To announce the institutional vision for IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment) and to respond to the Stanford community’s concerns unearthed in the 2021 DEI Survey, the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community released the IDEAL strategic plan, which charts a path forward for this university-wide effort.

Read the full plan here.

The survey focused on the individual experiences of community members and included questions about inclusion and belonging, as well as questions about experiences with harassing and discriminatory behavior. Some of the findings included incidents of harmful interpersonal interactions; experiences of isolation and lack of voice; problematic university structures and power dynamics; and ineffective systems for reporting and responding to incidents.

“Since the inception of the IDEAL initiative in 2018, we’ve made progress in advancing an environment of equity, inclusion, and belonging. However, given the results of the survey, we clearly have more work to do, and this plan outlines the next steps,” said Provost Persis Drell.

“The IDEAL strategic plan was developed with an acknowledgment of the concerns raised in the 2021 climate survey and the pressing need to address them. I want to thank the many dedicated community members who worked in close collaboration for the past two years to formulate this thoughtful and responsive plan,” said Drell.

Four overarching goals were formulated through extensive input from the university community. They are:

  1. Reinforce Stanford’s commitment to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible university environment while at all times upholding the fundamental principles of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and excellence.
  2. Enhance the campus culture by facilitating an environment where members of the Stanford community have a voice, are actively engaged, and experience a sense of belonging while interacting with the university’s living, learning, working, and research environments.
  3. Advance equity through policies, practices, and infrastructure that ensure all members of our community have full and equitable access to resources, rewards, and opportunities.
  4. Increase diversity and representation across the enterprise. Identify gaps and use insights to broaden the diversity of students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff.

“The purpose of the plan is to serve as a “North Star” that will guide transformative change in our campus culture. By encouraging alignment and collaborative efforts across the university through IDEAL, we will advance initiatives that support these four institutional IDEAL goals,” said Patrick Dunkley, vice provost for institutional equity, access, and community. “Progress toward achieving these goals will move us closer to the campus culture we strive for where people are valued for being their authentic selves and are respected for their differences.”

Dunkley said that a secondary purpose of the plan is to remedy a lack of clarity about the IDEAL initiative by providing a clear-cut and comprehensive definition of IDEAL for the Stanford community.

The IDEAL Strategic Plan also marks the transition of IDEAL from a set of university-sponsored initiatives to an umbrella framework that will support university-wide work contributing to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. Within this framework, the university will align efforts across multiple schools, units, and departments; scale successful practices; and promote a consistent message of inclusive excellence.

“The students, staff, and faculty on our campus have been an integral part of every step of the development of the strategic plan, and their continued engagement will be critical to our implementation efforts,” said Dunkley.

“Since the IDEAL initiative was launched in 2018, a tremendous amount of time, effort, and thoughtful consideration by a large number of people around the university has gone into the initiative and now this Strategic Plan report, and I am extremely grateful to have the benefit of that work to learn from and build upon,” said incoming Provost Jenny Martinez, who will assume her new role on Oct. 1.

“As we undergo a change of university leadership, it’s important to reaffirm the commitment from the top to the value of diversity. The university’s core missions of knowledge creation and education both depend on ensuring that a diverse set of voices are welcome and included in the conversation, that everyone on campus is treated with respect, and that we remove barriers that prevent people from reaching their full potential,” said Martinez.

About the 2021 DEI Survey

In May 2021, Stanford administered the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) survey to students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff. Designed by Stanford’s Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support, the survey was based on a year-long process that included extensive community feedback and review of existing survey research. Nearly 15,000 students, postdocs, faculty, and staff took part in the survey.