“The University of Michigan cannot be excellent without being diverse in the broadest sense of that word. We also must ensure that our community allows all individuals an equal opportunity to thrive.”

— President Mark S. Schlissel

The Opportunity

The University of Michigan, one of the world’s preeminent research universities, is seeking its next vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer (VPEI-CDO).

In the context of the university’s longstanding and profound commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the VPEI-CDO is a position of broad leadership that has primary responsibility for guiding and supporting the community’s progress in this critical domain across all components of the institution. The VPEI-CDO works with the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on matters related to DEI at the university as well as a wide range of academic issues, including the budget process, faculty recruitment and retention, tenure and promotion, faculty development, and student enrollment. The VPEI-CDO advises the president on DEI, serves as university spokesperson on DEI matters, and oversees operations of three central administrative units.

This position offers the right individual a truly unique and exciting opportunity. As U-M’s principal DEI strategist, the new leader will systemically advance diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of the university’s core mission and contribute to the national dialogue around inclusive excellence and promising practices in higher education. The VPEI-CDO will provide both high-level strategic vision and pragmatic expert counsel to further U-M’s goals of recruiting and retaining a diverse community, building an equitable and inclusive campus environment, and ensuring students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds can thrive at the university.

The Position

Role of the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

Reporting to the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, the VPEI-CDO (1) serves as a member of the provost’s leadership team, attends regular meetings of that team, and is involved in areas of academic affairs including the budget process, faculty recruitment and retention, tenure and promotion, and faculty development; (2) supervises the units that are a part of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Office of Academic Multicultural Affairs, Center for Educational Outreach, Wolverine Pathways, ODEI Business Support Team, DEI Development Team, and Evaluation and Assessment Team); and (3) facilitates and supports a broad range of academic affairs initiatives involving the involving deans, faculty, students, and staff in U-M’s schools and colleges.

The VPEI-CDO leads the implementation, general oversight, and ongoing evaluation of UM’s DEI strategic plan. This includes: (1) facilitating and supporting progress in all of the university’s schools, colleges, and campus units, including student life, athletics, and the health system, towards achieving their DEI goals, (2) overseeing the assessment and analysis of the DEI strategic plan; (3) planning for and implementing the next five-year DEI plan (intended to begin in FY2024); (4) conducting climate surveys and serving as a key curator of other institutional data and information on DEI; and (5) reporting and communicating with university leadership and the community about progress under the strategic plan and facilitating attention and action in any needed areas.

The VPEI-CDO provides vision and leadership for DEI efforts across the university. The VPEI-CDO meets regularly with the president, serves as the principal advisor to the president on DEI issues and crisis management, and is a member of the university’s executive leadership team—addressing strategic issues that come before that group. The VPEI-CDO serves as chief spokesperson for the university’s DEI efforts and communicates broadly regarding DEI with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and all stakeholders in U-M’s health care system. In partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Communications, the VPEI-CDO oversees one of the university’s primary forums for DEI work and issues: www.diversity.umich.edu.

The VPEI-CDO is responsible for an $8 million budget (all funds, all units in total); 50 FTE staff; and eight direct reports, including the deputy chief diversity officer, three assistant vice provosts, and three unit directors.

Priorities for the Role

This is an exciting time to join the University of Michigan, as the institution concludes its initial five-year DEI strategic plan (DEI 1.0), recognizes all that has been accomplished, thoughtfully assesses what actions and initiatives worked well and what did not, identifies issues that warrant greater attention in the future, and begins to frame the next five-year strategic plan (DEI 2.0).

U-M has made great strides in its commitment to DEI in recent years, and is widely regarded as a national exemplar in integrating DEI into the core mission of a university and creating a campuswide infrastructure featuring unit-level strategic plans and accountability systems to advance DEI. Many members of the U-M community are justifiably proud of the tremendous progress that has been made and the resources and best-in-class programs that have been developed. At the same time, there is widespread agreement that there is still much work to be done and that many opportunities abound for U-M to create a more equitable and inclusive environment and to continue building greater diversity among its students, faculty, and staff.

