IN PROGRESS)

  • Ensure an inclusive working environment by affirming the importance of each individual & eliminating hierarchal academic norms​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

    • Hold space in meetings for all employees to participate and voice opinions​

    • Celebrate all successes and confirm the value each bring to the organization​

    • Review PRT Procedures & Policies, with attention to non-hierarchical, anti-racist processes and practices

  • Redesign collateral materials and website to show our commitment to DEI (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Align School initiatives and programing with the Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles and Promise (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Implement the Vision of Justice Challenge and create virtual and visual displays (COMPLETE)

  • Support the work of the DEI Work Group to review policies and procedures through a DEI lens​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Review all governance documents and School policies to ensure anti-racist processes and practices​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Conduct ongoing Equity Audits​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Form a DEI Council that includes representation from faculty, staff and students (COMPLETE)

  • Welcome and include student voices and ideas (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

Goal 2:

Become a leader at the University of Kansas (KU) and in the community in DEI through collaborative efforts and actions​


  • Engage faculty, staff and students in community DEI initiatives, committees and organizations throughout KU​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Hold an annual DEI End of the Year Celebration (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Establish DEI Fellows and Scholars Program that provides financial student support (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Assist with the development of local community resources for LGBTQIA+ youth who are in middle and high school (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Engage with Native American communities (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

    • Collaborate with Haskell Indian Nations University  

    • Address families and community needs in all four federally recognized tribes in Kansas through the Kansas Serves Native American Families grant​

  • Host the national LGBTQ Symposium​ (IN PROGRESS)

  • Launch the Center for LGBTQ+ Research and Advocacy​ (IN PROGRESS)

  • Expand MSW program in rural areas of Kansas with Partnership Site locations (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

Goal 3:

Recruit, support and retain under-represented faculty, staff and students - mentor and support individuals to maximize success​


  • Hire and recruit a more diverse employee population​ (IN PROGRESS)

    • Utilize the Excellence in Diversity hiring guide handbook

    • Provide ongoing training and learning opportunities for faculty and staff

    • Assess and identify search practices to facilitate explicitly anti-racist and anti-oppressive search processes, policies, and procedures​

    • Audit and reform search committee practices

    • Initiate a search for faculty with expertise in racial justice who will be affiliated with the Toni Johnson Center for Racial Justice and provided funds and resources to facilitate their research and scholarly agendas

  • Provide support and resources that allow individuals and offices/centers autonomy​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

    • Form individualized budgets for programs, research, marketing, events, field and recruitment​

    • Provide top-level encouragement and space to perform

    • Deliver internal website resources​

    • Hold regular meetings between department directors and the Dean and/or Associate Dean​

  • Encourage growth and learning through faculty and staff development and support​ (IN PROGRESS)

    • Dedicate part of the budget for professional development requests

    • Incorporate voluntary DEI professional development exercises into internal meetings sessions​

    • Launch first year faculty mentor group​

    • Improve new faculty orientation​ to increase transparency and sense of belonging

    • Form a Professor of Practice cohort

  • Support the student group RISE (Resilience, Inclusion, Support, and Empowerment) with a mission to empower BSW, MSW and Ph.D. students of color (racially-ethnically) to excel personally, academically, and professionally in order to foster successful degree​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Maintain long-standing relationship with Multicultural Scholars Program (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Increase scholarships that align student support and the School’s DEI priority (IN PROGRESS)

  • Hold relationship building events such as birthday celebrations, welcome, holiday and end of the year events (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

  • Analyze salaries for equity and provide raises to close the gaps​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)


Goal 4:

Increase the number of opportunities to celebrate and share innovative work, practices and partnerships


  • Events​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

    • Provide monetary awards at the DEI End of the Year Celebration

    • Host end of the year Integrated Health Scholars event to highlight student presentation​

    • Organize new grant kick off meetings for all newly funded projects (includes PI, ADR, School Business Manager)

    • Celebrate grant completion

    • Increase accessibility of school sponsored events that highlight research through flexible delivery formats

  • Communications​ (COMPLETE & ONGOING)

    • Announce Margo Award recipients to celebrate field partnerships and student accomplishments

    • Increase communication & collaboration internally

      • Connect and share research ideas through Research Staff Brown Bags (3rd Tuesdays), Research Conversations and Research Office Informational Meetings

      • Develop Ad Hoc Workshopping Group​

      • Release monthly internal research newsletter​

      • Spotlight faculty, staff, student, donors and alumni stories and share with stakeholders through social media, website, email, newsletters, etc. ​

  • Highlight economic and social impact as a result of research through communications and collateral materials ​(COMPLETE & ONGOING)

    • Track annual field education hours converted to volunteer dollars given back to Kansas​

    • Track increased licenses and school graduation rates in areas where there is extreme need for advanced level social workers​


Holding ourselves accountable

  • Increased faculty, staff and student diversity​
  • Increased events and programming options with diversity focus
  • Increased visibility on campus as DEI leaders​
  • Increased funding for DEI initiatives
  • Retention of faculty, staff and student

Reach out

We welcome your thoughts.
As always, please reach out with questions or concerns at any time.
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