Progress being made, but work still ahead
Thursday, January 21, 2016

The University of Iowa is making progress, but there’s still work to be done to advance diversity and inclusion and create a welcoming environment for all. That was the message during the Chief Diversity Office’s Update on Diversity and Inclusion on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Georgina Dodge, UI chief diversity officer and associate vice president, shared an update on a number of current initiatives happening across campus, as well as several in development, to a packed Iowa Theatre in the Iowa Memorial Union.

“While I am understandably proud of all of the good work on campus, I also know that there are plenty of challenges and much more that needs to happen as we map our way forward,” Dodge says.

Dodge shared these updates during her address:

  • The CDO team is already acting in response to a large amount of feedback collected through a series of World Café sessions, which enabled them to engage directly with faculty, staff, and students. One of the recurring points from all of the sessions was that participants believe it is unlikely that a singular course of action will bring about significant change by itself, which corresponds with the multi-pronged approach the UI has adapted. 
  • The UI is moving forward with developing a Bias Assessment and Response Team—which will use the acronym BART—for the purpose of addressing incidences of bias that do not violate policy or constitute crimes. Sarah Hansen, assistant vice president for Student Life, is heading up the team. Planning sessions and meetings with stakeholders will be held during this semester with a process developed by May. ​The President’s Black Student Advisory Committee vetted the initial idea with student groups and conducted preliminary research. Members of that committee and other student representatives will be involved in the planning process.
  • After receiving input from three listening sessions with students in response to incidents at the University of Missouri and around the country, the Center for Diversity and Enrichment is developing programming and working with students, as well as Tab Wiggins, multicultural initiatives coordinator in the Division of Student Life, and others across campus to address issues.
  • Beginning in February, the CDO will hold weekly conversations from noon–1 p.m. every Wednesday during the spring semester in the new CDE Multipurpose Room, located at 2780 University Capitol Center. It’s a grassroots effort that will help the CDO team identify gaps in services and communicate with members of the community about things that matter to everyone.

Watch Dodge’s full address to the UI community:

During the update, Sherry Watt was named the CDO’s inaugural faculty fellow. She discusses her new role and the important work being done on campus and in the community. Read the Q&A...