Statement

Updated Dec. 14, 2023

The University of Iowa will launch the DEI Forward Task Force to review and reimagine diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts that will meet the Iowa Board of Regents DEI Study recommendations.

UI President Barbara Wilson and Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Kregel named Liz Tovar, executive officer and associate vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Dan Clay, dean of the College of Education, task force co-chairs.

Joining Tovar and Clay on the task force will be:

  • Neda Barrett, senior human resources director and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, College of Law; UI Staff Council executive committee member-at-large.
  • Ed Gillan, president of UI Faculty Senate, professor of chemistry.
  • Cassandra Gordon-Fletcher, director of inclusive education and strategic initiatives, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Katie Imborek, MD, professor of Family Medicine, UI Health Care Interim Associate Vice President for Health Parity.
  • James Jorris, president of UI Staff Council, revenue cycle coordinator for imaging and payment posting, UI Hospitals & Clinics.
  • Aimen Hameed, member, Graduate and Professional Student Government, graduate teaching assistant, Department of Gender, Women, and Sexual Studies.
  • Isandra Martinez-Marrero, director of cultural engagement and analytics, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Liz Mendez-Shannon, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 
  • Lew Montgomery, senior human resources director, Finance and Operations and University of Iowa Big 10 advisory representative.
  • Marco Morel, director of justice and equity, Undergraduate Student Government.
  • Angie Reams, associate vice president and dean of students, Division of Student Life.
  • Tiffini Stevenson Earl, director of equity investigations and ADA coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Tanya Uden-Holman, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University College.
  • Sarah Vigmostad, associate professor, biomedical engineering; associate faculty research engineer, IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering; researcher, Iowa Institute for Biomedical Engineering; interim associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, College of Engineering.
  • Michele Williams, Henry B. Tippie Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship, and Tippie College of Business associate professor.
  • James Jorgensen, vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.
  • Jan Waterhouse, ‪assistant vice president, employee relations and inclusion, University Human Resources.  
  • Charlie Taylor, senior advisor and director of communications, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The task force's charge is to make recommendations that will enhance the effectiveness of the university’s services and programs and evaluate central DEI efforts to ensure alignment with compliance, accreditation, and grant requirements. The group will also evaluate the structure of diversity and inclusion programming across campus, consider the skill sets students and employees need to lead on campus, review job responsibilities and titles, and establish measurable goals and outcomes. 

The group will develop a plan addressing the ten focus areas in the Iowa Board of Regents study for consideration by President Wilson and Provost Kregel by March 15, 2024. Following its approval, this plan will be presented to the Iowa Board of Regents for consideration at its April meeting.

The task force welcomes input for this important work.  Members of the UI community can submit their feedback on the task force’s key questions using this online form.

 

Point of Contact: Charlie Taylor

 


Updated Nov. 16, 2023

The Iowa Board of Regents discussed and approved the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Study Group report on Nov. 16, 2023.  In order to implement the recommendations, The University of Iowa will launch a task force to review and evaluate the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and all campus-related diversity and inclusion efforts. The task force will provide recommendations to the president and provost by March 2024, and they will share the plans with the board in April.

We view this as an opportunity to align the remarkable work done on our campus and to ensure we maintain the compliance and accreditation standards that support the success of our students, faculty, and staff.

Diversity and inclusion are important to the campus, and our role is critical in preparing our students to become global society and economic leaders.

We know there will be many questions from students, faculty, and staff regarding how this will impact the university's ability to provide a welcoming and inclusive campus. We want to provide the campus with some information about the recommendations to address some of the questions. If you have additional questions, please see the information below or contact us as we move forward.

 

Dr. Liz Tovar
Executive Officer and Associate Vice President
Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
elizabeth-tovar@uiowa.edu

Peter Matthes
Vice President for External Relations and Senior Advisor to the President
peter-matthes@uiowa.edu

 

FAQs

Yes.

Creating and supporting a welcoming campus that supports everyone’s right to freedom of expression is core to our values as a public university.

Beyond supporting our core values, the work that enhances our campus culture is required for the university to compete for federal grants, abide by federal and state law, and maintain accreditation.

Teaching the inclusive leadership skills needed to compete in a global society is core to student success post-graduation.

Providing diverse viewpoints in the classroom, our research, and patient care have been a cornerstone of 176 years of innovation at the university.

Many of Iowa’s largest employers actively recruit a diverse workforce and provide robust diversity and inclusion programming and resources.

We want to make sure our students, some of whom may not come from a diverse community, feel prepared when they graduate to work in a diverse environment and with a diverse clientele.

The University of Iowa and its individual colleges and administrative units must meet requirements to serve the people of Iowa effectively.

More than two dozen federal requirements, accreditation standards, and research stipulations mandate programming related to diversity and inclusion. Even the University of Iowa’s membership in the NCAA is conditioned on paying attention to diversity and inclusion activities. Failure to comply with these standards is not an option.

No.

The university is forming a task force to evaluate the central office and campus diversity and inclusion efforts. It will restructure the Division of DEI to focus on maintaining the university's compliance and accreditation standards while supporting our students, faculty, and staff.

The reimagined unit will work with all campus partners to support their efforts while managing this change.

The university’s new task force, led by Dr. Liz Tovar, will evaluate the current structure of the Division of DEI, and make recommendations in April 2024 to the Iowa Board of Regents. While this work is being done, all existing programs will continue. 

A charge of this task force is to find an efficient and effective model for the delivery of the activities and resources that our campus needs.

The task force will focus on aligning the efforts of this unit to meet our compliance and accreditation obligations, as well as providing support for the institution's students, faculty, and staff.

There will be changes, but they will come from the collaboration of campus leadership.

The Iowa Board of Regents proposed recommendations allow diversity and inclusion for compliance and accreditation to continue.