Please visit coronavirus.uiowa.edu to stay updated on campus COVID-19 information.

DSL Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan

As the Division of Student Life (DSL) at the University of Iowa, we must acknowledge that our organization is a representation of our larger society which has historically privileged many as well as equally disenfranchised and marginalized others. The time is ripe to begin to live our espoused value of excellence through diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our broader campus has gone through an interactive process and established a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan for the entire campus.

The following goals and strategies can guide the Division of Student Life to more fully realizing its possibility and responsibility to create an equitable and inclusive organization. We want to be leaders in showing how engaging authentically across cultural differences only strengthens an organization and results in a better experience for all.

Goal 1: Systemic and Structural

Identify and revise systematically oppressive policies, practices, and programs in order to create a culture where healing, equitable, and sustained change will happen.

Strategy 1

Communicate and contextualize the Division of Student Life’s ongoing participation in systemically racist, sexist, gendered, ableist, heteronormative and other exclusionary policies, practices, and programs.

Update

No updates currently 

Strategy 2

Use DEI criteria to evaluate decision making. Examples: 

  • How might our implicit attitudes, assumptions, and unspoken norms about _____ be playing out in this decision?
  • How might this program/service/policy/practice inadvertently advantage some and disadvantage others?

Create a climate where the full breadth of social identities is consistently involved in decision-making processes. 

Update

  • DEI Implementation Team co-chairs reached out to University Housing & Dining (UH&D) for their model on decision making to use as a potential framework. (Fall 2019)
  • Developing a Decision-Making Tree (DMT) resource which includes DEI criteria which ensure that the full breadth of social identities is consistently involved for all units within DSL. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 3

Create and display a land acknowledgement statement to demonstrate understanding of the impact of colonialism on indigenous communities.

Update

  • The Native American Council, in collaboration with stakeholders, drafted a land acknowledgement for use at the University of Iowa. The land acknowledgement is currently being reviewed by stakeholders. Individuals interested in learning more about land acknowledgements can complete the BUILD Land Acknowledgement session. (Spring 2020)
  • Collaborating with Native American Council on finishing a room in the Iowa Memorial Union to acknowledge and celebrate the native and indigenous history of the land on which the University of Iowa resides. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 4

Partner with the DSL Staff Development Committee to implement Division processes for sustained change by investing in how we do our work through ongoing conversation.

Create peer networks and other ongoing mechanisms that allow staff members to intentionally be in regular dialogue that considers the ways in which diversity, equity, and inclusion influence their daily tasks.

Update

  • Nine DSL staff members: Adam R., Teri S., Ewa B., Kimmie A., Maria B., Amy B., Nikki H., Martha P., Tammy S., completed the Facilitating Difficult Dialogue for Advanced Facilitators course in Summer 2019. (Fall 2019)
  • Staff across the Division of Student Life are participating in the Being Circles Pilot Project, a joint effort launched by the University of Iowa College of Education, the University of Iowa Division of Student Life, and The Multicultural Initiatives Research Team Institute in fall 2020. (Summer 2020)
  • Two White Accountability Space groups began in summer 2020 and are continuing into the fall semester. Data is being collected to inform possible future expansion of the offering. (Summer 2020)
  • White Allyship conversations are being offered on a recurring basis with a mix of specific topics and open-ended conversation beginning in summer 2020, continuing in fall. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 5

Expand the Division’s DEI capacity through realigning a position within the DSL Human Resources (HR) team, creating a structure for collateral assignments within the DSL DEI area, and supporting staff members in becoming DEI trainers. 

Update

  • Failed search for DSL HR trainer.  Re-examined approach in December 2019 to better support retention and engagement strategies. (Fall 2019). Due to the financial impacts of COVID-19, DSL will not be hiring for this position at this time. Once financials stabilize at the University of Iowa, we will revisit hiring for this position. (Summer 2020)
  • Report submitted in December 2019 from Collateral Assignment Innovation Team to DSL Executive Leadership Team. (Fall 2019)
  • DEI Implementation co-chairs are working on a proposal for a DSL Training Team. (Spring 2020)

Strategy 6

Conduct a needs assessment to match training to the developmental levels of employees.

