LIFT: ASU's commitment to Black students, faculty and staff
In order to accelerate meaningful change here at ASU and to contribute to a national agenda for social justice, ASU has committed to a series of actions known as the LIFT (Listen, Invest, Facilitate, Teach) Initiative. These actions are in response to an accumulation of ideas, and public comments from ASU’s students, faculty and staff. LIFT is being undertaken with the goal of enhancing diversity, growth and opportunity for Black undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, while also expanding ASU's academic offerings, community services and collaborative relationships to the benefit of all underrepresented groups and individuals at ASU.
The LIFT initiative
A university-wide effort launched to address social transformation in the spirit of ASU’s charter, the LIFT Initiative is committed to the implementation of 25 actions designed to support Black faculty, staff and students at ASU. Achieving LIFT’s aims will support ASU’s ongoing efforts to develop and advance a culture of belonging and excellence. Under four categories that endeavor to Listen, Invest, Facilitate and Teach, LIFT’s 25 actions welcomes the collaboration and participation of all members of the ASU community.
lisᐧten /’lis(ə)n/ verb make an effort to hear; pay attention; take notice of and act on what someone says
Launch the Faculty Inclusion Research for System Transformation (FIRST). FIRST will undertake a historical study of race and discrimination at the University.
Convene a regular series of discussions about the implementation of the 25 commitments that compose the LIFT Initiative with the chairpersons of the Advisory Council on African American Affairs and the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Community. Discussions will include the continued development and advancement of new ideas to facilitate the goals and activities reflected in these commitments.
Publish a report on the state of Black students, faculty and staff. This will be an annual report on recruitment, retention, and graduation data including how ASU ranks in relation to peer institutions. The report will feature the successes, ideas and works of Black students, faculty and staff.
Enhance service support to student organizations and their initiatives on behalf of Black students including, but not limited to, the African American Men of Arizona State University, Sankofa, STARS and the Black African Coalition.
inᐧvest /in’ vest/ verb devote time, effort, energy or money to a particular undertaking with expectations of rewarding results
Establish the Advisory Council on African American Affairs. Comprised of faculty, staff and students, the Council will assist the president in ensuring the success of Black faculty and staff, and the growth of students while also convening and engaging the Black community at ASU, locally and nationally on a variety of issues.
Establish a multicultural space on campus and fund a working group to assess and begin design options for this space. The Multicultural Space Workgroup will define the vision for the space to advance recommendations for design options by the end of Spring 2021.
Initiate Community Advocates, a new class of graduate fellowships for students of color. Community Advocates will support the needs of students and help them navigate campus life across all disciplines.
Prioritize the practice of cluster hiring to recruit and retain leading faculty members from underrepresented groups with the goal to recruit at least ten positions each year for the next five years.
Appoint a Black tenured faculty member to Barrett, The Honors College to attract and retain top Black students. Responsibilities for this position will include the establishment and management of the Black Excellence Scholar Track (BEST), a summer program to benefit outstanding Black Arizona and regional high school students.
Host an annual spring graduate recruitment fair for undergraduates of color across all disciplines with scholarship investments in acute areas of underrepresentation.
faᐧcilᐧiᐧtate /fə’ silə tāt/ verb assist or make (an action or process) easy or easier
Promote the success and well-being of all students of color in keeping with ASU’s goals to pursue a student body that reflects the people and changing demographics of the state of Arizona. This includes, but is not limited to, realizing undifferentiated outcomes in student retention and graduation for Black students. This work is articulated in ASU’s charter, mission and goals and will be accelerated with and through the mechanisms, activities and investments reflected in the 25 actions identified in the LIFT Initiative and in the work of the President's Advisory Council on Inclusion and Success.
Support the activities of the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Community Engagement in prioritizing the university-wide effort for inclusion and awareness. The vice provost will work closely with committees within each college working to achieve goals related to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Implement a program of service time that will encourage employees to participate in mentorship programs for Black and other students at ASU and pursue professional growth opportunities that uphold ASU’s commitment to inclusion. Faculty and staff participating in such programs will be recognized in annual evaluations and tenure and promotion processes. Programs will be encouraged throughout leadership ranks.
Enhance the mission, resources and services of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy under the leadership of the Center's Director and support from the Office of the Provost.
Facilitate institutional support for the annual A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations. Support includes but is not limited to funding, promotion, and other resources.
teach /tēCH/ verb educate; enlighten; instruct; show or explain how to do something
Establish a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in the goal toward diversifying the faculty of the university. The program will fund a minimum of 30 postdoctoral fellowships from underrepresented communities. After successful completion of the program, graduates will have a path to continue on in a tenure-track position.
Establish 50 new graduate assistantships over the next two to three years for underrepresented students.
Establish a university-wide student entrepreneurship, career advising and student success initiative to inspire and assist Black students and all students of color. Under the direction of the Undergraduate Office and in collaboration with key Arizona businesses and community leaders, this initiative will provide exposure to career options and pathways to post-graduate opportunities throughout the state.
Develop and implement training procedures for faculty and staff participating in search committees to better identify and address issues such as systemic bias in candidate hiring.
Implement the “To Be Welcoming” training for all new and continuing ASU employees and students in collaboration with Human Resources.
Establish a new Bachelor of Arts degree in Race, Culture and Democracy to be launched by the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (School of Social Transformation) with support from the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.
Reimagine and enhance the efforts of the campus police force to meet the overall needs of the ASU community. Through consultation, education and opportunity, this initiative endeavors to establish a police force comprised of baccalaureate degree-holding members and a certification program to train members in racial sensitivity, conflict de-escalation, mental health and crisis intervention.
Affirm and foster race and multicultural solidarity within and among ASU’s interdisciplinary academic centers with the support of endowments.
Fund and sustain the Community-Driven Archives Initiative in the ASU Library in order to enhance the historical records and the University’s engagement with underrepresented communities.
Launch a multi-college interdisciplinary initiative to help reduce inequality in the United States in partnership with experts in civil rights and civil liberties.