Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The University of Northern Iowa advances work in diversity, equity, and inclusion through investigating our own biases and shortcomings, as well as through celebrating black, indigenous, and people of culture. We seek to create a movement that embraces culturally sustaining pedagogies, curriculum, initiatives, and practices. As defined by Django Paris and H. Samy Alim, a culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) "has as its explicit goal supporting multilingualism and multiculturalism in practice and perspective for students and teachers. CSP seeks to perpetuate and foster linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling and as a needed response to demographic and social change."
 
The Culturally Sustaining Movement at UNI will thus have two goals. First, to investigate and renovate our current systems that are biased or prejudiced in order to create greater equity on campus. Second, to build a culture of inclusion through embracing different linguistic abilities, cultural practices, heritages, communities, and perspectives in our curriculum, pedagogies, recruitment initiatives, retention programs, policies, and practices. For our institution and for our students to be successful going forward we must embrace a new way of thinking and being, of teaching and learning, of service and scholarship, one that recognizes that our tomorrow will be bright if we understand our interdependencies and interrelationships and the way in which diversity makes us stronger.
 
We have launched many initiatives within Academic Affairs to nurture and breath life into this movement. More information on these initiatives will be forthcoming and included on this page. Here is a start:
 
Cultivating Justice: A Six-Week Quest toward Racial Equity--Led by Dr. Danielle McGeough, the Quest will build further understanding of racial inequity, white privilege, and the systems that advance these things, and then to build towards action for change. The Quest is currently seeking materials to include in the project; please complete the Contribution/Nomination Form by October 9. The program itself will run in the spring semester. Email quest@uni.edu  if you have questions.
 
Panther Promise Academy--De'Carlos Anderson and Dacia Carter have launched the Panther Promise Academy this fall. The focus of this initiative is on providing leadership development, academic support, mentoring, and networking for incoming students of color. 
 
Policy Review--Academic leaders and faculty are currently undergoing a process to be trained on how to review policies for bias and then to revise policies to make certain that the policies themselves do not contain bias but also more importantly that the implementation does not contain bias. We are currently working to finalize the individuals who will be a part of this work. If you have questions, please contact Dr. John Burnight, Faculty Senate Chair, or me.
 
Faculty Senate DEI Committee--Faculty Senate Leaders are currently working on a series of initiatives that will address the educational and learning experience of our students, including developing a General Education certificate in diversity (which would then become a requirement in our Gen Ed program; this certificate would include 4 courses); a diversity entrance requirement; and faculty training. 
 
Deans' Council Training--We have embarked on important training for Deans' Council to understand white privilege and how to become equity-minded leaders. The curriculum, developed by Ericka Gonzalez-Smith, will allow us to build a foundation for our ability to lead through equity-mindedness, increase our hiring for more faculty and staff of color, and build a culture of belonging.
 
One Cedar Valley--In response to the Wallstreet 24/7 report and the Future Ready Cedar Valley Summit, a group of individuals in the Cedar Valley, including Mayor Hart, convened to build a network or organization that would assist individuals who have barriers get employment. The work we are doing is modeled after the Evelyn K Davis Center in Des Moines; it also led to bringing the Momentum program to Waterloo through One City
 
 
For information on the university's diversity work, please see the Diversity & Inclusion website.