Be JEDI Innovation Grant

Building Capacity, Leadership, and Sustainability at UMB

The Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI) at the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) launched the university's first interprofessional/interdisciplinary innovation grant for 13-month projects and initiatives that advance Belonging (BE) and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) at UMB in March of 2023.

Be on the lookout for Elm communications about the 2024 Be JEDI grant deadlines starting in January 2024.

Read the May 17, 2023, Elm Story Inaugural Be JEDI Innovation Grants Announced.


The purpose of the Be JEDI Innovation Grant is to enhance belonging, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at UMB through education, research, service, climate, or leadership outcomes and to support and advance the UMB Strategic Plan, with a particular focus on Theme 3: University Culture, Engagement, and Belonging and the integration of core values of equity and justice at UMB.

2023 - 2024 Recipients

Faculty Educational Training Program - Fostering inclusion through a trauma informed pedagogical framework 

Karen L. Gordes,  PT, DScPT, PhD received a $10,000 innovation grant for Faculty Educational Training Program - Fostering inclusion through a trauma informed pedagogical framework.  The contributing faculty and staff include Courtney Jones-Carney, DPA, MBA; Mary Jo Bondy, DHEd, MHS, PA-C;  Shani Fleming, MSHS, MPS, PA-C; Shannan Delany Dixon, MS, CGC; and Mary Lynn McPherson, PharmD, MA, MDE, BCPS, CPE. 

Many health profession educators are not formally prepared to provide a trauma informed approach to their teaching despite a significant population of their learners experiencing traumatic and adverse events prior to and during their educational experience. Given the negative impact trauma has on learning, there is a need for educators to understand how to recognize and effectively respond to these issues in the learning environment. A trauma-informed educational approach aims to support learners by recognizing the impact of trauma, avoiding re-traumatization and building resilience in learners. We must recognize that marginalization is a fundamental trauma and re-traumatization in higher education is often related to marginalized identity status. Exclusion, minimization, and shaming based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and more generate trauma in the individuals experiencing these directed behaviors. Further, the confluence of historical, societal and systemic trauma before, during, and after higher education is a critical problem in the health professions. The features, practices, and policies of environments and institutions that generate and maintain trauma create a loss of sufficiency and diversity in the healthcare workforce. A trauma informed pedagogical framework focuses on systems and individuals and provides consideration for how our teaching and learning policies and practices can either challenge or facilitate success in learners who have experienced trauma. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) has outlined six equity-centered trauma informed principles congruent with inclusive pedagogy to foster a supportive environment for all learners. The six key principles include safety, trustworthiness and transparency, peer support, collaboration-mutuality, empowerment-voice-choice, and cultural-historic-gender issues. A trauma informed approach recognizes the intersection of trauma and adversity and outlines instructional practices (such as representation, engaging intersectionality, mitigating bias, and pedagogical partnerships) to support authentic belonging, equity and inclusion in the classroom. The trauma informed lens is grounded in the concept that effective teaching depends on deep and caring relationships fostered through a community of support and respect where individuals can share their authentic self. Through the formalized training sessions on trauma informed practice, we will be building a cadre of faculty knowledgeable of the principles of an equity centered trauma informed approach and prepared to create course content, course policies, and make systemic reform grounded in an inclusive and belonging framework. Faculty participants will garner skills in justice-oriented teaching that foster learning spaces that support learners who have experienced trauma, adversity, crisis, and inequality as well as how to employ strategies for reforming policies, practices, and culture within their academic programs to a trauma resilient perspective. 

Supporting University Culture, Engagement and Belonging: Building EDI Micro-Credentials 

Courtney Jones Carney, DPA, MBA, received a $10,000 innovation grant for Supporting University Culture, Engagement, and Belonging: Building EDI Micro Credentials. The contributing faculty and staff include Patty Alvarez, PhD, MA; Shani Fleming, MSHA, MPH, PA-C; and Jessica Grabowski, MS.

Description of how the project/initiative will innovatively impact and increase belonging, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at UMB:

The Supporting University Culture, Engagement and Belonging: Building EDI Micro-Credentials initiative will create a repository of professional development opportunities that are created specifically for the UMB student, faculty, and staff population. Participation in these professional development opportunities will contribute to the collective understanding of equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and anti-oppression. Also, because the micro-credentials will be designed for e-learning and are asynchronous, UMB students, faculty, and staff can participate at times that accommodate their demanding schedules.

Critical Conversations Dialogue Program (CCDP) 

Rosemary Ferreira, MEd, received a $7,000 innovation grant for Critical Conversations Dialogue Program (CCDP). Dawn Schafer, LCSW-C, is the contributing faculty.

Description of how the project/initiative will innovatively impact and increase belonging, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at UMB:

The Critical Conversations Dialogue Program will innovatively impact and increase belonging, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion by creating opportunities for students, staff, and faculty at UMB to learn about and engage in dialogue as a practice for social justice. Engaging in dialogue enables individuals at UMB to build community through story-telling, develop a greater sense of self and of others, raise their critical consciousness, and provide an opportunity to unpack implicit biases that may show up in their personal and professional lives.

