The President's Message

President's Message, Bruce Jarrell

Each month, The President’s Message updates the UMB community on University initiatives; spotlights faculty, staff, and student achievements; and promotes upcoming UMB events.

A Culture of Equity and Justice

June 2022

Equity and justice are core values at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). This means we embrace and are committed to diversity, and we value inclusive and just communities. We oppose racism and oppression in all their forms.

A culture of equity and justice means that we prioritize and integrate equity — that we assess and address disparities, seek to listen and learn, create inclusive environments, speak up and act when we see injustice or inequity, and invest in justice. With all that has been going on in this country lately, equity and justice are especially needed, so I want to share with you where I see these core values at work here at UMB.

For the past 11 months, UMB’s chief equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) officer and vice president, Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, has invested her time to shaping UMB’s EDI work. This includes digging into the data at UMB; staffing the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; hosting a number of forums and conversations with groups about EDI; and developing priorities and goals to chart our way forward as a university.

This effort also includes EDI training for search committees to help identify and remove biases in hiring at UMB. In the fall, the EDI office will release a public-facing institutional dashboard — part of UMB’s system of accountability and assessment for how we are doing regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion. The institutional dashboard will map and track the current state and progress of EDI at UMB related to areas such as enrollment, employees, recruitment, retention, promotion, and access, giving us a clear picture and a roadmap for planning.

UMB has received recognition for our work related to diversity, including being named as one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity in 2022 by Forbes magazine. UMB ranked No. 109 out of 500 overall employers and No. 6 out of 40 educational institutions on the list. Diverse Issues in Higher Education listed UMB among its “Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs,” a national recognition that celebrates student affairs workplaces that are vibrant, diverse, supportive, and committed to staff work-life balance, professional development, and inclusive excellence. The School of Nursing received the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for the fourth consecutive year. In addition, folks from across the seven schools have served as panelists and speakers and been recognized at the local and national levels for their work in EDI.

Recently, the UMB President’s Fellows presented their white paper, “The State of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at UMB: Leveraging Inclusive Leadership to Develop and Implement EDI-Informed Curriculum.” The President’s Symposium and White Paper Project is an interprofessional initiative that engages faculty, staff, and students in a yearlong conversation about a topic that is of interest and importance to the University and community at large. The fellows shared:

“It is the responsibility of an anchor institution like UMB to address structural oppression head-on and to act on issues of EDI from an anti-racism and anti-oppression perspective. In this spirit, we the President’s Fellows embarked on a journey of research and interviews to determine the state of EDI at UMB, and best practices that can be integrated on the student, faculty, and staff levels to demonstrate the institution’s commitment to EDI-informed curriculum, and inclusive leadership. We acknowledge the work that has been done up to this point at UMB, and we provide strategies for UMB to implement for the future.”

This year’s fellows evaluated leadership and structures related to advancing EDI at UMB by looking at six variables: access, accountability, leadership groups, pipeline programs, training, and university engagement. Then they compared those to the EDI programs at other institutions and universities. They acknowledged that “UMB leadership understands the importance of EDI” but called for broader action to build an EDI-informed university environment. Their paper includes a list of recommendations for UMB, and I invite you to read it. (Download the white paper at this link.)

I am glad that there is concerted work at the institutional level related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. I also know that across the seven schools there are teams and individuals committed to this work and even more who are learning about and taking steps to create a culture of equity and justice at UMB. It is part of every single person’s role at UMB to work on equity and justice. It is challenging work, but it is shared work, and when we do it right, every person at UMB will have a sense of belonging and be supported to succeed. That is what makes it so important.

I want everyone to live in a healthy, inclusive, and just community. As we continue to see horrible acts of violence and hatred around the country, we need to work for equity and justice now more than ever. Join me in this work.

Sincerely,

Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS

President