UMass Amherst YouMass People Finder
Community, Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ)


In 1996, then Chancellor David Scott asked the Chancellor's Counsel on Community, Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) to generate a Diversity Action Plan which would help move the campus to a new level of attention and action regarding these issues. The Counsel sought and incorporated input from many campus groups and individuals. Based on this extensive research and consultation, the Counsel pusblished a report in 1998 entitled "A New Approach to Promoting Community, Diversity and Social Justice".

In summary, this report concluded that what the campus had done about CDSJ issues over 40 years was often innovative and effective but how CDSJ issues were addressed were often unpopductive if not self-defeating. The report identified several negative dynamics, such as the tendency for change to be driven only in reaction to crises, incidents and building takeovers, and the pattern of expecting the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor's to act as the primary change agents regrding issues far below them in the campus hierarchy. In response, the Counsel's report spells out explicit steps for implementing a campus-wide, assessment-driven, systems change process involving every administrative area of the campus and the departments within them.

In December 1998, then-Chancellor David Scott appointed the University CDSJ Team to implement the recommendations of the New Approach Report. The following timeline tracks the activities of the University CDSJ Team and of the larger campus project it brought forth:

Spring 1999

  • Issued a Request for Bid for external consultants
  • Reviewed bids and interviewed consulting firms
  • Hired Ramos Associates of Arlington, VA
  • Held first Planning Retreat in June 1999


  • Generated materials and presentations to describe the New Approach Project to the campus
  • Developed a framework for assessment
  • Planned for the formation of teams in each Executive Area
  • Provided presentations to campus constituencies
  • Leadership Retreat to prepare for Executive Area Teams
  • Began formation of Executive Area Teams
  • Developed Operating Principles


  • Organized initial planning retreats for four Executive Area Teams  
    • Chancellor's Area
    • Administration and Finance
    • Student Affairs
    • University Advancement
  • Reorganized three Team task groups and added members to them
    • Assessment Group
    • Communications Group
    • Leadership Development Group
  • Held a one day planning retreat for all six CDSJ Teams


  • Organized Leadership Retreats in September and December
  • Sponsored the initial planning retreat for the remaining Executive Area Team in Academic Affairs
  • Held a one day planning retreat for all six CDSJ Teams in April
  • Executive Area Teams designed their own local CDSJ Assessments


  • The campus-wide University CDSJ Team began to play more of a coordinating role as the Executive Area Teams came to life
  • Executive Area Teams conducted their own local CDSJ Assessments utilizing a common climate survey instrument as well as focus groups, interviews, anaysis of demographics, policies and practices


  • Executive Area Teams met with campus leadership in December 2003 to share the results of their CDSJ Assessments
  • Executive Area Teams disseminated the results of their CDSJ Assessments to faculty, staff and students with their areas. The expectation was to identify local strengths and weaknesses, and then develop specific, measurable change plans to address weaknesses.
  • The University CDSJ Team compiled a report on the campus-wide results of the climate survey administered to faculty, staff and graduate employees