Key priorities for the next VPEI-CDO will include celebrating U-M’s many successes in DEI, further strengthening U-M’s best-in-class DEI infrastructure and signature programs, supporting the work of the ODEI staff and DEI leads across the university, and ushering U-M into the next phase of this all-important work by creating a blueprint for change with high-impact and sustainable DEI programs, policies, and practices. The VPEI-CDO will also be expected to maintain forward momentum through the disruption and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and by recent and anticipated changes in U-M’s senior leadership; partner with the Office of University Development to infuse DEI 2.0 into U-M’s next comprehensive fundraising campaign and increase philanthropic support for DEI; and collaborate with the new executive vice president and chief financial officer to promote inclusive business practices in furtherance of the university’s commitment to DEI.

Soon after joining the U-M community, the VPEI-CDO will work directly with the provost to identify specific quantitative and qualitative measures of success and their timetables. In the short term, the VPEI-CDO’s success will be measured by the degree to which they learn and are able to navigate the culture and complexities of U-M, build relationships with campus constituents and stakeholders, and become an integral part of the university’s executive leadership team. In the longer term, the VPEI-CDO’s success will be measured by the adoption and implementation of a new five-year DEI strategic plan and by progress towards transparent and data-driven DEI goals.


Qualifications and Characteristics

U-M seeks in its next VPEI-CDO an academic leader who is energized by the challenges of the moment and the many others that will emerge. The ideal candidate will bring a distinguished record of scholarly achievement and administrative success, an excellent command of all aspects of DEI issues in higher education, a history of facilitating effective partnerships and driving innovation, and experience leading high-impact, large-scale change projects, preferably within a complex, decentralized institution. The VPEI-CDO must be tenurable at one of U-M’s schools or colleges at the full professor level.

As the leader of U-M’s DEI efforts, the new VPEI-CDO must appreciate where the university is in its journey toward inclusive excellence, and courageously, strategically, and pragmatically lead it to where it aspires to be. As such, this role is best suited for a thought leader and community convener who has the ability to steward U-M’s commitment to DEI, catalyze the institutional change necessary for deepening and strengthening that commitment, and engage and empower constituents to embrace DEI and actively promote a culture and climate that supports the success of all who learn, work, and engage in the university community.

While no single candidate will likely have all the ideal qualifications and characteristics, the successful candidate will possess many of the following attributes deemed desirable by members of the U-M community:

  • A deep personal and professional commitment to DEI, anti-racism, and social justice.
  • A demonstrated ability to frame work from comprehensive definitions of DEI that are inclusive with respect to a wide range of identities, differentiated in terms of how they address unique identity issues, and complex in terms of intersectionality and context.
  • A demonstrated understanding of the dynamics of difference, privilege, and power, and ability to foster constructive dialogue with different groups around these issues.
  • Experience as a collaborative partner working to revise or remove embedded institutional policies, procedures, and norms that create structural barriers to the access and success of students, faculty, and staff from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.
  • Adept at budgeting and resource management, and a commitment to the work of philanthropy and fundraising to advance strategic initiatives.
  • Knowledge of the legal landscape of equal opportunity, affirmative action, and other applicable local, state, and federal laws and legislation concerning equity in employment and education.
  • Ability to model a commitment to personal growth and development and to nurturing the talents of others through strong mentoring, coaching, and team building.
  • Experience promoting and supporting efforts to develop inclusive curricula and pedagogy, elucidate diversity within and across disciplines, analyze structures of inequality and their impact, and prepare students to participate effectively in diverse communities and workplaces.
  • Ability to connect meaningfully with students and develop positive and productive relationships with student leaders who are deeply engaged in activism and social justice change efforts to improve campus climate.
  • Ability to advocate for and engage with staff in ways that afford them voice and visibility and reinforce among them a sense of value and belonging.
  • Ability to support initiatives to incentivize, mobilize, and support faculty’s engagement in DEI.
  • Good political acumen with the ability to connect with a diverse network of internal constituencies and external stakeholders—including regents, alumni, parents, donors, and community leaders—through excellent interpersonal, listening, and communication skills.
  • Personal and professional ethics and integrity to the highest degree.
  • Approachable, optimistic, and intellectually curious with personal warmth, generosity of spirit, a can-do attitude, courage, and strong resilience in the face of disagreement or criticism.

