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LISTEN: Marlina Duncan on how community can work together on diversity, equity, inclusion

New UMass Chan DEI pillar ‘allows for everyone to see themselves in the work’

Marlina Duncan, EdD, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, explains the ways in which her office is working to put diversity, equity and inclusion into practice across UMass Chan Medical School in a new Voices of UMass Chan podcast.

“I love to be in positions where I can have the power to allow folks to try, without that fear of failure, or failing forward,” Dr. Duncan said. “I think unfortunately, for so many marginalized communities, that’s the burden that we carry. ‘If I am not excellent at this, if I am not the best at this, I shouldn’t go for it.’”

When Duncan joined the senior leadership team at UMass Chan in December 2020, diversity, equity and inclusion were interwoven across the university. She is working with her team to create a roadmap to ensure the work is synced.

UMass Chan, under Duncan’s leadership, recently added a new DEI pillar to UMass Chan’s IMPACT 2025 Strategic Plan to guide actions and measure the progress of DEI efforts. The five priority areas of the new pillar include culture and climate; curriculum; education and engagement; recruitment, retention and advancement; and improvement and accountability. Duncan said she is looking forward to working with faculty, student groups and leadership to drive change.

“The thing that motivates me most with this plan is that I truly believe together we’re all part of this system,” Duncan said. “People usually like to say, ‘What’s the system? I can’t break through these barriers. I don’t know what role I play.’ I think this [pillar] allows for everyone to see themselves in the work and the real integral parts that they can play in making a change.”

Duncan said she became interested in diversity and inclusion issues as a science teacher at Doherty High School in Worcester.

“And that’s where my passion started really to develop around asking these critical questions around inclusion and diversity, particularly in STEM.” Duncan said.

Listen to the full podcast at:

Visit the Diversity and Inclusion Office website and read the weekly DIO UpNext! newsletter to learn about new resources, events and workshops for the UMass Chan community.

Related UMass Chan news stories:
Diversity, equity and inclusion pillar added to UMass Chan strategic plan
UMass Chan Medical School creates affinity groups to support faculty and staff of color
UMass Medical School selects Marlina Duncan to serve as vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion