The University of Michigan is committed to diversity and strives to create academic communities that are representative of the global society. The faculty, students and staff on our campus are from all cultural, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The University values the contributions of these diverse groups, not only as they impact our scientists and teachers in-training, but also for the real potential that their work can improve the health and welfare of traditionally underrepresented and disadvantaged populations around the world. As a top initiative of President Mark Schlissel, U-M is presently developing a comprehensive strategic plan to enhance diversity in all areas of the University.
The Rackham School of Graduate Studies maintains and coordinates initiatives for promoting diversity among graduate students at U-M. Holistic approaches and best practices are employed to recruit students to graduate programs and retain students once they arrive on campus. For example:
- The annual Ronald E. McNair Scholar Visitation Day includes connecting with prospective students and networking opportunities with McNair Directors. Students are invited from across the region to attend.
- The Graduate School offers Rackham Merit Fellowships (RMFs) which provide 2 years of support to students with a record of superior academic achievement who come from underrepresented educational, cultural, or geographic backgrounds, or who have experienced financial hardship as a result of family circumstances. Students supported by RMFs take part in workshops throughout the year that focus on academic adjustment, mentoring, and other areas of academic and professional development to give them a foundation for success in graduate school.
- The Graduate School sponsors the Students of Color of Rackham, a network for graduate students at U-M. Students of Color of Rackham dedicated to the social, cultural and academic well-being of students of color of African, Asian, Latino, and Native American descent.
The Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) works closely with the Medical School’s Diversity & Career Development Office and the Rackham Office of Graduate Student Success to ensure students' needs are met throughout their academic pursuits. Listed below are organizations and activities within the Medical School that are directed toward recruiting and retaining doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in our efforts to enhance diversity:
- The Medical School is the recipient of an NIH (NIGMS) Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program award that brings in 10 underrepresented minority students for a 1 year postbaccalaureate research experience.
- The Medical School and PIBS sponsor visits by PIs of NIGMS programs (RISE, MARC, Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program, etc.) to inform them of opportunities for their trainees at U-M.
- Annually, the Medical School sponsors a Fall Preview event for underrepresented minority students interested in biomedical sciences.
- The PIBS sends a contingent of staff and faculty to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and other meetings, ensuring that U-M always has a large presence at these
- important conferences.
- The PIBS sponsors faculty visits to historically black and Hispanic-serving colleges and provide materials and marketing tools
The University strives to ensure a welcoming and accommodating environment. It is the policy of U-M to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The University has invested substantial resources into the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, which performs assessments of both physical and mental disabilities and then provides adaptive strategies, technologies or other assistance that is appropriate to students' success in both the classroom and the laboratory. The Council for Disability Concerns promotes the development of a physical and social environment that provides full access to programs, services and facilities to every person in the University community. More recently, the University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies (UMInDS) has been established to advance knowledge about, by and for people with disabilities and to promote their full and equal participation in society.