Each nursing school has an organizational structure grounded in its mission, vision, values, goals, and priorities. A focus on Institutional Viability and Capacity is necessary to examine the nursing school’s infrastructure and allocation and utilization of resources to support alignment to build and support the capacity for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leadership, accountability, strategic planning, and metrics are key drivers of sustainability, excellence, transformation, and success.
The mission, vision, and values are critical for:
The following excerpts regarding Diversity Strategic Planning were adapted from Diversity and Inclusion in Academic Medicine: A Strategic Planning Guide Second Edition (2016).
This initial task underpins many other tasks you will complete as you create and implement your plan. Given the nature of diversity, your strategic plan will touch every person at an institution; therefore, at every step, you will need to find allies and create partnerships to ensure the plan is carried out. The first step is essential because the task that follows it assesses where you are currently, which requires the permission and assistance of many across the organization.
Conducting an environmental scan will help you determine the current state of DEI at your institution. Consider asking:
Consider policy versus practice in the following:
Your goals for DEI reflect the desired outcomes of the strategic plan. To achieve them, they must align with the institution’s stated mission, vision, and values and be seen by all as strategic initiatives so they are not “siloed.” Alignment allows for collective ownership among the university, the school, as well as your community stakeholders. While schools may develop a strategic plan specifically for diversity, it is necessary for diversity to be integral to the school’s overall strategic planning and operations. Diversity must be central to the core business and operations of the school of nursing and not adjunctive or an add-on.
A strategic plan outlines actionable items - what a school of nursing would like to accomplish - whereas the action plan describes how the school of nursing will approach enacting the strategic plan.
Metrics allow you to monitor your performance. Baseline assessments of where you are, followed by targeted goals, are important.
Having the right people on board with the necessary skills and dedication is essential. An advisory council can be appointed, composed of people who represent a cross-section of the organization and key stakeholders. Individuals who will be responsible for and assist in implementation will need to be assigned to implementation teams.
Keeping momentum moving forward means that timelines must reflect reality. Those carrying out the action steps (i.e., the work) need to agree to your timeline and be held accountable. Achieving buy-in to the timeline is one of your biggest challenges. Other factors to consider to ensure that plans are implemented include establishing realistic time frames, identifying resources, and aligning plan objectives with annual operating plans and budgets.
Writing your strategic plan is a multifaceted job that will require coordination and various approvals. The details of the process should be reflected in your timeline.
University of Michigan Diversity Strategic Plan
Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. (2020). Addressing harmful bias and eliminating discrimination in health professions learning environments.
AACN Gallery of Leadership: Strengthening Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
View Required Readings [PDF]
DEI leaders work to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion are embedded as imperatives in the institutional mission, vision, values, and strategic plan. (Adapted from National Organization for Diversity Officers in Higher Education, NADOHE, 2020)
Schools of nursing must invest in DEI with an annual budget. Funding must be allocated for the associate dean for diversity and for building an office of diversity with adequate staffing. Items to include in the DEI budget:
AACN Diversity Leadership Institute
Schmidt, N. A., & Brown, J. M. (2016). Service learning in undergraduate nursing education: Strategies to facilitate meaningful reflection. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(2), 100–106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2015.06.006
Diversity awards programs recognize individuals or organizations showcasing exemplary insight and fortitude in the area of workplace diversity
AACN Diversity Award
INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award
A lack of diverse nursing faculty has tremendous implications for the student body and academic nursing’s infrastructure. Increasing diversity of underrepresented nursing faculty helps to increase awareness and appreciation of cultural differences among racial and ethnic groups, promotes more effective healthcare delivery to an increasingly diverse patient population, improves the quality of nursing education and stimulates research that includes and reflects the needs of a more diverse population. Faculty who reflect the backgrounds of underrepresented students serve as role models and mentors that will support the academic advance and success of these groups of students.
Compounding the issue, a critical component of the progression of a successful academic career is being promoted in rank. According to the most recent AACN data, the greater percentage of minority faculty remain at the Assistant Professor rank. Faculty supports are needed to understand the promotion pathway for professional advancement and strategies are needed to address the barriers and challenges to this process.
Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Search and Hiring
Retrieved from: https://www.aacnnursing.org/portals/0/PDFs/DEI/diversity-spotlight.pdf
View References [PDF]
This section provides tools and strategies for developing the human and institutional resources needed to fulfill the school of nursing’s broader institutional mission as well as the nursing profession’s mission related to DEI.
Click on the links below to navigate throughout the section.