Institution & Location

About the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan has a long and distinguished history. It was founded in 1817, 20 years before the territory became a state and 45 years before the Morrill Act of 1862 established the modern, public land-grant university system. It was one of the first public universities in the nation, and throughout its 200-year history, it has maintained the highest levels of education, scholarship, and research. The university sustains top programs in the arts and humanities, social sciences, biomedical sciences, business, law, and engineering, and is the home of one of the largest and most distinguished academic medical centers in the world. The main campus is located in Ann Arbor, 35 miles southwest of Detroit, with regional campuses located in Dearborn and Flint. Today, the university has one of the largest alumni networks, with over 640,000 total alumni around the globe.

U-M has grown to include 19 schools and colleges on the Ann Arbor campus covering the liberal arts and sciences as well as most professions. The fall 2021 enrollment of undergraduate, graduate and professional students surpassed 50,000 for the first time in the university’s history. Based on the fall 2020 count, the university has 3,202 tenured or tenure-track faculty. Lecturers, clinical faculty, research professors, librarians, and archivists add 4,465 to the Ann Arbor campus academic staff.

U-M has a total FY2022 budget of $10.7 billion which includes operating revenues from state appropriation, tuition, research grants and contracts, gifts, and other sources reaching $4.7 billion for the Ann Arbor campus, with the Michigan Medicine revenues adding $5.7 billion. In addition, the university has an endowment of $17 billion, among the largest in the nation.

U-M has ranked No. 1 in research volume among public universities for nine consecutive years, with total research expenditures at over $1.62 billion for the fiscal year 2020. No other public university spends more on research, which makes it possible for undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research experiences.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan

From its status as one of the first universities in the nation to admit women in 1870, to its historic defense of race-conscious admission policies at the United States Supreme Court in 2003, U-M continues to lead the way in making higher education accessible to all. In the fall of 2016, after a year of intense planning, U-M launched its five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion, which signified a renewed pledge for developing a diverse university community while creating an inclusive and equitable campus climate. U-M committed $85 million in new funding to support these efforts over five years in addition to the $40 million spent annually on DEI initiatives. In 2018, U-M launched the Go Blue Guarantee, a program for in-state students on the Ann Arbor campus that guarantees four years of free tuition for most undergraduate students from families with annual incomes of $65,000 or less.

University Statement: Defining DEI

At the University of Michigan, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is central to our mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment, for we believe that diversity is key to individual flourishing, educational excellence, and the advancement of knowledge.

Diversity: We commit to increasing diversity, which is expressed in myriad forms, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status, and political perspective.

Equity: We commit to fairness and justice and working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment, and discrimination. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical or cognitive ability, religion or spirituality, height, weight, veteran status, social or economic status, political or ideological perspectives, or any other element or source of identity.

Inclusion: We commit to pursuing deliberate efforts to ensure that our campus is a place where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and where every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We know that by building a critical mass of diverse groups on campus and creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage the resources of diversity to advance our collective capabilities.

