What is DEI in Action?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Iowa has evolved over our 176-year history. It continues to evolve today. To meet the needs of our society while balancing the needs of our students, faculty, and staff, the institution will define our work in DEI as follows: 

DEI at the University of Iowa: 

  • DEI at the University of Iowa works to maintain a civil campus culture by practicing and teaching respect for every person and issue. This includes all students, faculty, and staff, no matter their visible or invisible disability, race, ethnicity, veteran status, sexual orientation, or religion. 

  • We do this by fostering a robust diversity of thought exercised by our freedom of expression to provide a broad understanding of our world without the marginalization of any group.  

  • This is how the University of Iowa prepares our students to solve our most challenging problems and lead our global society and economy. 


Diversity refers to all aspects of human difference, social identities, and social group differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, and military/veteran status, political perspective, and associational preferences.


Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all campus community members can thrive. Equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the same. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities — historic and current — that advantage some and disadvantage others. Equal treatment results in equity only if everyone starts with equal access to opportunities.


Inclusion refers to a campus community where all members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging, and are able to participate and achieve to their potential. While diversity is essential, it is not sufficient. An institution can be both diverse and non-inclusive at the same time, thus a sustained practice of creating inclusive environments is necessary for success.

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