February 2022

Charting a Path for UMB Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

February 11, 2022    |  

The road map for a new future of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore continues to be charted with some landmarks along the way.

The UMB Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team (from left): Bill Joyner, director; Diane Forbes Berthoud, chief EDI officer and vice president; Reetta Gach, executive assistant.

The UMB Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) team (from left): Bill Joyner, director; Diane Forbes Berthoud, chief EDI officer and vice president; Reetta Gach, executive assistant.

Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, UMB’s chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer and vice president, led a virtual town hall Feb. 9 along with her recently hired staff to update the University community on the progress of her newly created office.

“It’s important for us to be strategic about what we’re doing, to have key ideas, metrics, and ways forward and a plan to improve equity, diversity, inclusion and enhance our initiatives,” Forbes Berthoud said.

One initiative that will be implemented is a Universitywide data dashboard that will provide a snapshot of the diversity landscape at UMB. That can include retention rates, graduation rates, time to tenue for faculty, and more.

“I’ve been working with our senior colleagues to create a more coherent picture of our data,” Forbes Berthoud said.

That data has shown immediate opportunities for faculty in underrepresented areas. The EDI office will work to expand the promotion of UMB’s membership to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s Faculty Success Program.

“I was able to sponsor, along with the deans, one to two faculty members who are underrepresented in their disciplines to be a part of this program that involves coaching, mentoring — you can work on a writing project, you get to meet diverse faculty from across the U.S. and in multiple disciplines, and you can be in various cohorts to improve and strengthen your faculty research, teaching, and service if those are your goals,” Forbes Berthoud said.

On an institutional level of networking, the EDI office is working with Academic Affairs on creating the Faculty Fellows Initiative for Equitable Teaching, Writing, Research, and Assessment.

“This initiative is focused on anti-racist pedagogy, inclusive pedagogy, and ways in which we might develop our faculty who are interested in these areas to improve and enhance the experience of students in learning environments,” Forbes Berthoud said.

There likely will be a buildout of more affinity groups for faculty and staff, too, in collaboration with Academic Affairs. These could be groups for women; for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color faculty; or other groups.

“Building affinity groups is always very helpful for any group, in fact, to be among persons who are either likeminded in terms of discipline, identity-based, or expertise,” Forbes Berthoud said.

Since Forbes Berthoud’s arrival in July, she has met with many stakeholder groups — with many more to come — to examine where and how data on key metrics are stored and presented. Since January, she has added two staff members to help take charge.

They are Bill Joyner, JD, MSW, director of EDI, and Reetta Gach, MS, MBA, executive assistant to the chief EDI officer and vice president. (Read more about Joyner’s and Gach’s roles and backgrounds at this link.)

Joyner, who will focus on building the EDI infrastructure across UMB and its schools, will focus on developing policies, trainings, and accountability measures.

“This is developing policies, launching and managing web-based resources, trainings, those kinds of things,” Joyner said. “I’m really excited to be working on this and working on this with all of you for our campus village.”

Gach will help manage and co-manage projects, communications, events, and co-sponsorship opportunities. She said a new EDI website is in the works, as well. The EDI office can be reached at diversity@umaryland.edu to ask questions or offer ideas.