Create and sustain an inclusive and equitable campus environment

STRATEGY 1-A: Consistently, clearly, and boldly communicate the message that diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to the university’s academic mission.


  • Develop a comprehensive plan to communicate the UI’s institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion to internal and external constituencies. Emphasize the interconnected commitment to academic freedom, free expression, and a safe, supportive, inclusive environment as articulated in the university’s purpose and mission statement (OM I-2.1). 
  • Communicate institutional definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion. Define diversity broadly to communicate the importance of all individuals, communities, and perspectives in achieving an inclusive campus community and articulate the importance of ensuring equity through population-specific initiatives designed to address patterned disparities.
  • Use the FY19 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Digest to review internal and external institutional diversity statements for alignment with the campus paradigm shift from a focus on diversity to the expanded commitment to excellence through diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Chronicle the history of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and milestones at the UI. Designate the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as the central repository for current and former diversity, equity, and inclusion-related reports (e.g., campus climate surveys, action plans, listening sessions and task force recommendations). Use the history and repository to honor the efforts to date, learn from past efforts, and introduce the campus to these proud traditions.
  • Encourage the Central Services Advisory committees to request units provide an update on their diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities.

STRATEGY 1-B: Enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion-related central communications and marketing of diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments and events.

Critical Tasks

  • Strategically position the UI Events Calendar as the campus repository to collect diversity, equity, and inclusion-related events and programs. Educate campus on entering diversity, equity, and inclusion-related events and inform about the use of diversity, equity, and inclusion-specific tags to search for events.
  • Develop strategies to publicize diversity, equity, and inclusion events using new and existing communication strategies. Enhance access to existing diversity, equity, and inclusion-related listservs that are fed by the UI Events Calendar (e.g., the Diversity at Iowa Upcoming Events website, diversity, equity, and inclusion’s listserv, the Carver College of Medicine’s “Diversity Programs and Events” monthly calendar). Explore new methods for reaching students, including an RSS feed of diversity, equity, and inclusion events and developing a social media strategy for existing Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion accounts that coordinate with the UI’s institutional social media strategy, including the exploration of a similar one-button access similar to Arts Iowa
  • Engage communications specialists, scholars, and diverse campus constituencies to review the UI Brand Manual Editorial Style Guide to expand upon the “10. Bias in Language” section to include guidance regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion-related terminology.
  • Develop a guide to support principles and resources for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion via inclusive marketing and accessible communications (e.g., ethical use of diverse imagery, accessibility, and translation resources).

STRATEGY 1-C: Strengthen the university’s leadership infrastructure of to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

Critical Tasks

  • Develop a campus-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Success Team modeled after the UI Student Success Team to provide opportunities for faculty, staff, and student diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders to come together as a “community of practice”, enhance their knowledge and skills, and strengthen strategic networks across campus. Use the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Digest project leads and 2019-2021 Excellence through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan Development Group members to develop the membership
  • Clarify the charge and role of the Charter Committee on Diversity in relation to the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Diversity Councils, Shared Governance diversity committees, and the Path Forward DEI-C Committee.
  • Conduct an external review of Student Disability Services, including an assessment of its role and services offered to support the success of students with disabilities and advance education and training for students, faculty and staff. Identify a new location for the office of Student Disability Services.
  • Strengthen the visibility of campus support resources (e.g., Campus inclusion Team, Office of the Ombudsperson). Develop a web resource that identifies key campus resources and the types of concerns they specialize in, the processes that can be expected, and contact information.  Convene conversations among the offices and gather data to inform and create responsive practices to address patterned disparities.
  • Review and implement the recommendations from the external review of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion units to ensure that the organizational structure and programmatic functions are appropriately aligned and adequately resourced to support the UI Strategic Plan and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan.

STRATEGY 1-D: Integrate the leadership of historically marginalized communities in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Critical Tasks

  • Strengthen and expand the UI Diversity Councils and the crucial roles they play in supporting campus recruitment and retention goals. (see the employee resource group model for the use of similar affinity groups in business and industry). Engage current Diversity Council leaders in identifying what they believe is necessary to strengthen their influence on campus.
  • Convene a quarterly Diversity Council Leadership Group meeting between council officers and representatives of central administration to provide input on current and future diversity, equity, and inclusion planning in fulfillment of the UI strategic plan goal to “establish mechanisms for regular and direct communication between the president and provost and representatives of students, staff, and faculty from underrepresented groups.”
  • Build on existing campus events honoring nationally recognized observances to expand awareness of population-specific issues, support collaboration among staff, faculty, and student organizations, and showcase the celebrations as visual symbols of the UI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Enhance funding for the programs, expand marketing and communication of events, and integrate themes throughout college and unit communication networks.

STRATEGY 1-E: Ensure that administrators, faculty, and staff are effective at promoting, modeling, and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion core values.

Critical Tasks

  • Create a collaborative campus response process for responding swiftly, compassionately, and effectively to diversity, equity, and inclusion-related incidents on campus.
  • Build the institutional capacity to provide and expect all members of the campus community to participate in competency-based, diversity, equity and inclusion skill-building workshops.
  • Host an eight-week Equity Institute to provide key campus leaders on how to effectively address patterned disparities and advance a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus community.
  • Revise and implement the current Collaboration and Embracing Diversity Universal Competency that applies to all Professional and Scientific staff, Merit, Merit Supervisory-Exempt, Confidential, and SEIU performance appraisals.
  • Strengthen the Building University of Iowa Leadership for Diversity (BUILD) program by assessing core and elective program offerings; aligning, as needed, with organizational development and diversity, equity, and inclusion competencies, and expanding the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s capacity to meet campus demand for the BUILD program and its other professional development offerings.
  • Enhance the quality of diversity, equity, and inclusion professional development programs by increasing assessment literacy and providing program design and evaluation tools for use across campus.

STRATEGY 1-F: Enhance the campus physical and technological environment for inclusion and accessibility.

Critical Tasks

  • Develop a tool to support units in conducting an audit of their physical environments in support of creating visually welcoming and inclusive environments on campus. 
  • Create an “Accessible and Inclusive Campus Facilities” webpage that links to the main campus maps website and publicizes links to the Campus Accessibility Map (e.g., entrances, elevators, interior connecting routes, accessible parking, sidewalk closures, stairs, crosswalk, and sidewalk grades), as well as information about hearing loop rooms, lactation rooms, and other key elements as identified by the Council on Disability Awareness and the Disability Planning and Action Committee.
  • Continue to support the work of the Trans Inclusivity Task Force through continued collaboration and resources.
  • Explore joining our Big Ten peer institutions (e.g., University of Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan State University) in institutionalizing a formal land acknowledgment statement to open campus events by honoring the history and enduring relationship between indigenous peoples and their traditional territories, including the land on which the university stands.