How do you all support, retain, and create a safe space for minority students?

The University of Maryland Baltimore is committed to creating intentional spaces for all students. The university’s Intercultural Center has monthly programming and support for historically and presently excluded students and for allies to learn about different student and community experiences. To this end, the Intercultural Center is an anchor university space for community belonging.

At the School of Dentistry, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is committed to creating and supporting spaces for students. The Office has partnered with student organizations, such as the Student National Dental Association, the American Association for Women Dentists Student Chapter, and the Muslim Student and Scholars Association to promote inclusive programs and events. Moreover, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has created a monthly gathering called the Meet Up, which supports all School of Dentistry community members (students, faculty, and staff) in having an intentional space to meet and discuss timely topics.

In collaboration with the School of Dentistry Director of Student Advocacy and Cultural Affairs, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion works to ensure that when students need space to celebrate victories or to navigate through challenges, we are available to listen, encourage, and connect students to resources for their success.

To support safe spaces throughout the building, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has provided training to faculty members on strengthening their efforts to best support students through mentoring, inclusive teaching practices, and supporting student success.

What role does the equity, diversity, and inclusion office play in creating a safe inclusive environment and what resources are available for students?

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion supports the School of Dentistry in being a safe, inclusive environment for all students, staff, and faculty members. The work is grounded in supporting people in being their full and authentic selves, as they learn, work, and serve community members. The predoctoral classes and hygiene program have Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion representatives who meet monthly with Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion staff to discuss timely issues, provide feedback on strategic planning, and identify areas for collaboration. The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has also supported the academic departments in identifying Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion champion who can elevate and promote activities as well as resources colleagues on inclusive teaching pedagogy and best practices for student mentoring.

Resources to support students at the School of Dentistry include: affinity group organizations that the Office of Student Affairs provides guidance (include link to the website of student organizations); the Director of Student Advocacy and Cultural Affairs who supports students through the Office of Academic Affairs; and a monthly, community safe space gatherings.