Update

  • Needs assessment has been drafted and will be administered in fall 2020. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 7

Utilize the newly realigned position on the DSL HR team to develop a training plan for the division. 

Develop required implicit bias and inclusivity training for all employees, beginning with all new employees.  

Develop required, tailored implicit bias and supervision training to equip supervisors with tools to support an inclusive, equitable workplace.

Examine differentials and non-monetary measures to recognize and reward individuals engaged in DEI work outside their standard staff role.

Use exit and “stay” interview data to regularly inform decisions about Division, department, and unit climate. 

Update

  • Exit interview information is shared with respective department leader. DSL HR is working on an expanded exit survey and researching viability of “stay” interviews. (Fall 2019)
  • DEI Implementation co-chairs are working on a proposal for a DSL Training Team. (Spring 2020)
  • University of Iowa Human Resources (UIHR) rolled out supervisory training for the campus in January 2020. DSL will build upon this foundational training for supervisors. (Spring 2020)
  • Co-chairs are outlining training plan for the Division and are meeting with staff with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to outline options for implicit bias training. (Summer 2020)
  • Implicit bias train the trainer will be offered in spring 2021 for 10 staff in DSL. (Fall 2020)

Strategy 8

Create a culture where all staff members complete annual diversity, equity, and inclusion training.

Update

  • DEI Implementation co-chairs are working on a proposal for a DSL Training Team. (Spring 2020)
  • Developing an Iowa GROW-type process to assist supervisors in having regular DEI conversations with their employees. A pilot group of supervisors to implement and test the initiative will be identified in fall 2020 and with the goal of beginning with the pilot group in spring 2021. (Summer 2020)
  • Recruited and held initial meeting with participants in the first IDEA pilot group. Training sessions were held in January and the pilot will begin in spring 2021. Pilot supervisors will participate in monthly meetings and a wrap-up mini-retreat at the end of the semester. (Fall 2020)

Strategy 9

Explore creation of a centralized DSL student advisory committee available to all units. 

Contribute to a culture of student involvement by including students in decisions via committees, Hawkeye Engage opportunities, practica, internships, and other methods that don’t overtax and tokenize. 

Update

  • There are various advisory committees across the Division of Student Life including Dean of Student’s Advisory Committee, University Counseling Service Advisory Committee, Student Health Student Advisory Committee, Associated Residence Halls, and the Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct. (Fall 2019)
  • Developing a plan to create a centralized DSL DEI Student Advisory Committee. (Summer 2020)
  • Partnered with the Dean of Students Advisory Board and other student organizations to integrate student participation and feedback into the DSL DEI Action Plan Implementation Team and its subcommittees. (Summer 2020)
  • Proposal for the new Student Action Committee completed, and two staff advisors identified. Proposal is being sent to Executive Leadership Team for approval. (Fall 2020)

Strategy 10

Charge an innovation team to develop a structure for collateral assignments within the DSL DEI area.

Offer DSL staff members the opportunity to become DEI trainers to expand training capacity.

Update

  • Report submitted in December 2019 from Collateral Assignment Innovation Team to DSL Executive Leadership Team. (Fall 2019)
  • Two internships will be offered in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life in fall 2020. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 11

Revise “first-come, first-serve” and other processes that are inequitable and disadvantage underrepresented students and advantage majority students (example, cost structures of housing options, housing assignment processes, support for student organizations, etc.) as appropriate.

Update

  • As a part of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership program review, now three new offices, Student Engagement and Campus Programs; Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement; and Fraternity and Sorority Life; there will be a review of the offices' process and procedures. (Fall 2019)
  • Beginning work with students to create a method for gathering information from students about DSL policies/practices/programs that result in differential/detrimental impact for marginalized students. (Summer 2020)

Goal 2: Structural Sustainability

Create a sustainable structure to support the DSL as a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.