From the pilot that was launched in 2022, one participant shared in a post-assessment that participating in CCDP allowed them to “Build a sense of trust and shared experience with folks across a multitude of differences”. Another participant wrote, “It allowed me to learn more about myself because each time I see these resources I am in a different stage of my growth and may have increased awareness / experiences that broaden and change my beliefs and perspectives.”

At an institution that can be heavily siloed, CCDP bridges a gap for individuals across professions and holding various social identities to come together and develop skills that increase their sense of belonging and support their pursuit of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by Belonging, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion? 

BELONGING: Belonging is the quality or state of being connected as an essential part of the UMB community and culture and having a meaningful role in achieving the UMB Mission and Core Values. Projects may address participants’ experiences of being welcomed, invited, cared for and being provided education, experiences, services, interpersonal relationships, and professional development opportunities relevant to their intersectional positionalities and identities as whole people; for example*, hosting culturally relevant events or creating identity-based faculty and staff affinity groups. 


JUSTICE: Justice is equal rights and equitable opportunities and access for all members of the UMB community. Projects may address innovative sustainable solutions to advance greater access to resources and opportunities given UMB’s systemic challenges or historical associations with injustice; for example, leveraging institutional resources to systemically and sustainably redress historical and structural oppression, disparities, and barriers.


EQUITY: Equity is both a process and outcome that ensure fairness and equal access to opportunities, supports, and resources for UMB’s students, staff, and faculty. It differs from equality in that it takes into account structural factors and historical precedents leading to disparate outcomes for groups, and develops targeted measures, so that the end result is equal. Projects may address opportunities to assess and address organizational and population disparities, barriers, and access; for example, providing innovative and culturally relevant professional development opportunities for specific populations of UMB faculty, staff, and students or increasing opportunities for specific groups.


DIVERSITY: Diversity is all the individual and intersectional differences in our identities, such as age, carceral status, caring or dependency responsibilities, caste, culture, disability, education, ethnicity, family, gender identity and expression, immigration status, language, nationality, neurodiversity, occupation, political beliefs, race, relationship status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and more. Projects may address barriers that limit diversity at any level of participation or membership in the UMB community or in groups served by UMB; for example, addressing barriers in hiring or admissions practices or policies, or innovatively decolonizing academic programs.


INCLUSION: Inclusion is the full engagement, welcoming, valuing, and integration of all the diverse members of the UMB community; and it equitably distributes power while incorporating and recognizing brilliance, assets, opportunities, and perspectives in the design and implementation of activities, assessments, decision-making, policies, practices, and processes systemically at all levels within an organization. Projects may seek opportunities at UMB to create or further advance inclusive cultures, policies, and practices; for example, shifting assessment policies to address unconscious bias, providing professional development to reduce leadership barriers, or, the transformation of institutional policies, structures, and activities in order to maximize the diverse talents, backgrounds and perspectives of all students, faculty, administrators, and staff.

In sum, diversity refers to representation; inclusion to behaviors; equity to systems; belonging refers to; and justice relates to results.

*Examples to inspire, not limit.

What is meant by interprofessional/interdisciplinary? 

For this grant, interprofessional/interdisciplinary:

  • involve at least 2 disciplines/schools/units at UMB; and
  • include a combination of UMB full-time exempt staff and faculty in the creation of the project


Who can serve as primary applicants? 

Primary applicants must be full-time exempt staff and full-time faculty. Leadership of this grant can be configured in any way as long as there is at least one primary applicant and a lead partnership between full-time exempt staff and full-time faculty.

What help will grantees get with their projects from OEDI? 

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will disperse fund*and will be available for consultation and

advice as needed. The Office will organize the Early Fall 2023 Be JEDI Progress Convening and the Fall

2024 Be JEDI Innovation Grant Convening.


* Funds are drawn from State funds.

How will submissions be evaluated? 

A rubric will be used to evaluate submissions in 5 categories worth 10 points each.



Points Possible

Significance & Impact

  • Impact and increase belonging, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Goals
  • Methods
  • Impact on sustainable systemic changes supporting Theme 3: University Culture, Engagement, and Belonging.

10 points

Project Leadership & Collaboration

  • Collaborative partnerships between full-time staff and full-time faculty (interprofessional)
  • from two (2) or more disciplines, units, or Schools (interdisciplinary)
  • necessary EDI experience
  • project management experience and background

10 points


Organization & Approach

Feasibility of achieving goals as outlined in the program evaluation plan, timeline, deliverables, and work methods.

  • Program evaluation plan
  • Timeline (include milestones)
  • Deliverables
  • Methods

10 points



Budget & Budget Narrative

  • Justification
  • Organization
  • Feasibility of accomplishing goals

10 points



  • Feasibility of making sustainable systemic changes supporting Theme 3: University Culture, Engagement, and Belonging.
  • Potential for long-term sustainability through internal or external partnerships (e.g. department, school or external funding).

10 points





50 points

How will funds be managed? 

Funds will be dispersed to the SOAPF provided to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion by the lead
applicant’s School or unit. The grant-receiving team will manage the funds.

How will unspent funds be handled? 

At the conclusion of the grant, unspent funds will be returned to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Can grants be renewed? 

Depending on funding, impact, and new projects/initiatives submitted in the next grant cycle, grants may be eligible for a 1-year funding renewal. Please contact OEDI prior to the end of the grant if there is a possibility you may want to renew.