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Campus Climate Initiative History

African drum performance at the Shades of Africa event

Campus Climate History


In fall 2016, the results of UMD’s climate survey were presented to campus.
Campus Climate Survey Results:  Executive summary    |   Full report   |     Results presentation   |    Extended Results presentation

UMD added a major in Hispanic Studies to its strong academic offerings and UMD received two Equity & Diversity Transformation Awards from the University of Minnesota system.


In 2015, UMD added language recognizing the value of individual effort to improve the campus climate to annual performance evaluations for staff members. This is consistent with current P&A performance evaluation language. Performance evaluations for campus leaders were updated to include an assessment of each individual’s contributions to advancing UMD’s Strategic Plan Goal #2 of creating an inclusive campus environment for all.

In fall 2015, gender inclusive housing was offered at UMD, placing it among the first wave of universities in the state to do so. Students can select apartments in which their roommates can be any combination of genders.

In the fall of 2015, all UMD students, faculty, and staff were asked to take the Campus Climate Survey. This campus-wide climate survey is one example of how the university plans to benchmark and continue our progress towards delivering on that goal.


In fall 2013, UMD staff and faculty participated in a training/orientation program presented by Alliance for Change.  The goal of this program was to intentionally embed the values of social justice into the work and training of students and staff in Admissions, Housing and Residence Life, Athletics, Office of Cultural Diversity, First Year Experience and Students in Transition, Recreational Sports Outdoor Program, Kirby Student Center, Kirby Leadership Program and the new faculty orientation program.

Chancellor Black wrote a letter to campus regarding a racial incident.  

In Fall 2013, UMD began collecting information for an Annual Campus Incident Report.


In 2012, UMD established a process to hire two to three pre-doctoral fellows from underrepresented groups. This program creates successful mentoring experiences and provides supportive work environments and resources to prepare the fellows for the next step in their careers.

A curriculum integration project named “How Did you Come to be Here?” Included Campus Forums and an extensive website. The interactive performance Land of Plenty was presented.

In May 2013 the Shades of Africa Concert Series was presented.

In May 2013, UMD created a cabinet-level leadership position, Faculty Fellow for Intercultural Initiatives, to facilitate campus climate initiatives for faculty, staff, administration, and students.  The Fellow also served as co-chair of the Campus Change Team.


Administrators from UMD attended Kathy Obear's workshop on search procedures and policies in March 2012. Kathy Obear also presented to facilitators in 2011 and 2013.

In January 2012, an American Indian Program Unit Change Team (UCT) was formed

On April 27, 2012, through a partnership of several Unit Change Teams with Facilities Management, the campus developed a policy of including gender-neutral restrooms in new and renovated campus buildings.

An African and African American Film Series with John Arthur was held

A project to integrate cultural diversity and social justice into the Foundations of Environmental Education curriculum through a partnership with the East Hillside Patch Mind 2 Mind after school program with Julie Ernst was initiated.

A Diversity Dialogue with acclaimed black American soprano Geraldine McMillian and pianist David Mayfield with Elias Mokole was held.

A presentation by Kao Kalia, a Minnesota Hmong American writer and author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir with Hli Vang was held.

In November of 2011, UMD received the 2011 Equity and Diversity Outstanding Unit Award from the University of Minnesota’s Office of Equity and Diversity, located on the Twin Cities campus.

2010 - 2011

In August of 2010, Chancellor Lendley Black announced a major campus initiative to create an inclusive campus climate for all who learn and work at UMD and to create a comprehensive roadmap for the university.

UMD created an organizational structure to support and sustain campus change with a Leadership, Campus Change Teams, and Unit Change Teams.

Respectful Workplace Workshop commenced with 16 workshops with 606 attendees.

In May 2011, UMD adopted a Strategic Plan which included Goal #2: “Create a positive and inclusive campus climate for all by advancing equity, diversity, and social justice.”

In May 2011, UMD reaffirmed its commitment to majors, minors and graduate programs that align with cultural competency and diversity education.   

Majors: American Indian Studies, Cultural Entrepreneurship, French Studies, Hispanic Studies, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Minors: African and African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Cultural Studies, Deaf Studies, French Studies, German Studies, International Studies, Hispanic Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Tribal Law and Government, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.  

Graduate Programs: This academic focus includes graduate programs also, such as the Master of Tribal Administration and Governance.

UMD created several change teams to systematically survey the campus, make recommendations, and carry out projects and programs to support a positive and inclusive campus climate. Nearly 300 campus members serve on these 18 unit  teams

UMD’s Campus Change Leadership Team established a Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT) to respond quickly to incidents that harm the university's climate.  In addition to facilitating a timely and appropriate response, the Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT) regularly reviews and analyzes how incidents are handled.

UMD developed a schedule of and deployed the first two Campus Climate surveys or Campus Climate Assessments  It also initiated student focus group discussions to identify problem areas and focus future work.


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