Excellence through Diversity

four graduates raising their hands to the Old Capitol

 The University of Iowa never stands still. Our institutional history heralds the drive toward distinction that defines our objectives across varied and complex fields. The quality of our leadership, innovations, and accomplishments depends on our people. Today more than ever, 
we strive to create an educational experience that audaciously affirms our values and includes all who join our community. This redoubled dedication inspired the creation of a new message to clarify our ideals:

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. Thus, 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 environment for all who join the UI family will determine our collective success. We eagerly accept this challenge.

At the UI, we achieve excellence through diversity.  

At the 2018 Update on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in January, the Chief Diversity Office introduced this message to campus and identified key priorities to guide the UI’s pursuit of excellence:

  • Assess and improve campus climate by measuring DEI through regular surveys, cultivating an environment of accountability around improving diversity for all units, and encouraging training and educational opportunities aimed at increasing cultural competency 
  • Increase retention and graduation rates of historically marginalized students by maximizing the effectiveness of services that support underrepresented students and tracking persistence and graduation rates as measures of success 
  • Strengthen recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty by intensifying efforts to hire, retain, and foster the success of faculty who identify as underrepresented U.S. racial minorities 
  • Enhance clear communication and accountability by consistently sharing DEI goals and initiatives and tracking progress according to the university strategic plan

In the following pages, we highlight dynamic, innovative examples of DEI work progressing across our institution in these four areas.  Notwithstanding the range and scope of these initiatives, they constitute a mere fraction of such work at the UI. Space constraints make it impossible to feature all that is unfolding on campus, and we are grateful to all the members of our community leading and contributing to efforts that make our environment more inclusive.  

With the expertise of the Diversity Resources Team, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and the Center for Diversity and Enrichment, the Chief Diversity Office provides skill-building opportunities; maintains compliance with laws, regulations, and policies; and supports academic success for college students who are underrepresented minorities; and encourages K-12 students to attend college. These consistent endeavors ensure our steady progress.

We thank those who have contributed to this publication: we value your voices. We encourage others to share your stories by contacting diversity@uiowa.edu and visiting the Diversity at Iowa website, diversity.uiowa.edu. We appreciate your support and patience during this transitional period of leadership, and we look forward to the many accomplishments to come as the University of Iowa achieves excellence through diversity.

Lena Hill, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President, 2017-2018
Senior Associate to the President
Associate Professor of English and African American Studies

Melissa Shivers, Ph.D.
Interim Chief Diversity Officer, 2018
Vice President for Student Life