Lead DAR Forward

As part of Rice University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the Development and Alumni Relations division seeks to support a culture of belonging, trust and respect for our team members and for the many constituents we serve within the Rice community and beyond. We welcome applicants who bring varied experience, thought and practice to the division’s mission to engage our alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends in the greater life of the university.

Our vision is to be a leader in university advancement and an employer of choice by recruiting and supporting a diverse community of Owls.

With a dedicated cohort of staff volunteers, including the Lead DAR Forward task force comprised of leaders in the division and a DEI Champions group with representatives from across the division, we developed an initial action plan that prioritizes education, action and accountability.

Initial Objectives 2020-2021

We aim to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion in Development and Alumni Relations by completing the following objectives in 2020-2021. Each goal will be assessed annually and by the following criteria: Accomplished (objective was met), Ongoing (substantial work was accomplished but additional work is needed), and Objective Not Yet Met (there was insufficient work to meet the objective).

Goal One

We will enhance and strengthen the DAR employee experience and create a culture of trust, inclusion and respect by supporting the continual growth and education of our team members.

We are taking the following steps to build a positive culture and support our staff’s continued learning.

  • Continue our collective learning and consensus around diversity, equity and inclusion by taking part in a series of workshops with Christina Chang, a race and equity consultant, on cultural awareness and humility (Dec. 2020), implicit bias (Jan. 2021) and micro-aggressions (March 2021). Ongoing.
  • Share a weekly list of “Listen, Read & Watch Recommendations” generated by the DEI Champions to encourage continual learning and discussion around DEI topics. Initiated Dec. 2020 and ongoing.
  • Offer an optional reading club and discussion group highlighting diverse authors of speculative fiction. Initiated Aug. 2020 and ongoing.
  • Hold mandatory division training on cultural competence with Dr. Richard Baker, executive director of the Office of Access, Equity and Equal Opportunity. Completed Sept. 2020.
  • Hold facilitator training for the Lead DAR Forward task force and DEI Champions Committee with Brittany Henry, a Rice Ph.D. graduate and member of the Communications team. Completed Aug. 2020.
  • Organize two volunteer groups, Lead DAR Forward and DEI Champions, to create an action plan for enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our division. The groups meet respectively on a regular basis to discuss progress toward this plan and to collaborate on key initiatives. Initiated July 2020 and ongoing.

Goal Two

We will strive to make all Rice constituents feel welcome and supported and ensure that our staff members and volunteer groups have the knowledge and resources to build lasting relationships.

We are taking the following steps to engage and support our vibrant global community of Owls.

  • Engage and collaborate with Rice University’s Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on DAR-specific activities and ways to promote Rice’s values externally to alumni and friends. Ongoing.
  • Partner with the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice to promote university-wide programming, explore Rice’s history and facilitate opportunities for dialogue with the Rice community. Ongoing.
  • Support the Association of Rice Alumni Board of Directors, including the work of its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committee, to ensure that all Owls feel safe, included and represented, on campus and beyond. Ongoing.
  • In partnership with other Rice departments, develop and promote DEI programming via signature alumni initiatives like the Beyond the Hedges Podcast and Owl Together Week, Rice’s largest digital event for alumni, families and friends. Ongoing.
  • Promote and support Rice gift funds benefiting our diverse and inclusive community, including the Access, Opportunity and Inclusion Gift Fund, the Association of Rice University Black Alumni Legacy endowment and more. Ongoing.
  • Work with student leaders, clubs and organizations in support of diversity and inclusion initiatives, including during the university’s 24-Hour Challenge fundraising campaign. Ongoing.

Goal Three

We will seek feedback, create opportunities for active dialogue and hold ourselves accountable through continual evaluation, including qualitative and quantitative assessments.

We are taking the following steps to foster dialogue and measure progress.

  • Incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion questions into the division’s annual Gallup engagement survey to create a baseline for understanding division culture, including strengths and areas of improvement. The DAR Forward and Champions volunteer groups will determine actions that need to be taken as a result of the survey. Initiated Nov. 2020 and ongoing.
  • Assist Rice’s Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice with a survey of alumni to better understand their student experiences and current perceptions of the university. Survey sent in March 2021 and ongoing.
  • Assist Dr. Alexander Byrd with a course to collect oral histories of Black alumni and engage DAR volunteers who want to be part of the project. Ongoing.
  • Encourage members of the division to seek out DEI Champions for support and to offer personal feedback and insight in one-on-one settings. Ongoing.
  • Assess and enhance the contact information for our alumni, including our earliest Black students and alumni, ensuring we have accurate information for all of our graduates. Ongoing.


Lead DAR Forward Taskforce


The Lead DAR Forward Taskforce includes volunteers who work to support and strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts as a consistent priority within our division, ensuring that specific actions are taken to improve our culture and overall employee experience. The group, comprised of division leaders and managers, makes recommendations, provides resources and activates change to enhance the internal culture of DAR and the team member experience. It also provides support and guidance for staff working with external members of the Rice community when they face issues of bias, discrimination and inequity.

DEI Champions


The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Champions sub-committee is a group of DAR staff members who aid in enhancing the division’s internal culture. Through division survey data and personal feedback, the group offers additional perspectives and insights to support the integration of DEI throughout the organization, to increase our cultural awareness of DEI, and to assist in carrying out the objectives and activities set forth by the DAR Forward Taskforce.

DEI Definitions

The following definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion provide a broad framework for our efforts and are informed by the eXtension Foundation Impact Collaborative.

  • Diversity is the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment or political perspective. This includes populations that have been and remain underrepresented among practitioners in our field and marginalized in the broader society.
  • Equity is promoting justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.
  • Inclusion is an outcome to ensure that individuals of diverse backgrounds feel and/or are welcome. Inclusion outcomes are met when we, our institution and our program are truly inviting to all, and to the degree in which all individuals can participate fully in the decision-making processes and development opportunities within our organization.

Additional Rice Resources

Association of Rice Alumni Board–DEIJ Committee. The ARA Board’s DEIJ Committee supports and advances diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice (DEIJ) efforts both within the ARA Board and throughout the worldwide Rice alumni community.

Message to the Rice Community announcing five initial actions. This message from June 2020 from President David Leebron and Provost Reginald DesRoches laid out five initial actions to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive institution.

Office of Access, Equity and Equal Opportunity. Works closely with faculty, administrators and staff to increase tolerance, opportunity and diversity within the Rice community and to ensure that the university complies with the letter and spirit of the federal and state laws and regulations governing these programs.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Supports and guides the university community in fulfilling its mission of “cultivating a diverse community of learning and discovery” in all areas of academic life.

Office of Multicultural Affairs. Supports students by offering comprehensive educational, cultural and social programs spanning individual advising, conflict resolution, leadership development, tutoring assistance and co-curricular activities.

SAFE (Sexual Assault Free Environment) Office. Offers a variety of LGBTQ+ inclusive-trainings and resources designed to foster a culture at Rice where survivors of sexual and relationship violence and all students feel supported and empowered.

Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice. The task force was formed in July 2019 to investigate Rice’s past with respect to slavery, segregation and racial injustice, to encourage frank and honest discussion about that past, and to identify suggestions for Rice’s future. Its website features a seminar series and podcast called “Doc Talks,” in addition to various events and resources.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Rice University is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. Accordingly, Rice University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, genetic information, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories under the law, in its admissions policies, educational programs, or employment of faculty or staff.

>Office of Access, Equity and Equal Opportunity