University of Delaware releases diversity plan

Amid ongoing criticism of its hiring and enrollment practices, the University of Delaware released a plan Thursday to boost campus diversity.

The school’s “Diversity Action Plan” calls for a number of reforms, most notably a requirement that academic departments create goals to ensure they hire more faculty from “underrepresented” groups. The report says deans and administrators should be held responsible for “achieving diversity goals.” It does not, however, mention specific hiring quotas.

The plan also calls for more aggressive recruitment and retention of first-generation college students, low-income students, and students from “historically underrepresnted and underserved groups.”

None of the recommendations specifically mention black or African-American students, but the university has long faced criticism for its dearth of black students. That dissatisfaction gained renewed life last year when members of the General Assembly pilloried the school for its disproportionately low percentage of African Americans. Just under 6 percent of UD students identify as black, compared to roughly 22 percent of all Delawareans.

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The General Assembly has commissioned a separate study on diversity at UD. That work has yet to be completed.

Responsibility for carrying out UD’s “Diversity Action Plan” will fall to incoming president Dennis Assanis, who is set to take over for interim president Nancy Targett this summer.

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