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The Diversity & Inclusion Blog

CEOD Year End Annual Report Message

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

This is the transcript of the Co-Chairs section of the presentation. To see the recorded zoom meeting click here.


Welcome to the year-end celebration and annual report of the Committee on Equal Opportunity and Diversity for our sponsor, Chancellor Collins, Provost Flotte and our university community.  We appreciate everyone who is taking this time to join us and remember or learn about what we have been doing as well as our plans for next year.

Last year, Ken wanted to do something different, so we did a skit.  Ken, how’s this year working for you?

It has been an extraordinary year.  We have faced the COVID-19 pandemic and our community has risen to the occasion in so many ways.  From the leadership, to the caregivers, to the researchers, to the educators, to all the support workers, to those of us that have returned to campus, those of us that are working from home and to those who took furlough on behalf of our institution.  We are all doing our part.  The University is still running, just in different and sometimes creative ways. 

We are dealing with the pain and sadness of the inconceivable murder of George Floyd.  In his memory, the world has been protesting to bring an end to racism and all the damage it causes.  We as a community have gathered in person and virtually to voice our sadness and support and to learn from those who have experienced it personally.  As the Chancellor and Provost wrote in their letter last week, “At UMMS, we embrace and celebrate the full richness of people, perspectives and experiences. We aspire to create an academic community where all are—and feel—welcome and able to thrive”.

The Committee on Equal Opportunity and Diversity was created to help give everyone a voice and our goal is to help make the University a welcoming and safe place for all.  

Over the last year the CEOD has seen a lot of changes, particularly with people leaving and joining. We must thank the Diversity and Inclusion Office for all their help in keeping us going:  Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor, Diversity & Inclusion, Marlene Tucker, Diversity Manager John Trobaugh, Executive Assistant, Holly Brown, and Project Coordinator, Fernanda Gama.  Despite all of the chaos going on around us they have managed to keep our meetings going and worked with us to figure out ways to continue our work even if it isn’t happening quite the way we originally planned.

This year we began working on improving communication with not only our members but also the community.  We started building in Microsoft Teams but unfortunately were moved off course by the pandemic.  The good news is that many of us have learned to use Teams as we try to negotiate our new ways of working so it may not be as foreign a concept as it was when we started. We also maintained our goal to be true collaborators and consultants. We collaborated with Jennifer Berryman and the Office of Communications on a video project supporting our revised Mission and Vision Statement. We began working with HR and the plan to bring forward a learning management system as experts in diversity and inclusion. Our involvement in the interviewing process of Candidates for Senior Level Executive Leadership positions is recognized and well supported.

Our plans for next year are to actively support the 2025 Strategic Plan because it intertwines diversity into every part of our University and community.   It has been built into all the strategic goals for Education, Basic Science Research, Translational Research, Community & Global Impact and Operational Excellence & Financial Stewardship.   This means that everyone at UMass will be involved. 



Academic Health Science Centers support missions for education, discovery and leading-edge care. They aim to improve the health of people and communities locally and afar. The UMMS CEOD fully supports our mission to advance the health and well-being of our diverse communities throughout Massachusetts and across the world by leading and innovating in education, research, healthcare delivery and public service. We believe that to successfully carry out this work, a harmony needs to exist among our institutional climate, our patterns of behaviors, and our beliefs, values and assumptions supporting diversity and inclusion. In simpler words, we must practice what we preach.

To move to action, our intention is:

  • To engage in the Science of Improvement using repetitive PDSA cycles to better understand what we are trying to accomplish? What changes can we make that will result in improvement? And, How do we know that change has resulted in improvement?
  • And to monitor progress through analysis of data from our diversity engagement survey and the expertise of Dr. Sharina Person, Vice Chair, Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences.

As we celebrate this academic year, we look forward to collaboration with our University leaders and the DIO to engage in more robust efforts towards creating a culture of inclusion and operationalizing the mission for diversity. It is our desire to help create a work environment on our campuses where no one EVER feels excluded and where no one EVER feels that they cannot be their true selves.

That being said, we are recommending priority support at all levels of our organization for speaking up against racism and violence against Black people. To be more consciously aware that racism exists in our daily lives, we suggest a routine practice of critical reflection. This process questions individual and societal assumptions, disrupts unhelpful power relations and strives for social change. A good start for our organization would be consideration for the following questions.

  • In what ways is our organization taking action to fight against racism?
  • What measures have we put into place to support our Black employees and the communities that we serve during these challenging times?
  • How are we educating our workforce so that they can act as upstanders when witnessing acts of racism and bigotry?
  • How are we supporting anti-racist and social justice organizations whose work is needed now more than ever?

We are encouraged by the leadership support for the search for a permanent Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and for the newly created position to recruit a Vice Provost for Health Equity. However, we need EVERYONE to stay engaged more than ever. As Edyie mentioned earlier, the Committee on Equal Opportunity and Diversity was created to help give everyone a voice and that our goal is to help make the University a welcoming and safe place for all. Let us be the Peace and let us advance health and well-being for not just a deserving few, or the many, but for ALL. Let us value human dignity for ALL human beings.

Without further ado, it is our honor and privilege for you to hear the voices of our experts in residence, the chairs of the subcommittees for the CEOD.