NR 6 Next Steps Action Plan
for Making a Positive Difference on Diversity Issues
Fall 2013

First Draft: Due 31 October in Discussion Section
Final Plan: Due 14 November in Discussion Section

Purpose
The purposes of this assignment, Next Steps Action Plan, are:

  1. To assess your personal beliefs with respect to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, language, and customs, with attention to how this relates to your time as a student studying the environment at UVM.
  2. To evaluate how your everyday actions and practices support your personal beliefs and values.
  3. To create a plan for specific actions you will take to contribute to positive change on these issues, considering your identity as a student studying the environment and natural resources at UVM.
  4. To create a document that you will re-evaluate in your senior year in the capstone diversity course.

The final Action Plan should be approximately 3 pages, 12 pt font, 1 inch margins, 1.5 line spacing.

Your Action Plan should include three components:

  1. Principles - What are your guiding principles with respect to diversity, whether it be race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, language, customs, sexual orientation, age, or ability?
  2. Practices - What are the practices in which you engage on a regular basis that reinforce these principles?
  3. Actions - Provide a list of actions that you can commit to taking during your four years at UVM that will contribute to positive change on issues of diversity around campus. We prefer that your actions revolve around steps that you can take on campus or in the Burlington area, but you may expand this to other communities. You may find useful the list of resources for action planning that is provided on the NR 6 readings list.

Each component should be ~1 page in length.

  1. Principles - This is a statement of your personal beliefs and values which rule your thoughts and actions with respect to diversity, or difference. It is possible, or likely that this is something that you have not thought about before, so you may find that this assignment reveals beliefs that you had not previously considered. The statement should not be constructed as a lecture or include negative statements. It should be a positive affirmation of the rules by which you live.
    For example: My overriding principle is thoughtfulness. I try to live with a caring attitude, whether it be a neighbor, a student with personal problems, or someone who has dropped their groceries in the check out line. This extends to my teaching philosophy, in which I try to raise awareness of how issues of justice and fairness become intertwined with the ways in which we manage and conserve our natural resources.

  2. Practices - This section highlights the day-to-day practices that you undertake in supporting your principles. In your autobiographical essay, you discussed specific people, places, events and activities that have shaped your attitudes. Here, we are looking for actions that show how you live your principles related to diversity, for example, how you engage other people, how you explore new places, what you read, listen to, talk about, who your friends are (and aren't) and what you spend time doing, etc. This section should directly link to the ways in which you interact with the people in your community to support your principles with respect to difference and diversity.

  3. Specific Actions - We want you to develop a list of 3-5 actions to which you can commit while you are a student at UVM. These do not need to be grand actions. However, they should be definitive steps, more than everyday practices, and something that might take you out of your comfort zone. We prefer actions that are truly attainable, such as participating in the Rubenstein School Diversity Taskforce, or Alternative Spring Break, or committing to read one book per semester that addresses diversity.

    Everyone has a different way in which they engage in action. Some take an active role, and may join and participate in campus or community organizations, or volunteer/intern in social or environmental justice groups. Others may take a more passive role, preferring to educate themselves on issues at their own pace. Thus, the actions that you set forth should be designed to support your own personality style. Regardless of your mode of participation, these actions should be things to which you can commit during your time at UVM. Links to specific groups and initiatives on campus can be found here. In addition to describing each action, also provide a reason why this action is important to you and how will you benefit from this action.

Sample Action Plan 1
Sample Action Plan 2
Sample Action Plan 3