About the
Gopher Equity Project

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

The University is committed to creating a campus experience that allows all students to learn, grow and thrive; and honoring and valuing the diversity of our student body, as each of you is an important member of our community with unique gifts that enhance the teaching and learning experience.

~President Joan Gabel

Project Background

The Gopher Equity Project is truly a campus-wide collaboration. In 2019, the Multicultural Student Success Committee recommended that the Twin Cities campus implement a diversity, equity and inclusion online educational module for new students as they begin their UMN career. The idea of a campus-wide training was seen as a positive introduction to the campus community and initial effort to improve campus climate for all students.

The Pilot

A pilot was launched in fall 2019 to solicit student feedback. The pilot was supported by the College of Liberal Arts, Office of Undergraduate Education, Office of Student Affairs and Office for Equity and Diversity with the majority of student participants involved in the CLA President’s Emerging Scholars and Martin Luther King, Jr Program. The goal of the pilot was to have students experience the module and provide feedback regarding its implementation to a broader student population. With 520 students participating and 342 completing the survey, student feedback was extremely positive with 93% agreeing that the module was an effective introduction to DEI and 90% recommending the University to offer this module to undergraduate students. Here are some of their thoughts:

“It contains very important information and could educate people on how to be a contributor to making the U of M a welcoming place.”

“Students coming to the U are from a wide range of backgrounds and are about to experience a very unique climate full of diverse perspectives. I feel it is essential for the U to offer an introduction to DEI through this module."

“As a PWI [predominantly white institution] there are many students who don't learn about any of this in their high schools, because diversity is such a big topic at U of M it allows the freshman to be ready for the conversation.”

Reviewers also agreed that an online module was only the start. The Gopher Equity Project, launching fall 2020, offers the online module for all undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus, follow-up discussions in first-year courses or campus-wide Discussion Groups, and a website with additional resources.

Gopher Equity Project is sponsored by:

Office of Undergraduate Education

Office for Equity and Diversity

Office for Student Affairs

Multicultural Student Success Steering Committee

A Special Thanks to:

The 125+ student, staff and faculty Discussion Group Facilitators

The Multicultural Student Success Committee, Steering Committee and Pilot Implementation Team

Minnesota Student Association and students participating in the pilot

Multicultural Student Engagement Program

Donors who made this project possible

AND

Laura Adesoro, Office of Undergraduate Education

Alexander Hines, College of Liberal Arts

Anise Mazone, Office for Student Affairs

LeeAnn Melin, Office of Undergraduate Education

Abdulaziz Mohamed, Multicultural Student Engagement

Najmo Yusuf, Multicultural Student Engagement, OSA

dr. becky martinez, Infinity Martinez Consulting and Social Justice Training Institute