More than Just Words
March 30, 2022
Dear University Community,
This university diversity strategic plan reflects an honest assessment of where we are and a commitment to what we will do to chart a more inclusive path forward at Rutgers. The goals outlined here reflect concrete aspirations that will require organizational investment, coordination, and leadership to realize. It is purposefully not time-bound, the range of action steps reflect both short- and long- term activities on the order of one to ten years, and in some cases more. Our commitment when the planning process began was to not let perfect be the enemy of the good.
This plan serves as a unified roadmap sharing Chancellor-led unit goals and action steps as well as overarching university strategies that will support their fulfillment. We are determined to show through our actions that the institutional commitment to diversity is more than just words. We are building a beloved community. The lack of a concrete timeline does not mean the absence of accountability and transparency for progress. University Equity and Inclusion will provide ongoing monitoring of planned efforts and annually share progress reports on the university strategic plan goals. Look out for the first annual progress update this fall.
In addition, most Chancellor-led units adopted a phased approach to strategic planning, meaning the goals specified here reflect high level goals and action steps not necessarily specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. The aim of the phased approach was to identify shared cross-cutting goals and action steps across the Chancellor-led unit in phase 1 to allow more time to complete organizational (academic and administrative) unit action plans and add this specificity in Phase 2. Stay tuned for Chancellor-led unit updates on implementation and a timeline for the release of phase 2.
The university diversity strategic plan would not be possible without the dedicated work of the Chancellor-led unit diversity leads who convened their respective steering committees: Sherri-Ann Butterfield, Executive Vice Chancellor, Rutgers University–Newark; Nyeema Watson, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion, and Civic Engagement, Rutgers University–Camden; and Sangeeta Lamba, Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences. In addition, Joan Collier, Senior Director of Institutional Equity and Strategic Initiatives, and Crystal Bedley, Director of the Tyler Clementi Center for Diversity Education and Bias Prevention, provided critical just-in-time support for organizational units and managed the data elements of the planning process. Finally, I owe a great debt to Lajeanesse Harris, Senior Executive Associate; and Jessica Zura, Director of Administration and Planning who served as the administrative leads for the strategic planning process.
With my thanks,
Enobong (Anna) Branch
Senior Vice President for Equity and Professor of Sociology