CDE: A Brief History

a set of open doors

In the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we are very proud of all our units and the work they do on campus to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Center for Diversity and Enrichment (CDE) is our student-facing unit and has a long history of serving underrepresented and underserved pre-college and college students, with the end goal of elevating cultural, social, and academic experiences of these students at the University of Iowa.

CDE consists of three units:
Campus Outreach Services,TRIO Student Support Services (SSS), and TRIO Upward Bound (UB). These units collaborate to help underserved students thrive at the University of Iowa and to provide outreach and college prep programs for K-12 students in the local community. These units previously existed as separate entities, sometimes under different names.

Special Support Services and TRIO

The TRIO programs have been on campus for decades as an office called Special Support Services. These programs are the oldest, longest-standing units in CDE. The TRIO Upward Bound (UB) program began in 1964 and became a part of the university in 1966. Since then, UB has served thousands of students in the eastern Iowa area.

The TRIO Student Support Services program has been on campus since 1977, serving University of Iowa students with academic need who are first generation, low-income, or have a verified disability.
In the mid-1990s, Special Support Services was renamed Office of Support Service Programs. The office provided academic/career counseling, a pen pal program with 4th-5th grade students, peer leader mentors for first year students, and other activities.

Opportunity at Iowa

The Campus Outreach Services unit is, in part, a descendant of an office called Opportunity at Iowa (OI). Based in the Office of the Provost, OI was responsible for The Future is Yours at Iowa annual program for prospective underrepresented students; providing funding to UI summer programs to promote recruitment of underrepresented K-12 students into UI summer camps; developing the UI’s first diversity recruitment brochure; sponsoring the funding to develop the Iowa Biosciences Advantage Program; and administration of the OI Scholarship and USA funds, a top merit scholarship for qualifying underrepresented students. The office also coordinated OI Ambassadors, which consisted of OI scholars who provided peer tutoring services, help with minority student recruitment, and community outreach efforts. OI also worked with community partners to provide enriching programs and establish recruitment pipelines for the university. OI, Support Service Programs, and the TRIO programs collaborated with the Office of Admissions to attract and serve a more diverse student body.

The Center for Diversity and Enrichment

In the mid-2000s, Opportunity at Iowa and Support Services merged into one department, named the Center for Diversity and Enrichment.

CDE was relocated to the basement of Phillips Hall from Calvin Hall, and in 2010, organized as a unit under the umbrella of the newly formed Chief Diversity Office (now the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).

In 2016, CDE added Campus Outreach Services as a sub-unit in an effort to sustain the combined programs’ community partnerships and recruitment initiatives to support and retain students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

Campus Outreach Services’ staff were originally called multicultural specialists. In 2018, the multicultural specialists were redefined as academic coaches to signify their aim to support and retain current University of Iowa students through one-on-one coaching and support.

Military and Veterans Student Services

Military and Veteran Student Services has a history similar to the other programs that make up CDE. It was part of of the CDE until the end of 2019. Its roots are in the Veterans Service Team, which was housed in the Office of the Registrar, and focused on helping student veterans transition from the military to higher education. The student support portion of the team moved to the CDE in 2013 and was renamed Military and Veteran Student Services (MVSS). Currently, the office serves a range of military-connected students, including veterans, current service members, dependents of veterans, and ROTC cadets.

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