Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Welcome to the first official entry into "Notes from Liz." and Tuesday of "Unity Week 2021."

On the heels of yesterday's release of the 2020 Climate Survey, one of our key takeaways is the need for more communication and more transparency. These "Notes from Liz" will be one of the many ways we increase the discussion around our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Iowa.

If you have not seen our new video, "A Journey to Unity," I encourage you to take a look. Our Climate Survey is full of great information, but I wanted to hear from the voices most impacted by our current campus climate. After watching, I challenge you to ask yourself, where are you at in your DEI journey? How can you work to respect others at our institution, and what can you do to unify our campus?

Tonight, there is a fantastic virtual event I encourage everyone to experience. Check out: Celebrate Black Excellence Everyday: Honoring Unsung Heroes. The event begins at 7 p.m. and should be a fantastic presentation of important and influential Black people who haven't been remembered for their contributions to history and the Civil Rights Movement.

A couple of quick DEI highlight, first from the University College:

  • Wayne Jacobson in the Office of Assessment will be using the SERU and gradSERU surveys to collect DEI climate data from students during the second half of the spring 2021 semester. Students are encouraged to complete the survey when it opens. Please watch for additional information during the spring semester.
  • From Emily Hill, Honors Program: Students played a lead role in creating a new Honors DEI Advisory Board that will be launched during the spring 2021 semester. Co-creators/contacts are Samalya Thenuwara samalya-thenuwara@uiowa.edu and Amna Haider amna-s-haider@uiowa.edu. Great work!
  • From Lisa Ingram, Academic Advising Center (AAC): The Academic Advising Center (AAC) has created a new position, Coordinator for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives, which will be filled by an AAC senior advisor. The Coordinator will work closely with the AAC Director team and on-going committees supporting student success:
    • Committee on Advising Students of Color (CASOC)
    • LGBTQ Committee
    • Social Class/First Gen Committee

Dan Clay in the College of Education let me know about the work of Kari Vogelgesang.  

  • Kari has put together a series of professional development modules, the Anti-Racism Professional Educator Webinar Series, hosted by the Baker Teacher Leader Center, for educators that address the multitude of racism issues in K-12. This is a free resource to in-service teachers all over Iowa and teacher education students to use current events as a teaching tool. She brought scholars from all over the country to help conceptualize, develop and deliver this excellent resource.

Finally, check out all of our CLAS DEI events this semester.  

  • Most of these are happening under the CLAS Theme Year umbrella, "Pursuing Racial Justice at the University of Iowa." The first event is about barriers to health equity in Johnson County.
  • CLAS also released their 2020 CLAS DEI Annual Report in December: it includes interviews with a student, a faculty member, and a staff member, as well as data, messages from leadership, and information on our DEI Action Plan. 

Great work from everyone, and I want to hear more about what we are doing across campus. Please email me at elizabeth-tovar@uiowa.edu and watch more "Notes from Liz" as we highlight our DEI efforts!

Talk soon! Liz