Fall 2021 DEI Community Update

9/13/2021 – email sent  to School of Social Work community members (students, staff, faculty, alumni, field instructors, etc)


Dear Social Work Community:

During spring 2021, the School of Social Work pledged a renewed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The school recognizes the importance of transparency and accountability around this necessary and important work. As we start the new academic year, we are reaching out to provide an update on action taken so far, proposed next steps, and avenues for members of the community to engage in this work. 

Spring 2021

  • April 2, 2021 an initial town hall was held in recognition of the need for the school to examine how it is doing in regards to promoting DEI within curriculum and school culture. A follow up student-led, student-only town hall was hosted on May 2, 2021. 
  • A Social Justice and Equity Committee was formed, and has been charged with guiding the school’s DEI initiatives.
  • Faculty teaching in each sequence area (practice, field, research, human behavior in social environment, policy) began holding meetings to examine the adequacy of DEI integration in all required courses. 
  • A platform for submitting suggestions, thoughts, feedback, etc. was created, and provides an option for anonymous feedback. 

Summer 2021

  • Through recommendations from students/staff/faculty, the School of Social Work began researching options for external consultants to provide an equity assessment for the school
  • MSW application materials were revised to include an admissions essay question around power, privilege and oppression
  • New student orientations for all MSW programs have been updated to include a discussion and presentation by the Office of Equity & Inclusion on DEI

Fall 2021 Proposed Next Steps & Engagement Opportunities

    • Two Community DEI Discussions will be held during the fall semester. These will be spaces to discuss and explore DEI efforts and next steps. All School of Social Work students, staff, faculty, alumni, and field instructors are welcome and encouraged to participate. The discussions will be held via Zoom on the following dates:
  • Monday, October 25th – The 16th Annual University of Maine Clinical Geriatrics Colloquium will be held virtually. The theme is “Advancing Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Delivery of Age Friendly Health Care”. All students and faculty can attend for free but must register
  • The UMaine School of Social Work website is currently being updated to include a specific section on DEI, where community members can find information about DEI efforts, training opportunities, and summaries of past discussions/meetings. 

We hope you will consider attending one of our Community DEI Discussions; we would love your input.

Thank you,

The Social Justice and Equity Committee

Sandra Butler, PhD

Professor, Director, and MSW Coordinator

School of Social Work

University of Maine

5770 Social Work Building

Orono, ME 04469-5770



Sandy: pronouns she/her/hers