The Campus Diversity Initiative Communications Checklist

by Grant Ingle

  • Develop one or two primary goals for the diversity initiative and state them in language easily understood both on and off the campus.
  • Encourage campus leaders to mention the initiative frequently; provide them with written material they can cite in speeches and other presentations. (The material might include updates on the initiative’s progress, compelling stories, data and analyses, a list of issues emerging across administrative divisions and departments, and so on.)
  • Bring a team including the chancellor, president, or provost to national and regional conferences to explain the project. Provide the team with talking points.
  • Early on, decide on a name for the initiative that incorporates key concepts and lends itself to abbreviation as an acronym.
  • Develop a graphic identity for the initiative, and use it on stationery and posters and in presentations about the initiative.
  • Develop a Web site about the initiative that clearly ties into the design and format of the “official” campus Web site, and make sure the initiative is frequently mentioned on other campus Web sites.
  • Present periodic in-person reports to leaders, governance groups (students, staff, faculty), unions, and other key constituencies.
  • Provide periodic updates about the status of the initiative in on-campus media (the student newspaper, e-mail messages to faculty and staff, Web announcements, and so on).
  • Issue press releases at key junctures to off-campus media, especially newspapers, such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, likely to cover the initiative in detail.
  • Make regular presentations at local, regional, and national conferences about the initiative; post presentation dates and locations on the Web site.
  • Include information about the initiative on national diversity sites such as http://www.diversityweb.org.
  • Write opinion pieces for national higher education audiences based on experiences with the initiative.

About the Author: Grant Ingle

Reprinted, with permission, from the September/October 2005 issue of Academe, the magazine of the American Association of University Professors.

Grant Ingle served as director of the Office of Human Relations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for sixteen years and for seven years was a member of the campuswide team that coordinates the Community, Diversity, and Social Justice Initiative. The initiative aims to make the university a more inclusive and equitable teaching, learning, working, and living community; see www.umass.edu/ohr/cdsj for details. He currently operates a private practice offering consultation and coaching to higher education institutions on issues of community, diversity, and social justice. He can be contacted at grant@ingle.ws.