IDEAL Strategic Plan
Dear Stanford community,
In 2021 the IDEAL DEI Climate Survey unearthed concerning aspects of our campus climate and culture. In response to the survey’s findings, the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community (VP-IEAC) collaborated with various stakeholders including students, faculty, staff and alumni to conceive and develop this strategic plan. The plan is rooted in an acknowledgment of the concerns unearthed in the climate survey and the pressing need to address them.
This strategic plan embodies our commitment to establish an environment in which members of our campus community are afforded the opportunity to contribute to the university’s mission and, in doing so, are respected, can thrive professionally, and grow and develop personally. This is an institutional commitment — a Stanford commitment — one that will transcend inevitable leadership changes over time.
This plan also serves a secondary role. Engagement with the community revealed a lack of clarity surrounding IDEAL which this plan will help remedy by providing a clear and comprehensive definition of IDEAL for our community. This will both garner support for this critical effort and equip our community to counter any misinterpretations of what IDEAL is and aims to accomplish.
We recognize that there is still much ground to cover to create the campus climate and culture envisioned by IDEAL; however, we take pride in the measurable progress achieved thus far through the dedicated efforts of faculty, staff and students. To learn more about accomplishments to date, please visit the IDEAL website.
We look forward to collectively advancing the goals of IDEAL.
Persis Drell, Provost
Patrick Dunkley, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community, and Special Advisor to the President
Frequently Asked Questions
What is IDEAL and why is it important for the university?
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment (IDEAL) is a landmark effort of the university’s Long-Range Vision announced in 2018, and is intended to ensure that 1) diversity of thought, experience, and approach is represented in all sectors of our education and research enterprise, 2) all members of the campus community feel they belong and are supported regardless of their background, identity, or affiliations; and 3) all members of the campus community have broad access to the opportunities and benefits of Stanford.
What is the purpose of the IDEAL strategic plan?
This strategic plan serves two main objectives. First, it acts as the means through which the university defines its vision and strategic direction for IDEAL. Second, it represents the university’s comprehensive response to the findings of the 2021 IDEAL Climate Survey. The survey data revealed broad prevalence of experiences of negative behavior throughout the university community — and students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff have experienced these behaviors across every Stanford school and in nearly every department and work unit represented in the data. The culture experienced by members of our community did not meet our own expectations for a thriving community.
How was the IDEAL strategic plan informed and developed?
This strategic plan was crafted with insights derived from nearly two years of intensive community engagement activities. In May 2021, Stanford administered a diversity, equity, and inclusion climate survey as part of the IDEAL initiative. This survey, administered to all members of the Stanford community, shed light on how various identities (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, etc.) influence the experiences of community members, and its findings serve as a foundational dataset for this strategic plan. Additionally, in mid-2022, we convened focus groups comprising students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff, and alumni to gather input on addressing the findings from the IDEAL Climate Survey. These valuable insights significantly shaped the priorities, goals, and objectives outlined in this plan. In addition, this strategic plan has undergone extensive faculty review, ensuring that it reflects a broad spectrum of perspectives and, and was also reviewed by subject-matter experts.
What does the plan aim to achieve and what is its significance for the university?
This strategic plan is centered around four institutional goals and several strategies that are meant to collectively advance equity, inclusion, and access at Stanford. The plan’s ultimate aim is to serve as the “North Star” that guides transformative change in our campus environment. The plan embodies Stanford’s commitment to establish an environment in which members of our campus community are afforded the opportunity to contribute to the university’s mission and, in doing so, are respected, can thrive professionally, and grow and develop personally. This is an institutional commitment — a Stanford commitment — one that will transcend inevitable leadership changes over time. The plan will achieve this by fostering alignment and collaborative efforts, university-wide, through IDEAL. It will advance initiatives that support the four institutional IDEAL goals.
Why did you develop a five-year strategic plan?
There are two primary reasons that ground our rationale for a five-year plan:
- To address the multifaceted challenges highlighted in the 2021 IDEAL Climate Survey, it is essential to prioritize preparation time at the institutional and local levels, where needed. As such, year one (AY23-24) will be earmarked for institutional readiness, as needed. This will enable the university to conduct needs assessments and, where appropriate, acquire and/or allocate resources for implementation activities, and to develop or adjust local-level strategic plans to align with IDEAL goals.
- When translating a long-term strategic plan into action, dividing the journey into smaller stages results in greater success. This is our rationale for beginning with a five-year strategic plan in 2023 followed by subsequent five-year cycles that leverage insights gained from each prior implementation phase. This approach allows for dynamic and iterative implementation based on empirical data.
What are the key components of the IDEAL strategic plan?
As part of the strategic planning process, focus groups were conducted involving students, staff, faculty, and alumni. From these focus groups the university identified actions needed to catalyze the pursuit of sustained institutional culture change. In outlining these actions, four priorities were identified and from these priorities four institutional goals were established. Collectively, these priorities and goals are intended as the institutional “North Star” that guides culture transformation.