DEI Strategic Plan

Under the leadership of President Mark Schlissel, in fall 2015, U-M embarked upon a renewed commitment to DEI. After a yearlong period of intense planning, 49 units across campus devised strategic goals and objectives to fulfill the vision set forth by President Schlissel and the Board of Regents. The process culminated in fall 2016 with the creation of a five-year DEI strategic plan, the appointment of Robert Sellers as the university’s inaugural chief diversity officer, and the development of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The campuswide DEI strategic plan outlines overarching strategies and actions intended to support the school, college, and unit plans. The plan’s core strategies focus on three areas:

  • Strategy 1: Create an Inclusive and Equitable Campus Climate
  • Strategy 2: Recruit, Retain and Develop a Diverse Community
  • Strategy 3: Support Innovative and Inclusive Scholarship and Teaching

In addition to the new initiatives proposed in the plan, many established programs and offices continue to provide foundational support and infrastructure for this work. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion oversees the implementation and evaluation of the campuswide plan.

Every school, college, and campus unit created a DEI strategic plan addressing its unique local needs and opportunities. All 51 plans may be reviewed online. The plans are updated annually through a continuous and iterative planning process. Each year, U-M creates an annual report and holds an annual DEI summit to support the work and provide transparency in this process.

Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI)

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) leads and supports university-wide initiatives focused on the recruitment of a diverse faculty, staff, and student body, while fostering an inclusive and equitable campus environment. ODEI works to create a university community that reflects the richness of the state and the broader society, while providing equal opportunity for all members. Further, the office works to promote a university culture that discourages individual bias and eliminates institutional bias. Through these efforts, ODEI strives to discover, develop, foster, and celebrate mutually beneficial mission-focused partnerships within and outside the university community. The current ODEI organizational chart can be viewed online.

Reporting Units

The Center for Educational Outreach (CEO) supports and advances U-M’s commitment to educational outreach and academic excellence. CEO partners with faculty, staff, and students to develop and implement programs that inform, engage, and inspire a diverse community of scholars.

The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI) is dedicated to supporting U-M in its ongoing commitment to create and foster an intellectually and culturally diverse campus community. To this end, OAMI works collaboratively and cooperatively with the campus and external constituencies to develop initiatives that enrich the academic, social, cultural, and personal development of students. The primary commitment of OAMI is to serve students through a variety of programs, research, and strategic planning activities that provide supplemental resources to enhance the academic achievement levels of all students.

Wolverine Pathways is a free, year-round program that partners with schools and community to provide learning experiences that will help students succeed in school, college and future careers. The program selects up to 60 students to join for their 7th and 10th-grade school years. Once admitted, Wolverine Pathways Scholars take part in the program every year through the completion of 12th grade. The program takes place in three seasonal sessions each year at one location within the targeted school districts. All Wolverine Pathways Scholars who successfully complete the program, apply and are accepted into the University of Michigan will receive a full, four-year tuition scholarship.


Key Initiatives

The First Generation (FirstGen) initiative seeks to provide first-generation students at U-M with resources, insight and inspiration that can help them thrive and succeed on campus as they pursue a degree. A website was created as a tool to provide useful information about college life, paying for college and other programs and services. Above all, FirstGen aims to connect individuals with opportunities that will help open doors and connect to U-M’s community of first-generation students who will support and encourage them throughout their journey.

The Inclusive Teaching Initiative is the result of a recommendation from the 2014 Provost’s Report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The initiative’s aim is to build faculty skill in and commitment to cultivating learning environments where students of all backgrounds and identities are welcomed, feel valued, and are equitably supported in their academic success. In December 2014, a task force composed of experts from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), the Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR), and the School of Education (SOE) was asked to develop a model for faculty professional development around inclusive teaching for all faculty at U-M. The task force proposed a flexible model around inclusive teaching, and faculty focus groups were conducted to gather views from a broad range of faculty, representing diverse roles, identities, and disciplines across the university.

ODEI sponsors U-M’s institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD). The NCFDD is an independent center that offers a wide range of resources to support the professional development and successful transitions of faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and doctoral students throughout their academic careers. The resources are broadly applicable across academic disciplines and include webinars/workshops on topics such as developing a daily writing plan, increasing research productivity, managing time more effectively, writing grant proposals, and maintaining work-life balance.

