April, 2016 Diversity Update

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Dear Campus Community,

Back in March, we provided you with our last review of diversity and inclusion efforts as we work towards improving our campus climate. As end of the semester nears, we thought it was important to share the latest developments in campus initiatives intended to broaden our cultural perspectives and gain a richer and deeper understanding of diversity. Embracing diversity and creating a more inclusive environment will only serve to enrich the lives and experiences of our students, faculty and staff here at UNI.

There are four upcoming and ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives for which we are pleased to provide an update:

Chief Diversity Officer: All five finalists for the Chief Diversity Officer position have completed their visits, which included open forums both on campus and in the community. Thank you to everyone who attended the forums. If you were not able to submit a feedback form before the deadline on Thursday, please contact search committee chair Robert Smith with your feedback.

Diversity Action Plan: The Diversity Action Plan, a result of the forums that were led by our students last fall, continues to evolve and take shape as the Diversity Advisory Committee works to develop a plan that will lead to meaningful and lasting changes on our campus. The latest draft has been submitted to the Diversity and Inclusion Council for review.

Fall Faculty Workshop: The 2016 Fall Faculty Workshop, titled "Culturally Inclusive Classrooms In All Our Disciplines, For All Our Students," will take place on Thursday, August 18. This interactive workshop will focus on enhancing the skills needed to navigate challenging discussions about diversity and inequality - no matter the subject being taught - in the classroom and on campus. More details and registration information will be made available soon.

#MyStoryChallenge: Mason Greer, a senior communications major here at UNI, has issued an important challenge to the campus community and beyond. He has produced a video that implores members of underrepresented groups to end their silence and speak out about social injustice. I encourage you to watch the video and consider accepting the formidable challenge that Mason has put forth.

These are all important steps toward implementing meaningful and systemic changes on our campus. The march of progress is slow, but by working together as a community, we can achieve true change. Thank you to our students, faculty and staff for all of their hard work throughout this academic year. We have all been challenged to address the complex issues at hand, and I am pleased that we are having difficult but necessary conversations that will help pave the way toward a brighter future.

Bill Ruud        Jim Wohlpart
President       Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs