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Diversity Advisory Council

The University of Montana

DAC Meeting - April 19, 2013


Present: Lucy France, Jacquie Hofmann, Toffer Williams, Blakely Brown, Joc Hickman, Mika Watanabe, Kelsi Camp, Heather Bruce, Barb Seekins, Emily Ferguson-Steger, Olivia Holter, Ray Carlisle, Julie Edwards, Benjamin Courteau, Jennifer Zellner-Cuaresma, Dora LaCarse, Wilena Old Person, Carey Davis


The March meeting minutes were approved with the addition of Bharath Sriraman to the list of attendees.

Topher Williams (member of TRIO, ASUM Transportation, DSS, and other student groups) shared information about the Power of 1 Conference (leadership activist training for LGBT community) that he and three other students will be attending in Boise. Toffer solicited input from DAC regarding particular concerns.  The following ideas were offered:

  • Training for pre-service teachers who will be working in public schools is needed as none currently exists.  Contact Heather Bruce with any information they discover.
  • Increase the presence of UM Allies on campus.
  • Present information at the Day of Dialogue.
  • Share information regarding the UM Allies program with conference attendees in Boise.

Ray spoke about placement of the Borgmann award plaques.  He worked with Liz Roosa Millar and the UC committee responsible for placement of items. They decided to place the plaques on the south side of the south pillar on the third floor outside of the ballrooms. It is believed that this site will give the best opportunity to be seen by the greatest number of people. Presentation of the 2013 Borgmann award will be made at today’s ceremonies.

Dora updated the group on the mini grants awarded to date. Two awards have been made, one to the American Indian Law Association and one to a group supporting UNICEF. $1,700 was awarded. A message will be circulated on the University website encouraging students to submit additional applications for the remaining funds.

Julie encouraged input for the DAC annual report to the President. Items identified include:

  • Status of mini grants
  • Student award ceremony
  • Borgmann award winner
  • Placement of Borgmann plaque
  • DAC support for International Festival
  • Website updates
  • Evaluation of and process for keeping Diversity Plan active across the University community
  • NCBI involvement

All DAC members are encouraged to email Julie with any other information to be included. 

The committee requested that a letter of endorsement recognizing the change of leadership in NCBI and recommending continued collaboration with NCBI be sent to President Engstrom.

Discussion continued regarding the timetable for change of leadership in DAC, terms, and opportunity for involvement. A recommendation was made to add a “standing advisory co-chair” to the DAC guidelines. A member of the EEO staff would serve as the advisory chair in addition to the two regular co-chairs. Lucy will ask Maria Cole to develop a brief role description for this advisory position and ask her if she is interested in filling the position in FY14. Lucy or Blakely will circulate information to all DAC members asking them to make recommendations or suggestions for individuals to fill DAC leadership positions in FY14. A regular co-chair is needed (Lucy is rotating off) as well as treasurer and secretary. DAC members are asked to come to the May meeting prepared to identify and vote on leaders for next year (FY14).

Also at the May meeting, subcommittees will be formed to prepare a poster contest to be launched in September and another subcommittee to prepare an outline of assessment work for the Diversity Plan to be implemented for FY14.

Discussion continued on the need to continue to raise the importance of diversity across the campus, particularly with extant faculty, administrators, and staff members. This issue is one of the components of the current strategic plan; it is hoped that the DAC can focus on this need in the coming year. Several ideas were presented to support this effort:

  • The winner of the Borgmann award each year could be a featured speaker at Day of Dialogue as well as at the opening retreat for new faculty members. 
  • Recognition was made of the new, online training that is currently in development for all new employees; efforts are underway to assure discussions about diversity are included in the onboarding. Lucy will send full information regarding focus groups being formed to help refine the new onboarding efforts. She will also contact Claudine (Provost's assistant spearheading onboarding efforts) to join the May meeting and share information.
  • Consider using UM Staff Ambassadors as mentors for new employees as part of the onboarding process.
  • Request President Engstrom to send a copy of the annual DAC report to the entire campus to help spread the word about diversity efforts underway at UM.
  • Encourage leaders at every administrative level to make diversity a more active topic.
  • Consider DAC identifying twelve people/year to tell their stories/narratives and post on the website.

There were no additional comments announcements from committee members; the meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m.