Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan update, Fall 2019

The University of Iowa’s status as a premier research university depends on the robust exchange of ideas. The diversity of our students, faculty, and staff helps us fulfill our mission to explore, discover, create, and engage. We are committed to supporting every Hawkeye’s pursuit of excellence. As we enhance the breadth and depth of our perspectives, we purposefully prepare for our future. Our ability to foster an equitable and inclusive environment for all who join the UI community will determine our collective success. We eagerly accept this challenge.

At the UI, we are strengthened by our differences, and we are always working to improve. To that end, the UI will provide a progress update on its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan at the end of each semester. Public accountability is key to building a culture that is equitable and inclusive.

The UI’s DEI Action Plan is reflective of and informed by our community. We are grateful for every contribution made to collectively create this charge. As we make progress toward completion of critical tasks, we will ask what additional steps can be taken to continue our path forward.

The highlights below show progress on tasks within some of the identified strategies from the action plan. These updates are not representative of all the work occurring on the DEI Action Plan across campus.

A full update on the DEI Action Plan progress will be provided at the Provost’s State of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion address during the spring semester.

  • Enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion-related central communications and marketing of diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments and events (Strategy 1-B).
    • Task Underway: The Office of Strategic Communication is creating a guide to support principles of inclusive communication and marketing (e.g., ethical use of diverse imagery, accessibility, and translation resources).
  • Strengthen the university’s leadership infrastructure to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts (Strategy 1-C).
    • Task Complete: A review of Student Disability Services is complete and action is being taken to address recommendations.
  • Integrate the leadership of historically marginalized communities in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives (Strategy 1-D). 
    • Task Complete: A Diversity Council Leadership Group has been formed and is convening quarterly. Each council now has a liaison with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to support communication and connection.
  • Ensure that administrators, faculty, and staff are effective at promoting, modeling, and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion core values (Strategy 1-E).
    • Task Complete: The Collaboration and Embracing Diversity Universal Competency for staff members has been incorporated into position descriptions and performance appraisals. More than 95% of performance appraisals have now been completed.
    • Task Underway: University Human Resources will launch campus-wide supervisor training in January 2020. Modules include supervisor role, recruiting/hiring/onboarding, and facilitating performance and coaching. All modules are infused with diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.
  • Enhance the campus physical and technological environment for inclusion and accessibility (Strategy 1-F).
    • Task Underway: The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is working with an ad hoc group from the Center for Disabilities and Development to develop the Accessible and Inclusive Campus Facilities webpage and a tool to help units audit their physical environments for accessibility concerns.
    • Task Underway: The Native American Council is authoring an institutional land use acknowledgement, as well as training on the use of land acknowledgments.
  • Implement research-informed programs to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in faculty search and selection processes (Strategy 2-B).
    • Task Complete: The Office of the Provost’s Path to Distinction pilot project for faculty searches is embedding research-informed strategies to increase diverse applicant pools and minimize implicit bias.
  • Build on existing campus and community resources to recruit and retain underrepresented students (Strategy Und 2-B).
    • Task Underway: The Hawkeye First Generation Initiative Pilot project will close the achievement gap by supporting 200 first-generation undergraduate scholars through high-impact engagement opportunities including research, service learning, or campus employment; peer and faculty mentoring through shared first-year courses; and scholarship funding.
    • Task Underway: The UI was recently awarded a GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Iowa College Partner grant for $214,500 to support former GEAR UP Iowa participants from 23 high schools who attend UI.
  • Implement research-informed practices to assess and enhance the retention and advancement of underrepresented faculty (Strategy Fac 2-C).
    • Task Underway: The new Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program will provide support for promising postdoctoral scholars who will contribute to the diversity of our faculty.
    • Task Underway: Hanover Research will conduct interviews with UI faculty to provide an in-depth analysis of topics related to the recruitment and retention of a diverse and excellent faculty. Results will inform the development of strategies, resources, and best practices to strengthen collegiate and departmental recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Increase the persistence and four-year graduation rates for underrepresented students (Strategy Und 2-C).
    • Task Underway: Curricular transformation efforts will target critical gateway courses with high failure rates and provide support for inclusive course redesign with linked academic support (e.g., supplemental instruction, embedded peer leaders, etc.).
  • Recognize and value diversity, equity, and inclusion-related research and scholarship through formal and informal processes (Strategy 3-C). 
    • Task Complete: A guidance document has been developed for best practices regarding recognition for international scholarship and globalized research in the tenure/promotion process for faculty members.
  • Enhance institutional, unit, and individual accountability for achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion-related outcomes (Strategy 4-A).
    • Task Complete: Retreats were held with vice presidents and deans to provide DEI data for their organizations and guidance on incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into their strategic plans. Each organization received Abigail Stewart and Virginia Valian’s book, “An Inclusive Academy,” which includes tools for effective organizational transformation. Deans and vice presidents will be accountable for making meaningful progress towards the DEI goals they set for their organizations.
    • Task Underway: An Equity Institute for senior UI leaders (cabinet, deans) will provide training, support, and skill-building to lead diversity, equity, and inclusion change and advance a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community. The institute is expected to be held in Spring/Summer 2020.
  • Facilitate the increased use of data to inform diversity, equity, and inclusion-related decision making (Strategy 4-B).
    • Task Underway: Bring together representatives of the multiple campus surveys to coordinate implementation and explore collaboration through the use of match questions and common demographic categories.
    • Task Underway: The Campus Climate Survey will be administered in Fall 2020. The shift to fall, for one time only, provides time to create a sustainable administrative process that will provide timely and actionable data.

This plan will build on our legacy, advance a more equitable environment, and promote inclusiveness on every level and for every person. It is designed to be a living road map to a better university—and the next step on our historic journey.

Montse Fuentes
Executive Vice President and Provost

Bria Marcelo
Director of Diversity Resources and Strategic Initiatives

Jennifer Modestou
Director of Equal Opportunity & Diversity, Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Nadine Petty
Executive Director of the Center for Diversity and Enrichment