Diversity Equity Inclusion Task Force Report
Dear NASPAA members:
I write on behalf of the NASPAA Executive Committee to share with you the final report of the ad hoc NASPAA Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that was convened over this past summer and early fall. This task force was comprised of 6 members of NASPAA’s Diversity and Social Equity Committee and 6 members of the Executive Council. The charge was to propose a comprehensive framework and a DEI Action Plan to guide NASPAA’s work on these important issues over the coming years. The Task Force was asked to complete its work and present a final report in advance of NASPAA’s 2020 fall conference and concurrent Executive Council meeting. It was a tight time frame but the group met the deadline.
The Executive Council has officially taken receipt of the final report and is now turning to the work of prioritizing concrete action steps. There are a lot of recommendations in the report and we recognize that NASPAA will not be able to implement all of them in the near term, but rather will need to prioritize some actions and set longer term timelines for others. This will entail review and comment from all NASPAA staff and multiple NASPAA committees (listed on page 1 of the report). We propose the following immediate next steps:
- An open review and comment period for all NASPAA members. The DEI Task Force final report is posted BELOW. We encourage all NASPAA members to review the report and offer feedback, recommendations or implementation ideas in the comment form. We will review all comments received by January 15, 2021.
- A “deep dive” review and discussion with NASPAA staff and committee chairs. The chairs of all the committees listed in the report (pg 1) will be invited to a focused review and discussion of the task force report in the coming months to review and prioritize report recommendations. One key outcome of this deep dive will be ensuring clarity about where NASPAA has authority to act and where other entities (eg, COPRA with independence in assessing conformance to standards) may have greater ability to enact change.
- Review and decision on recommendation to adopt key definitions. The Report proposes and recommends adoption of definitions for four key terms that are used throughout NASPAA’s standards, accreditation guidance and other organizational documents: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Cultural Competence. We have created a side-by-side document (will be available soon) that includes current NASPAA definitions or descriptions for these terms and the recommended definitions. These, too, are posted on the website with a link to provide comments on the definitions. Following a period of review and comment the Executive Council will make a determination on this recommendation before the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Agreement on near term priority actions. The Task Force Report recommends near term actions in three critical areas: training, support for minority serving institutions, and data collection/assessment. Following review and input from NASPAA members, committee chairs and NASPAA staff with responsibilities in these areas, the Executive Council will make an official determination on these particular recommendations before the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.
- Ensuring staffing support for NASPAA’s DEI goals and priorities. Implementing the priorities outlined in the Task Force Report will require time and dedication from both NASPAA members and staff. In the coming months the Executive Council along with the Executive Director will identify specific staff responsibilities for not only implementing but also monitoring and ensuring accountability for this work.
In reviewing the final report you’ll note that while there are many specific action steps that NASPAA as a whole or through its extensive committee structure may adopt in the near term, intermediate or long term, the entire document is structured around a framework with 5 operational pillars central to the work of NASPAA. While specific actions will change, be completed or be revised over time, the task force recommends that these pillars remain stable for situating DEI efforts within and across NASPAA over time:
- Teaching and Learning
- Delivering diversity in NASPAA and our field
- Research and Recognition
- Annual Conference Planning
Please join me in extending gratitude to all the task force members (listed in the report) who dedicated substantial time this year to helping NASPAA prioritize our mission, live our values and embrace efforts to make us an ever more just and equitable organization. With all of us working together I’m confident we will achieve that to which we aspire.
Kind regards and all best wishes for a healthy and peaceful new year,
2020-2021 NASPAA President