Sunday, January 22, 2023

Welcome to Unity Week 2023!

Unity Week is a campus-wide effort, celebrating the work in DEI over the past year while looking ahead at the year to come.

This week we are releasing the next integration of our Journey to Unity video series. We had incredible discussions with students, campus, and community leaders about key topics, and I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to watch these conversations.

Last week, we released the results of the 2022 Campus Climate Survey.  The common thread from these findings is to continue our focus on unifying our campus culture.

While the survey is a snapshot in time of our campus, there are themes that we have seen emerge since we started measuring our climate in 2018 and reinforced by this latest information:

  • We continue to see that our students feel faculty encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints and that all Hawkeyes feel valued at very high rates.
  • Our commitment to DEI continues to be important to us, but some of our faculty and staff agree that attention to DEI distracts from our academic mission or there is too much emphasis on DEI. 
  • This is where we can expand our understanding of how DEI can be valuable to an organization and the importance of understanding multiple viewpoints in everything we do.
  • Where we see gaps for improvement are based on improving our culture.
  • Faculty and staff reported experiencing negative bias that interfered with their work performance and mental or physical health eroded their confidence, or caused them to consider leaving.
  • Retention is one of the top priorities of our new strategic plan.  Our best recruiting tool is our people. Retaining our faculty and staff, especially those from underrepresented groups, is a top priority that will help us grow the student population. 

We will continue to work with the strategic plan and campus leadership to build a shared feeling of respect and accountability as outlined in our institutional mission and values.

We are in a time in our society when we are very polarized.  To be able to learn, to teach, to do our research, and care for our patients, we need to come together and respect everyone different from us. 

To do this, we need to have difficult conversations with each other and learn how to listen critically without giving an immediate adverse reaction to what is being said.

At Iowa, we have the unique opportunity first to learn how to have challenging conversations and then teach our campus how to work with people who are different from us. Our ability to have civility in our community is rooted in our culture. 

We work to build a culture that everyone wants to be a part of.  We want to find commonality with everyone we interact with, and we build our community based on our fundamental values of creativity, community, excellence, inclusion, and integrity.  In short, our focus on culture, commonality, and community build what it means to be a Hawkeye.

This unity week, I want to hear your thoughts on our culture, commonality, and community. 

  • What does it mean to you to be a Hawkeye?
  • What do you want your Hawkeye experience to look like?

Please email me your thoughts at, and we will gather all the results on the website highlighting what we have learned. 

Watch the social media of all our colleges and units this week to learn how they are growing their culture and DEI.  It is a fun week to learn how we can all get better together to continue to make the University of Iowa the most welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone!

Have a great week!