To help support the initiatives outlined in the University of Iowa Strategic Plan 2016–2021, the Chief Diversity Office will focus on four priorities in the coming year:
- Improving the campus climate;
- Increasing retention and graduation rates of historically marginalized students;
- Strengthening the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty; and
- Enhancing communication of the UI’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
The priorities were outlined during the Chief Diversity Office’s annual Update on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on Wednesday, Jan. 17.
“Creating an environment of respect and inclusion supports work unfolding in classrooms and laboratories, studios and libraries, residence halls and athletic facilities, office cubicles and hospital rooms,” said Lena Hill, interim chief diversity officer and associate vice president, and senior associate to the president. “In order to continue recruiting the best minds, we must remain focused on cultivating an educational climate that supports all who come to the UI.”
Hill also shared these updates during her address:
- The Office of the Provost, the Chief Diversity Office, and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics are collaborating on a new initiative to help colleges compete to recruit and retain outstanding underrepresented minority faculty.
- From Jan. 18 to Feb. 28, the first University of Iowa Faculty and Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey will be conducted. The goals of the survey are to gain a systematic understanding of the campus climate; establish a baseline for measuring change over time; advance work on strategic plan objectives and shape future planning; ensure people of all social identities feel welcome and supported in their professional development and advancement; and inform the first UI Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan.
- The Graduate College has created a new fellowship program for underrepresented minority graduate students. The Lulu Merle Johnson Fellowships will strengthen the UI’s ability to recruit and support students of color.
- UI Student Government leaders are launching a new retention grant program this spring. The Chief Diversity Office will contribute to the program and hopes these grants increase equity of persistence for underrepresented minority students and low-income students.
- The UI’s Cultural Resource Centers have expanded their programming to better serve minority and underrepresented students.
- Early next year, space in University Capitol Centre will become home to the Center for Diversity and Enrichment and the Diversity Resources Team. The departments are currently housed in Phillips Hall and Seashore Hall, respectively, and the move will unite them in a central campus location that is easily accessible to faculty, staff, and students.