Strategy 1

Create a senior leadership position for Inclusion & Belonging with a portfolio, student advisory board, staff advisory board, status and resources to elicit accountability for implementation of the DEI plan.

Engage a consultant to work directly with the DSL Leadership Team on diversity, equity, and inclusion competencies and leading for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Updates

  • Dr. Maria Bruno, the Executive Director of Belonging & Inclusion and Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life, was hired and began October 7, 2019. (Fall 2019)

Strategy 2

Collaborate with campus partners to scale opportunities for all students (undergraduate, graduate, professional) to mentor and be mentored.

Update

  • The Division of Student Life is partnering with the Graduate College to provide programming specifically designed to better support graduate students, with a focus on graduate students of color. (Fall 2019)

Strategy 3

Hold leaders accountable to create, monitor, and report on annual diversity, equity, and inclusion goals for their units.

Update

  • Division of Student Life leadership actively involved with the implementation of the DSL DEI Action Plan. (Fall 2019)

Strategy 4

Partner with the Division of DEI, to conduct DEI climate assessments every two years and use results to inform future iterations of the DSL DEI plan.

Create standard questions related to DEI effectiveness for use in student assessment/surveys of our programs.

Create audit processes to regularly evaluate departmental policies, practices, programs, and physical spaces from a DEI perspective.

Update

  • DEI Implementation Team co-chairs are serving on the Faculty and Staff DEI Climate Survey work group, in collaboration with DDEI. (Spring 2020)
  • The Assessment Council discussed standard DEI questions for use across DSL. (Spring 2020)
  • Executive Director of Belonging & Inclusion consulting with HR on a repository for policies and procedures. (Fall 2019)

Strategy 5

Include diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics and progress measures in all departmental and division strategic planning documents.

Update

  • DEI goal included in DSL Strategic Plan. (Spring 2020)

Strategy 6

Ensure every department within the Division has staff members from both majority and underrepresented cultural backgrounds working together to generate and structure sustainable diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. 

Update

  • DSL Human Resources actively working to recruit a diverse workforce. (Fall 2019)

Strategy 7

Assess and support promising and effective student programs (e.g., Hawkeye Service Breaks, Hawkeye Talent Initiative, Hubbard Scholars, Womxn of Color Network, Iowa N.E.W. Leadership, etc.) in reaching increased numbers of students with underrepresented and marginalized identities.

Update

  • The implementation of Swipe across the Division provided data to better understand the various student groups the Division is serving and not serving. (Fall 2019)
  • Hawkeye Talent Initiative expanding beyond the state of Iowa in Fall 2020. (Spring 2020)

Strategy 8

Expand Campus Inclusion Team (CIT) processes to enable staff members to report incidents and concerns they experience and use CIT data to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the division. 

Update

  • Recent changes in leadership of the CIT were made and this opportunity will be used to reevaluate how to move forward. (Fall 2019)
  • The response team of CIT has been reinvigorated for fall 2020, and the advisory board will reconvene starting in spring 2021. (Fall 2020)
  • CIT has provided support and education for students including election day support and workshops on returning to home. (Fall 2020)

Strategy 9

Identify the essential diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes for all student employees and deliver training in ways that ensure consistency. 

Update

  • Piloted the employee Anti-Harassment training with a group of student employees in University Dining. The Director of the Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator and the Executive Director of Belonging & Inclusion developing a proposal to expand the program to share with Division leadership. (Spring 2020)
  • Developing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) learning outcomes for student employees in conjunction with a work group outlining overall learning outcomes for student employees. (Fall 2020)

Strategy 10

Provide students with additional programming and messaging throughout their college experience to promote clear pathways to involvement and belonging at Iowa.

