We are ISR: Peter Batra, Community Engagement Working Group Member

Peter Batra

Member of the Community Engagement Working Group (aka DACCD)

Why did you choose to take on a role for an ISR DEI working group?
I chose to join DACCD so that I could be more involved with diversity initiatives across ISR and, to some extent, be part the wider DEI initiatives across the U-M campus.

Peter Batra

Peter Batra

What do you find most rewarding about being part this effort?
I find meeting a variety of people from across all ISR centers to be very rewarding. To me this is what diversity is all about. By stepping out of my small corner in the ISR (SRC/SRO/PDG) I have discovered many fascinating people and the projects they are working on across the Institute. It’s perhaps not coincidental that many DACCD supported activities are connected to social justice–for instance, the ISR Reads group provides books that are related to the sometimes depressing issues that coincide with research going on in the ISR. For example: discrimination, prison reform, poverty, etc. Several books our group has read have been written by local U-M faculty, and this relates to the events being sponsored not only by DACCD and ISR-DEI but on the wider U-M scale. What an opportunity to not only hear authors in person, and in some cases dialogue with these ‘thinkers’. Additionally, it was through my DACCD connections that I recently co-presented TGNC research that I have been involved in that was part of the ISR DEI event series. If you are not a member of DACCD, then I encourage you to join when the next call is put out for members. As a plus, I think being on the DACCD committee got me an invitation to the ISR Director’s summer party at his home!

What do you see as some of ISR’s greatest opportunities in the areas of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
The greatest opportunity I see is to really make DEI a part of our everyday work and (hopefully!) our personal lives. I see many of the same people who volunteer on the DACCD committee also volunteer repeatedly for other ISR DEI events. I think it’s safe to say we understand what the DEI initiatives are trying to achieve. So, the opportunity I see is for some accountability from those in our organization that aren’t participating but probably have the most to gain from doing so. (Those folks probably aren’t reading this!) I understand that for some the time commitment is not possible–they simply don’t have any extra time in their schedule and in many cases may be struggling to make ends meet. Having meaningful participation be part of performance reviews should not be necessary. However, if the administration (all 5 centers in ISR, and ultimately U-M leadership) is really serious about DEI, then there needs to be more than subtle encouragement motivating participation that goes beyond a simple checklist.

What is your favorite thing to do in the winter?
This is a tough question. I choose walking on a local Ann Arbor trail through the woods on a sunny day.