The Undocumented and DACA Student Resources initiative seeks to provide information and resources for current and prospective undocumented and DACA students at U-M. The initiative’s website is designed to serve as a resource for undocumented and DACA students to connect with current support staff, other undocumented and DACA students, and allies at the university.

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor offers an exceptionally high quality of life, combining the safety and intimacy of a smaller city of about 123,000 residents with an abundance of cultural opportunities exceeding those of cities of much larger size. Situated on lush, rolling terrain along the banks of the Huron River, Ann Arbor is one of the nation’s top college towns. In addition to its world-class university, Ann Arbor is home to high-tech research companies and charming neighborhoods with a rich mix of cultures. Intellectual, artistic, and recreational opportunities in the broader community abound for people of all ages. Ann Arbor perennially ranks in magazine polls as one of the best places in the United States to live and raise a family.

Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan provide a major venue for college sports. Several well-known sports facilities exist in the city, including Michigan Stadium (“the Big House”), the largest college football stadium in the country with a seating capacity of 107,601. Downtown Detroit—with its eclectic mix of entertainment and professional sports—is less than an hour’s drive away, and Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) offers a nearby gateway to the globe. For additional information on living in Ann Arbor and in Michigan, see https://www.annarbor.org/.

 University Leadership

The president is the chief executive officer of the university. The provost and executive vice president for academic affairs is the chief academic officer and chief budget officer of the university. Current organizational charts are available at: https://spg.umich.edu/org-charts/organizational-structure.

Mark Schlissel, MD, PhD, is the 14th president of the University of Michigan and the first physician-scientist to lead the institution. Since beginning as president in July 2014, he has launched initiatives including Academic Innovation; Biosciences; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Poverty Solutions; and Precision Health. As part of his commitment to college affordability, President Schlissel announced the Go Blue Guarantee in June 2017, a financial aid program that provides up to four years of free undergraduate tuition to in-state students from families in Michigan making $65,000 or less.

Susan Collins, PhD, is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan. She joined the Michigan faculty in 2007, serving as the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy until 2017 and becoming the provost in 2020. Currently, she is the Edward M. Gramlich Collegiate Professor of Public Policy as well as professor of economics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. During the first year of her provostship, she has overseen continuation of the academic mission in the context of the pandemic. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to social issues and diversity, equity, and inclusion by launching a portfolio of initiatives related to anti-racism.

The University of Michigan is governed by the Board of Regents, which consists of eight members elected at large in biennial statewide elections. The president of the university serves as an ex officio member of the board. The Regents serve without compensation for overlapping terms of eight years. According to the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the university has constitutional autonomy from the state of Michigan; under such terms, the Regents have “general supervision” of the institution and “the control and direction of all expenditures from the institution’s funds.”

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

The health and well-being of our faculty and staff are a top priority. From competitive benefits to on-site wellness programs, we provide resources to support you and your family’s health and happiness. Benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Health Plans
  • Dental Plan
  • Vision Plan
  • Prescription Drug Plan
  • Mental Health Counseling and Consultation Services
  • Occupational Health Services
  • Child Care and Lactation Resources
  • Retirement Plan
  • Supplemental Retirement Account
  • Group Term Life Insurance
  • Dependent Group Term Life Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Legal Services Plan
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Holidays and Season Days

Complete details are available at https://hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will continue until the position is filled; complete applications received by January 7, 2022 will be assured full consideration. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Jim Norfleet, Practice Leader and Senior Consultant, at jmn@spelmanjohnson.com.

To apply for this position, please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume or curriculum vitae and cover letter that addresses the responsibilities and requirements outlined in this position specification. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson by phone at 413-529-2895 or via email at info@spelmanjohnson.com.

Visit the University of Michigan website at www.umich.edu

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine. This includes those working or learning remotely. More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.