More colleges are seeking to institutionalize DEI through rubrics, diversity statements

The latest findings from Campus Reform highlight how pervasive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion doctrine continues to be throughout higher education hiring and courses.

Various colleges have adopted the UC system's rubric model, which rates faculty more favorably if they meet guidelines like ensuring DEI principles are "recognized and valued" in class syllabi.

Despite recent pushback, many American colleges and universities are still heavily relying on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) rubrics to evaluate courses and campus policies, in addition to promoting “diversity statements” for faculty considerations.

The University of California, Irvine provides faculty members with a Course Design Rubric to help them develop “a diverse, equitable, and inclusive teaching and learning environment.” It includes eight dimensions like “Human Cognitive Bias,” “Building Relationships,” and “Access.” 

To have an effective syllabus and course design, the rubric states that those materials should indicate that “Diversity and Inclusion are explicitly recognized and valued.”

[RELATED: The faculty DEI statement is ‘The New Loyalty Oath’]

UC Irvine’s rubric is based on one that the University of California system developed in 2022, and is utilized by other UC schools like UC Merced.

Brandeis University also incorporates the UC rubric to advance its own DEI-related goals. Brandeis uses diversity statements to evaluate prospective employees when adding new faculty members. 

A top score on the rubric for advancing DEI means that a Brandeis faculty applicant “[i]ntends to be a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within the department/school/college and also their field,” and “[r]eferences activities already taking place at Brandeis and in the field, and how additional or new activities would advance diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The College of Engineering at Ohio State University uses a similar rubric that requests that applicants explain the meaning of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and how each term has “merit.” Additionally, applicants must demonstrate “specific personal strategies to foster them in the workplace.”

[RELATED: University system drops DEI statements, rubric from hiring process]

Similarly, Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts has an “Equity Policy Review,” which prompts university departments to examine their DEI policies internally. One question that departments must consider is: “What strategies are in place to ensure that DEI principles have been incorporated into any plans for data implementation, collection, analysis, and reporting?”

In a statement provided to Campus Reform, Fitchburg State Director of Communications Matthew Bruun wrote that the policy review was “created as an instrument to help members of our community consider intentional or unintentional bias in their existing, new and proposed policies.” He also said that the school “engages in this work to support all students, including members of historically marginalized groups.”

In June, Campus Reform reported that the University of Washington’s DEI rubric was designed to help academic departments “progress toward DEI goals and develop action plans to institutionalize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices and procedures.”

Campus Reform contacted each school listed for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.