Social Science Community Gathers for DEI Strategic Planning Retreat

October 27, 2022 - Jalen Smith


Nearly 200 members of the College of Social Science Community gathered on October 26th at Kellogg Center for a day-long planning retreat to discuss goals, objectives and priorities to inform the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Faculty, academic staff, support staff, graduate students and undergraduate students, serving as delegates representing each of the over 20 College’s units and academic programs, engaged in a host of activities facilitated by Strategic Diversity Initiatives (SDI). SDI is a Minnesota based certified LGBTQ and Woman owned consulting firm with 25 years of experience providing education and consultation around diversity, equity & inclusion. 

The retreat began with a workshop on understanding implicit bias, microaggressions, and inclusivity, followed by breakout brainstorming sessions to discuss strengths and weaknesses of the College’s current DEI efforts, as well as potential solutions and actions we could take to advance our community’s DEI goals. The retreat was designed to foster authentic and robust conversations around the complexities of this work, while offering the community an opportunity to engage directly with College leadership on next steps. 

The breakout groups had a designated facilitator and note taker, as well as individuals across different units and roles in the College with hopes of fostering unique and interdisciplinary ideas through the brainstorming process. At the conclusion of the afternoon, the 20 brainstorming groups reported their ideas to the entire assembly. It was evident that our community was primed for this kind of engagement to advance DEI.   

“Today, we had the opportunity for a broad cross section of members to come together to discuss the current state and future of DEI in the College. As expressed in The Equity-Excellence Imperative: A 2030 Blueprint for Undergraduate Education at US Research Universities, in order for an institution to be excellent, it must also be equitable and inclusive. Given the amount of energy and commitment evident at the retreat, our College is on a path to do our part for MSU," said Dr. Mary Finn, Dean, College of Social Science. 

This retreat served as part of the beginning stages of the College DEI Strategic Planning process. Collaborating on this effort with College leadership is a working group and stakeholder group. Their insights into this work has, and will continue, to inform this plan. The timeline for completion is Spring Semester, 2023.  

Current College DEI initiatives that work to enhance our diversity, inclusion and sense of belonging include, but are not limited to, the Dean’s Research Associate Program, the Dean’s Distinguished Scholar Program and the Dean’s DEI Fellows Pilot Program.

Learn more about the College of Social Science DEI Strategic Planning process here.