Equity and diversity in the workplace: partnerships matter

Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 9:59am

In the second of our two-part series, Michael Goh, Ph.D., who is the University of Minnesota’s vice president for equity and diversity, continues a discussion on why the U’s equity and diversity mission and its 3M partnership are so important.


Q: How is 3M helping with the University and state equity and diversity mission?  3M’s home state of Minnesota currently has one of the largest educational achievement gaps and ranks last in the U.S. for racial integration. Minnesota youth need more access to innovative interdisciplinary education that increases educational engagement. Recent findings highlight that many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-interested students are not well prepared to succeed in the type of rigorous college math and science coursework required of STEM majors.

3M’s support for the CORE (Community Outreach Recruitment and Engagement) program helps engage students, teachers, and early career scientists in activities designed to improve middle school education and outcomes, as well as connect college-bound high school students to the U of M. The objective is to develop and deliver multifaceted strategies to increase academic performance, social connectedness, college acceptance rates, and degree completion of underserved students.

Q: How does the U of M compare with similar institutions in this work? The U of M is considered a leader in the area of equity and diversity. We are on the cutting edge of providing equity and diversity education, training, and consulting across the system. We utilize a scientist-practitioner model, drawing on groundbreaking research, much of which is happening at our own institution, to inform our development of best practices. In this way, we are able to continually adjust and inform areas of inclusion work that are complex and rapidly changing.

We also have a unique structure here, as the Office for Equity and Diversity houses a number of units that cover a broad range of equity and diversity issues. This allows us to reach a wide range of constituencies and to be deeply integrated in the overall operation and functioning of the University.


“All institutions face resource and budgetary constraints, and the generosity and commitment of our corporate partners makes much of our work possible.”

--Michael Goh, Ph.D.


Q: For students who receive 3M-funded scholarships and fellowships, what does it mean to them?  3M truly changes the lives of students who receive 3M-funded scholarships and fellowships. Our Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) award winning students are the best and brightest future leaders.

3M allows these students not only to be recognized for their accomplishments, but to also receive funding that encourages them to continue pursuing their dreams. For students who are working every day to effect change at the U and across Minnesota, the support of a company like 3M opens up more opportunities and connects them to a potential future employer. These connections are crucial for students as they transition from education to employment.

Q: What role does philanthropy play in these efforts?  Equity and diversity work requires the support of philanthropic partners. All institutions face resource and budgetary constraints, and the generosity and commitment of our corporate partners makes much of our work possible.

Beyond providing financial support, it is important for our students to see that corporations care deeply about equity and diversity and are investing in a more inclusive future for the University and the state of Minnesota.


This is the second post in a two-part conversation with Goh. Read the first post.


Photo courtesy of the Office for Equity and Diversity



CSE-College of Science and Engineering

CSOM-Carlson School of Management

DENT-School of Dentistry

ICA-Intercollegiate Athletics

OED-Office of Equity and Diversity

STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

UMMCH-M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital