ISR Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Faculty, staff help shape ISR Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan

February 18, 2015
By Dory Knight-Ingram

As members of the University of Michigan community hold engagement activities in support of U-M President Mark Schlissel’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Strategic Planning Initiative, ISR is helping move DE&I strategic planning efforts forward.

On January 26, more than 160 ISR faculty and staff met to talk about ISR’s DE&I plan. Participants shared views on their current work environments, and ideas for the future.

Each person was asked to address three questions:

  1. What is ISR’s biggest challenge in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion?
  2. What do you envision a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive ISR will look like?
  3. What is one action that we could take that would move us toward that vision?

Participants shared concerns and ideas during a report-out of table discussions. Among them: reflecting the communities we research and teach; creating opportunities to collaborate across ISR; recruiting in communities as opposed to more elite institutions; increasing gender diversity in ISR leadership at ISR; considering diversity in all decision-making bodies; making summer opportunities available to high school students; being more inclusive to part-time/hourly workers, post-docs and temps; and supporting diversity of religion.

U-M Vice Provost Robert M. Sellers said ISR and units across the university, in taking part in this process, are publicly demonstrating a re-commitment to DEI issues.

ISR Director David Lam said that there will be more chances to participate in the development of ISR’s DE&I plan. “When the draft is prepared, it will be shared and available for comment and suggestions by all members of the ISR community,” he said, adding that ISR intends to have a plan in place before the end of the academic year.

Letter to ISR Community from ISR Director David Lam

October 29, 2015

Dear ISR Community,

The campus-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Planning Initiative was officially launched by President Schlissel on September 9, 2015. As part of the initiative, every unit on campus will be using this academic year to develop a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan that will become part of the campus-wide strategic plan.

ISR has always had a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I am pleased that President Schlissel has launched this new initiative. ISR will be joining actively in the initiative. I want to bring you up to date on the planning process we are putting in place.

Maggie Levenstein has agreed to serve as the ISR representative to the campus-wide planning process. She has already been actively engaged in meeting with Vice Provost Rob Sellers and the representatives from other units. Maggie will chair a faculty steering committee composed of representatives from each ISR center that will guide the ISR strategic planning process. The rest of the committee is comprised of distinguished members of ISR faculty. Thanks very much to this group of faculty for agreeing to guide this important process.

I have also appointed two other subcommittees that will work with the steering committee. One will focus on staff recruitment, career development, and climate. Another committee will focus on teaching and training. These committees were appointed in consultation with the steering committee, the center directors, and the center administrators. Our Human Resources staff will also be available as consultants and advisors.

We are also fortunate to have the Director’s Advisory Committee on Diversity (DACD) as a longstanding ISR committee that will be an important resource to all of the committees during the planning process. We will also be sure that all members of the ISR community have opportunities to provide input to the planning process.

Questions or comments can be sent to For more information on the U-M initiative, please visit

David Lam
Director, Institute for Social Research
Professor, Department of Economics
University of Michigan; 734-763-2491

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