Living(IT) While Black: Action Plan

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Living (IT) While Black: ACTION PLAN

In the associated report of the Open Mic Series: Living (IT) While Black Feedback Report, you reviewed feedback and requirements from our staff to help improve the culture, the morale and the equity in our IT workspace.


Goal: Be an example to all Duke University Schools/Departments/Initiatives in problem solving and implementing anti-racist processes and supports.


We have expertise and sought-after experience in issue detection, problem solving, user feedback/experience and implementation of systemic support services. We are valued for our relationships and oncoming customer service. We can do this. Not considering the experiences of people of color limits the creativity, production and success of Duke University. Help us avoid further harm to black people and people of color by leading – quickly and with consciousness.


We are used to working cross functionally. IT’s integral reality means that our impact is broad and our colleagues are spread to all parts of our campus. That means that we already have the connectivity needed to have the largest, broadest reach of impact. There are many colleagues not specifically designated as IT managers/directors/leaders but oversee these individual IT contributors. This call is to all of us because IT is for all of us.


Your First Steps:

  1. Add an agenda item to your regular team meetings with your immediate staff to reflect on the themes heard at Open Mic.
  2. Personally engage with the resources Duke and DiversifyIT regularly supplies on racial equity awareness. {see}
  3. Identify black and people of color contributors who are serving in leadership roles but have not been invited to managerial meetings and invite them. If you determine there are none, who are contributors elsewhere who can be called on to inform decision making processes?



Objective 1: Sponsor Training and Education for all IT staff beginning Oct 2020


  • Determine how many classes can be taught each month
    • What is the class size limit?
    • Provide training on anti-racist behaviors and actions and being anti-racist
    • Determine how many classes can be taught each month
    • What is the class size limit?
      *NOTE: These can be lunch and learns or All staff meetings.


  • Set organization goals that include an equitable racial awareness:
    • Add agenda items to All Staff meetings promoting anti-racism and inclusion best practices beginning in September
    • Schedule Lunch and Learns for each team beginning in September
    • Provide space for Healing Circles to encourage vulnerability, responsiveness to feedback, and empower each other to continue to educate and learn from one another within teams
    • Create incentive plans for completing trainings


  • Complete training analysis quarterly:
    • How many people attended training?
    • How many people received resources?
    • How many people signed up on their own for additional training?
    • How many people have noticed a change in their teams as a result of the trainings?
  • Perform a mandatory opinion survey on racial equity quarterly beginning 2020


Objective 2: Provide Pay Equity by 2021


  • Complete a wage gap analysis to establish a baseline to set goals for increasing pay for staff that are paid less than peers in the same role with the same credentials and background.
    • Review tenure and elevation patterns of black staff to bring their pay up to the standard of their white counterparts
      *NOTE: This data was not available from Duke Office of Institutional Equity.


  • Identify black leaders who are acting leaders but not included in the leadership meetings
    • Add missing leaders to the currently scheduled leadership meetings



Objective 3: Employ policies to protect people of color beginning Sept. 2020


  • Obtain experiences from staff to understand what their issues have been and tackle those right away
    • Schedule grievance calls or anonymous surveys with an external vendor to get experiences from people of color in order to address problematic behaviors and offenders


  • Begin attending Diversity & inclusion (D&I) meetings and events as leaders that include racial equity
    • Leaders should commit to attending a racial equity meeting or event at least once a month


  • Establish a grievance reporting and accountability process that is designed by people of color to replace the current process
    • Train additional HR and racial equity staff to receive and process grievances and set consequences for racially charged incidents


  • Perform a mandatory opinion survey on racial equity


Objective 4: Make racial equity a performance metric beginning Sept. 2020


  • Evaluate job candidate/current employee’s actions toward organizational goals around racial equity
    • Encourage, document and report on the employee’s attendance and participation in racial equity trainings, meetings and events


  • Evaluate leadership performance regarding racial equity
    • Include the leaders effort to schedule, participate and encourage racial equity within their teams


  • Leaders must commit to transparency/active communication regarding racial efforts
    • Leaders should submit their communication plan, including who is working to address, associated funding, goals and status; naming anti-racism explicitly
    • Report yearly on representation of staff in IT roles by race


  • Expect staff to address their performance toward these goals as part of their annual review


  • Establish content experts who staff can resource for development toward these goals
    • Seek out participation, input and leadership from DiversifyIT
    • Dedicate and monetize specific racial equity roles in your organization


  • Perform a mandatory opinion survey (same as above) on diversity



Success looks like:

  1. Staff are safe and accepted in their environments.
    1. We will measure success by quarterly surveys and one-on-one discussions with staff.


  1. There is racial equity in promotions and new hires.
    1. We will measure success by the data received from the organization as well as discussions with staff.
    2. We will see representation in staff and managerial meetings.


  1. There are programs to support learning and training in racial equity.
    1. We will measure success by the new programs offered to staff versus current programs.
    2. We will gauge feedback in continued discussions with staff and leaders to also determine other trainings needed.

DiversifyIT Open Mic – ‘Mic Drop’ debrief. July 10, 2020.


Addendum – Look what our peers are doing