For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Diversity Advisory Council Advances DEIB Work

Diversity Advisory Council (DAC)

February 20, 2024

The Graduate College formed the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) in spring 2020 to address issues of institutional racism, unconscious bias and racial inequalities within the Drexel community, raise awareness of these issues, implement action items, and support our Black and Brown community members.

Since then, the Graduate College has furthered its commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) as part of a five-year strategic plan (2021-2026) and in alignment with the Drexel 2030 – Designing the Future Strategic Plan (2020-2030) and culture of equity imperative. Five core principles of the Graduate College’s commitment to JEDI include inclusive environment, Anti-Racism, JEDI programs and initiatives, belonging, and collaborative community.

Diversity Advisory Council members, which include faculty, professional staff members, graduate students, and alumni, liaise with academic and administrative units and are actively working to implement the recommendations of the University's Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF). The DAC is charged with holding the Graduate College and graduate community members accountable for our commitment to JEDI, making recommendations on how we can achieve our goals, and providing support for community members in addressing these issues.

Ebony E. White, PhD was appointed faculty chair of the DAC in 2022. Over the past year, the DAC has been working to implement four strategic initiatives in support of their mission:

  1. Inclusion of a University-wide diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) statement in all academic course syllabi;
  2. Development of a self-evaluation tool for faculty to review and reflect on their own academic curriculum ensuring a pathway for student success;
  3. In-depth analysis of the graduate academic standing list related to Black and brown student retention and success to identify potential causes or early warning signs, mitigation strategies, and increase support services;
  4. And, in-depth analysis of graduate student cases involving Black and brown students to identify issues and concerns and intervene to break the patterns.

The DAC will continue to work closely with campus stakeholders, such as the Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture (EIC) and ARTF, Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Office of Faculty Advancement and Teaching and Learning Center, Steinbright Career Development Center (SCDC), Faculty Senate, and the Culture of Equity imperative team of the Drexel 2030 Strategic Plan to advance this work. The DAC has made the following progress:

  • The DAC has drafted a sample DEIB statement for syllabi.
  • The DAC has drafted a self-evaluation too for faculty, which is intended to be utilized as part of an annual review process. It can also be utilized for professional staff through annual performance review.
  • The DAC offers consultations with faculty, professional staff members and graduate student instructors on creating DEIB-friendly syllabi and curricula which are inclusive of diverse learning styles and promote inclusive teaching practices (in collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Center). Further, the DAC is advocating for these efforts to be evaluated as part of Faculty Annual Review.
  • In collaboration with the Graduate College, the DAC has established a subcommittee consisting of faculty and professional staff advisors and graduate students who can work with Black and Brown students experiencing academic difficulty and seeking additional support.
  • The DAC, with campus stakeholders, has expanded the Comprehensive Guide to Drexel and Philadelphia provided by the Graduate College to new, incoming graduate students to include resources and attractions specific to Black and Brown students.
  • In collaboration with the Graduate College, the DAC has examined student cases involving Black and Brown students and determined an initial list of potential causes for concern, including lack of communication regarding expectations or program requirements, issues related to discrimination or lacking a sense of belonging. More analysis is needed.
  • Further, the DAC has recommended hosting regular town halls discussion sessions for community members to engage in open and honest dialogue that addresses the systemic barriers impacting all the members of our graduate community.

The DAC is pleased to announce a Qualtrics form for community members who are seeking guidance or support, who wish to engage in personal and professional development in JEDI, and/or who wish to learn more about the DAC and their initiatives and recommendations. The form also invites feedback and ideas.

Complete a Request Form [Qualtrics]

While there is more work to be done, the Graduate College joins the University community in celebrating our recent recognition as a recipient of the 2023 INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award! This award reaffirms our commitment and that we are on a path toward achieving our goal of being a more welcoming and inclusive place for all.