“I will tell you in a university, or anywhere for that matter, excellence won't happen without having a focus also on equity,” University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, told the UMB community Nov. 9 in his State of the University Address at Baltimore’s historic Hippodrome Theatre.
It was no offhand comment. Equity, taken together with Justice, is one of the University’s four core values. Encompassed within that value are two other important ideas: diversity — who’s in the room, whether it’s the classroom or the boardroom, and inclusion — an environment of respect and belonging, with real involvement in every aspect of what we do.
But without equity — not just fairness of opportunity, or even fairness in our actions — without fair and equitable results, diversity and inclusion lose much of their meaning.
That is why in 2021 Jarrell emphasized equity in the creation of the University’s inaugural Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In January of that year, the woman chosen as the first leader of that effort, Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, told an audience of UMB students, faculty, and staff about her vision for the role.
“Equity is really thinking about what the history and the structural barriers have been for traditionally marginalized populations, for groups that are underserved and underrepresented,” she said. “Equity is concerned with barriers and disparities and recognizing them, first of all. So, we have to know what they are by looking at the data and working to eliminate or address those disparities and barriers.”
Among the many things the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has been working on since its inception is a groundbreaking tool to gather, display, and use data, hard facts, about the current state and progress of EDI at the University. The data dashboard, set to be unveiled Dec. 15, will track hiring, promotion, presence, retention, and much more throughout the University, in every school and department. The idea is to provide deans, vice presidents, and other institutional leaders the ability to map areas of strength and opportunity to address EDI gaps and opportunities and develop change and implementation strategies.
Forbes Berthoud joined UMB Provost, Executive Vice President, and Graduate School Dean Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MPA, MSL, on Nov. 17 on Virtual Face to Face with President Bruce Jarrell. Following a fact-filled discussion of the EDI dashboard and other OEDI projects, Ward and Forbes Berthoud engaged the virtual audience in a wide-ranging discussion of the state of EDI and the progress of efforts to improve hiring, retention, the inclusiveness of the environment, and much more.
Watch the entire discussion by accessing the video at the top of this page.