During the summer of 2016, with the approaching launch of the Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan (DEI), the Vice President for Student Life along with the Dean of Students established institutional student advisory boards to provide consistent student engagement and service to the implementation leads of each DEI action team. One board would seek to represent the interests of undergraduate students and the other the interests of graduate and professional students. These student advisory boards (DEISABs) were promoted to the campus community throughout the beginning of the fall semester and students were encouraged to apply to serve.
One hundred twenty-five applications for the DEISABs were received in October 2016. All applicants were invited to participate in group interview sessions. Group interviews were framed as an aspirational and constructive conversation about UM becoming a more inclusive environment where people of all identities could thrive. Before they began, interviewees were advised to engage in the conversation with one another and to share experiences and ideas in response to the prompt. The interviews were observed by staff and student evaluators who then identified applicants from each round to advance in the selection process.
During final selection, priority was given to students who engaged thoughtfully, demonstrated respect for the other participants and their points of view, offered constructive observations, and conveyed an interest in partnering with the university on DEI efforts to be selected. Following group interviews, applicants who advanced were each considered for how they contributed to the overall composition of the undergraduate or graduate/professional board. Students were selected to represent each school or college and the wide range of social identities held by the student body.
Twenty-five students were selected for the Graduate/Professional Board and twenty-six were selected for the Undergraduate Board. Membership on the DEISABs was defined as being for two years, with ten seats reserved for students who were completing their programs of study during the current academic year. These seats will be filled again.