How will schools, units, and departments implement the IDEAL Strategic Plan?
Implementation begins with preparation. To address the multifaceted challenges highlighted in the 2021 IDEAL Climate Survey, it is essential to prioritize preparation time at the institutional and local levels, where needed. As such, year one (AY23-24) will be earmarked for institutional readiness, for those units that need it. This will enable the university to conduct needs assessments and acquire and/or allocate any resources for implementation activities, and to develop or adjust local-level strategic plans to align with the IDEAL Strategic Plan.
Are schools, units, and departments required to adopt specific strategies and tactics?
The strategic plan goals are institutional goals. However, the goals, objectives, and strategies in this plan collectively constitute a flexible framework for schools, units, and departments to guide their local-level implementation efforts in support of the university’s overarching IDEAL goals. This means that there is the flexibility for each school, unit, and/or department to decide which of the objectives and strategies to prioritize for local implementation over the course of this first five-year cycle. This flexible approach allows for dynamic adaptation to local contexts, while maintaining alignment with institutional IDEAL goals.
Are schools, units, and departments expected to immediately begin implementing strategies and tactics related to the IDEAL Strategic Plan?
No, schools, units and departments are not expected to begin immediate implementation of the strategic plan.
- If your organization already has a strategic plan or is working on specific strategies or tactics, you should continue your work. However, you should review the strategic plan to determine how your local plans align with the university-wide strategic plan. We will be requesting copies of your local plans in the coming months. We also encourage you to reach out to receive feedback on your plans and assistance with alignment.
- If your organization has not yet gotten started, you should review the IDEAL Strategic Plan, but await further guidance on specific tactics and approaches that are recommended at the local level.
What do the “Responsibility Levels” mentioned in the Plan mean?
Each strategy has one or more recommended levels of the organization where tactics related to that strategy should be implemented. It does not mean that each local organization must work on every strategy that is appropriate at that level. Because of the significant amount of work that needs to be done, organizations will be best served by prioritizing their efforts.
- Institutional (I) - these are strategies where the primary tactics should be implemented university-wide (vs. at the local level). If only Institutional is listed, that is an indication that units, schools and departments should look to the institutional responsible organization to drive implementation.
- School, Unit, or Department (S, U) - these are strategies where the primary tactics are appropriate to be implemented at the business unit or school level.
- Department (D) - these are strategies where the primary tactics are appropriate to to be implemented at the department and/or team level (depending on the tactic)
Why do some of the Strategies not seem to be actionable or measurable?
Acknowledging the diverse range of organizational types and structures within the university, as well as the various populations it serves (including students, faculty, staff, postdocs, and more), we developed strategies that possess a broad scope, thereby enabling the development of specific, actionable, and measurable tactics. Our ongoing efforts involve the compilation of existing tactics currently in use across the university and the proposal of tactics tailored to your organization's specific level and population. It is at the tactical level that actions will become more concrete and measurable. We will be working with schools and units to develop the most consistent measurables possible.
What support will be provided to schools, units and departments for implementation?
We will partner with your organization to implement the Plan. There are implementation resources, presentations, strategic alignment sessions, and guidelines that will be developed over the course of the coming quarters to assist you with this process. Be on the lookout for more information.
Which office is accountable for implementation of the IDEAL Strategic Plan?
The Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community (VP-IEAC) will facilitate implementation of the IDEAL Strategic Plan in collaboration and consultation with schools, units, and departments university-wide. As the five-year strategic plan progresses, VP-IEAC will maintain ongoing communication with school, unit, and department leaders to stay informed about progress, obstacles, and achievements throughout the implementation process.
What do the terms “inclusion, diversity, equity, and access” mean in the IDEAL Strategic Plan?
Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access are four short words used to encompass a set of substantive principles and practices aimed at effecting and sustaining environments where individuals from a broad spectrum of backgrounds 1) feel valued, respected, and supported; (2) can access opportunity regardless of their background or identity; and (3) can participate and contribute to the fullest extent. The following working definitions were developed with input from the Stanford community.
- Inclusion is the practice of being intentional about involving and engaging with individuals of diverse identities or viewpoints, thereby giving voice to and valuing diverse perspectives.
- Diversity refers to the representation of differences among individuals and groups in the broadest possible sense. These differences can be visible or invisible and include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, national origin, citizenship, caste, language, education, age, geography, family background, neurodiversity, religion, veteran status, ideology, experience, thinking, and communication styles.
- Equity means working to ensure that there are no institutional or historical impediments that may prevent some individuals from having full access to the same opportunities, rewards, and resources as their peers.
- Access means creating living, learning, and working environments that are free of physical, social, economic, psychological, technological, and cultural barriers to participation, and where all members of the university community can participate fully.
How might I provide feedback or suggestions related to the IDEAL Strategic plan?
Feedback or questions on the strategic plan should be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity, Access, and Community (VP-IEAC) through this feedback form.