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Sculpture with text, "Right is of no sex. Truth is of no color."

DEI Strategic Plan

The Charge

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Patty Perillo has charged a DEI Strategic Planning Committee to create a plan for driving our division’s anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion work to deeper and more meaningful levels. This plan is our committment to removing barriers and changing practices that perpetuate institutional racism and other forms of inequality. We must create environments that enable everyone to be uplifted, cared for, and fiercely supported so that they can bring their whole selves to the classroom and workplace.

Our Promise to You

The Division of Student Affairs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan is the roadmap for making our university a more inclusive place. Through this plan, we aim to:

  • End the legacy of systemic exclusion and oppression that operates in higher education and at UMD. 
  • Prepare our students to become the next generation of leaders who will build an anti-racist society. 
  • Promote belonging and joy among our diverse student and staff communities at UMD.

The plan is more than an affirmation of values. It’s how we invest in our people and communities. And, it will create true change. 

Defining "IDEAS"

Our plan expands our understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It includes Anti-Racism and Social Justice. Together, these terms spell IDEAS.  

Inclusion is an ongoing and intentional process of creating a respectful and affirming climate for all members of the community to achieve their full potential.*

The ultimate outcome of inclusion is an environment where each member has a sense of belonging. Each member feels welcomed, connected, supported, and valued.

Our Actions

We use inclusive practices to achieve excellence by:

  • Valuing different and diverse histories, contributions, knowledges, and experiences
  • Commiting to the wellbeing of all individuals and communities
  • Addressing inequities in power and privilege to eliminate barriers that may exist across identities and experiences
  • Inspiring all members of the university community to demonstrate their strengths, talents, and abilities in service to each other and advancing the public good.

* Uses elements of UMD’s Dept. of Resident Life definition, Dean of Students Office values language, the UMD Strategic Plan, UDept. of Psychology D&I Mission Statement, TerrapinStrong, and AACU Inclusive Excellence

Diversity refers to the differences and similarities in individual and collective identities that connect to power and privilege, and their intersections.

These include, but are not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, ability, neurodiversity, religious, spiritual or ethical values system, nationality, and immigration status. 

Our Actions

We embrace our community's diverse identities, experiences, and values. We must consistently and actively strive to create an environment in which all members of the community are valued and served equitably.

Equity ensures that every member of our diverse community has the support, opportunities, and resources according to their needs to be successful and thrive. At times, this will include differences in resources in order to correct historical inequities. 

Our Actions

We are committed to:

  • Ongoing assessment of needs 
  • Eliminating barriers 
  • Promoting fairness
  • Confronting injustice and correcting systemic inequities

Anti-racism* is an active process. It requires an everyday commitment to making unbiased and equitable choices that will dismantle White supremacy and anti-Blackness within individual practices, organizational policies, and institutional structures.

Some ways that White supremacy and anti-Blackness appear include:

  • Racist actions and attitudes toward Black; Native American Indian/Indigenous; Latinx; Asian, Pacific Islander, Desi American; and multiracial individuals and communities
  • Oppression resulting from intersectionality based on gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, class, culture, ethnicity, and geography

Our Actions

We commit to using an anti-racist framework and strategy to address and correct multiple factors of discrimination and privilege. This includes:

  • Acknowledging the inherent link between racism and other forms of power and oppression
  • Engaging in proactive inquiry and education to analyze attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, systems, structures, practices, and policies to dismantle racism and White supremacy
  • Proactively expand work to center the voices of marginalized groups.

*Adapted from American University School of Education and National Museum of African American History & Culture.


Social justice acknowledges that individuals and groups do not share equal power within our campus community and in society. Social justice involves a proactive commitment to creating fairness and equity in treatment, rights, and access to resources.**

Our Actions

We commit to identifying and addressing inequities through assessment, action, and accountability. This includes:

  • Redistributing resources recognizing that there are some communities that have not been given full access
  • Respecting and including populations that have been left out of key conversations and decision-making
  • Looking at how we restructure, reorganize our society, and re-envision policies to ensure we are thinking about marginalized populations from the beginning
  • Collaborating with students and staff to advocate for systemic change and equitable practices, policies, and decision-making at institutional and state levels.

*Adapted from American Psychological Association Equity Diversity and Inclusion Framework


Inclusive Excellence Focus Areas

The committee will focus its review and recommendations on four areas:

DEI Inclusive Excellence Focus Areas
  • Recruitment and Retention: How we support the recruitment and retention of a diverse student and staff population.
  • Infrastructure: How we can build our operations plans, policies, finances and structures to make our division more equitable and just. This can involve redistributing resources to those communities that have not been given full access.
  • Learning and Development: How we advance learning and development related to diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and social justice.
  • Culture, Climate, and Community Building: How we can create a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can thrive. This means making our campus overall a more inclusive, equitable and just place.

DEI Strategic Plan Committee


  • Brian Watkins, Family Engagement
  • Nicole Mehta, Resident Life


  • Sean Ballantine, Residential Facilities
  • Bridgette Behling, Stamp Student Union
  • Lorae Bonamy-Lohve, Graduate Student Life
  • Branden Elmore Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education
  • Shelvia English, Incentive Awards Program
  • Jennifer Enriquez, Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy
  • Yvette Lerma Jones, Student Affairs Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Lydia Nicholson, Development & External Relations
  • Ben Parks, College Park Scholars
  • Allynn Powell, University Career Center
  • Joann Prosser, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Tony Randall, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Malia Witherspoon, Conferences & Visitor Services
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