Carnegie Mellon University

November 27, 2019

Dear Carnegie Mellon Faculty and Staff,

I am writing to provide an update regarding our actions toward the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion commitments President Jahanian shared with the campus on November 8.

As you recall, one of our action items was to form a Campus Climate Implementation Steering Committee. This group has begun to meet regularly and is already at work turning the remaining seven commitments into tangible action plans. To help facilitate this work, I have asked Professor Linda Babcock, head of the Social and Decision Sciences Department in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the James M. Walton Professor of Economics, to co-lead the Implementation Steering Committee with me. Shawn Blanton, associate department head for research and trustee professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering; Ayana Ledford, executive director of PROGRESS and director of diversity and inclusion in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Jeanne VanBriesen, vice provost for faculty, the Duquesne Light Company Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy, and director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems (Water QUEST); and Daryl Weinert, chief of staff and vice president for strategic initiatives, have additionally been added as members of the Implementation Steering Committee.

As we form working groups, we invite interested faculty and staff across the campus to volunteer their time and expertise to one of the action items listed in President Jahanian’s email:

  • Designing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;
  • Creating a Target of Opportunity Fund;
  • Improving policies and procedures for leadership searches, service, awards and recognitions;
  • Creating training to increase inclusivity;
  • Improving leadership training for faculty and staff;
  • Improving student success and experience; and
  • Developing a more robust marketing and communication strategy.

If you are interested in contributing to the efforts of the implementation committee, please reply to by Friday, December 6 with the working group(s) you are interested in joining. We also will be identifying students to participate in these working groups in the coming weeks.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Implementation Steering Committee for their expeditious efforts thus far. We look forward to sharing another update before the end of the semester on our progress and the initiatives to be launched in the new year.


James H. Garrett Jr.
Thomas Lord Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
OFFICE: 612 Warner Hall
PHONE: 412-268-3260
PRONOUNS:  he, him, his