Student Fellowship

Driving Towards Equity Within and Beyond City Government

Project Area:

Economic Recovery


Norman, OK

Reporting to:

Chief Diversity and Equity Officer

The Challenge

In 2019, the City of Norman put together an Inclusive Community Subcommittee of community members and city leaders to identify specific ways to work toward achieving the goal of being an inclusive city. The subcommittee’s recommendations included dedicated staff capacity at City Hall for diversity and equity work, a Sundown Town apology and reconciliation proclamation, and the addition of captioning and translation services at city events, among others. In light of stark and growing disparities further exacerbated by COVID-19 in income, wealth, and opportunity, the city leadership is placing a renewed focus on promoting internal diversity and equity within city government and pursuing inclusive and equitable economic development. The commitment to enhance opportunity, access, and awareness has been backed by action through the hiring of the city’s first Chief Diversity and Equity Officer, who is leading the work of advancing equity internally and externally. City leadership is focused on increasing access to and improving diversity in city jobs, improving community engagement, driving equitable economic development, and attracting diverse populations and businesses to make the City of Norman their home. Addressing the challenge of developing inclusive city foundational structures internally and externally is a mayoral and city manager’s office priority. With that, the fellow can expect to have full support across the city leadership cabinet, including the mayor, and access to external community partners for information sharing and transparency.

What You’ll Do

The role of the summer fellow is to work closely with the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer to conduct research and analysis relying on the Initiative’s City Leader Guide on Equitable Development. Given that the city leaders have both an internal and an external focus for this work, the fellow will:

  1. Work with the city’s leadership to understand their priorities and current challenges related to equity.
  2. Use the assessment in the Guide to collect qualitative data on the readiness of the city to tackle equity challenges. This will include an analysis of the current city workforce and talent pipelines.
  3. Use the Guide’s framework to collect quantitative data on the city’s current economic status across various sectors.
  4. Conduct interviews to bring in resident and community stakeholder perspectives, leveraging access through City of Norman partnerships.
  5. Using the data collected and review of promising practices from other cities, create recommendations to the city leaders for policies and programs, as well as metrics to drive sustainable outcomes.
  6. Present recommendations to senior leadership in the Mayor’s and City Manager’s offices.

What You’ll Bring

  • A desire to help a city drive towards their equity goals
  • Data analysis, policy analysis, research, and creative thinking skills
  • Community engagement and facilitation experience
  • Ability to work independently and be flexible with the priorities of a city
  • Change management experience
  • Skills managing sensitive information
  • Spanish language skills and diversity and equity experience desired, but not required
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