Update

  • Student Engagement and Campus Programs is helping students become more engaged throughout their time at UI through engagement advising. (Spring 2020)

Strategy 11

Partner with the Trans Inclusivity Coalition to increase trans and gender inclusive practices such as restrooms, medical care, and support for name/pronoun use.

Update

Strategy 12

Outline a master plan to create a multicultural center and renovate the existing cultural/resource center.

Update

  • Maria Bruno, Tab Wiggins, Multicultural & International Student Support & Engagement (MISSE) staff, and student leadership are in conversation with the President's Office and Campus Planning on next steps. (Spring 2020)

Strategy 13

Provide more resources for cultural heritage/history months and affinity graduations.

Provide designated funds to the University Lecture Committee for a Diversity Scholars Series highlighting thought leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Update

  • University of Iowa Student Government (UISG) provided funding in support of the cultural centers. (Fall 2019)

Strategy 14

Increase awareness of and solicit feedback about revised staff recruitment practices for continuous improvement.

Thoroughly integrate the new universal competencies into job descriptions and performance appraisal and provide training on assessing diversity, equity, and inclusion performance.

Update

  • New UI universal competencies added to employee performance appraisals. (Fall 2019)
  • Created a rubric for employees that outlines specific work behaviors for each level of the diversity, equity, and inclusion universal competency. (Fall 2020)

Strategy 15

Create and implement a comprehensive new staff orientation/onboarding process that focuses on skill building and values. 

Update

No updates currently

Strategy 16

Create a comprehensive retention plan for staff members of color, including clear pathways to mentoring, involvement and leadership opportunities. 

Create a comprehensive skill building plan for staff from majority groups, including clear pathways to mentoring, involvement and partnership opportunities. 

Explore opportunities for merit staff members to participate in Division training and programs while maintaining necessary service levels. 

Update

  • The Division hosted the DSL Solutions Lab in spring of 2018 with the objective to create and commit to a plan for evolving how we recruit and retain a more diverse staff and inclusive culture reflective of our vision in the DSL. Some recommendations from the Solutions Lab have been implemented. (Fall 2019)

Goal 3: Culturally Inclusive Practices

Implement strong, genuine, and consistently communicated culturally inclusive practices that reinforce of Division of Student Life values.

Strategy 1

Share our onboarding processes, values, and expectations during recruitment related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, including social media channels.

Reinforce a culture of exceeding compliance in DEI work through positive rewards identified by staff members.

Update

  • Creating subcommittee to collaborate with HR team to explore current processes and consider options for change/growth. (Summer 2020)
  • Implemented the DEI Change Agent awards to celebrate the DEI work of staff. (Summer 2020)
  • Exploring unit-specific strategies to compile a master list of what is currently in practice. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 2

Outline diversity, equity, and inclusion standards for Division publications. 

Update

Office of Strategic Communications updated the following standards in fall 2020: https://brand.uiowa.edu/equal-opportunity-statements and https://brand.uiowa.edu/news/2020/09/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-style-guide (Fall 2020)

Strategy 3

Redefine training by supplementing knowledge only training with training focused on skill building and behavior change.

Update

  • Reviewing and categorizing existing training opportunities that currently exist (at UI and beyond). (Summer 2020)
  • Reviewing and assessing DEI-related training that is currently required by the DSL and/or unit. (Summer 2020)
  • Creating a resource list to outline options for growth and development. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 4

Build supportive networks of staff members across and within culturally different groups to work together on challenging problems.

Create multiple responsive feedback loops at varying points in interacting in daily work. Ask:

  • How are we doing on this project?
  • Is there any perspective and experience that we are leaving out?
  • If so, do we know why? If not, how might we make changes? 

Update

  • DEI Implementation Team will explore various models such as the Student Success Team (SST), DSL Solutions Lab, and the #DoesUILoveMe processes in order to evaluate what worked well, where there are areas of improvement, and if similar processes could be used. (Fall 2019)
  • Reviewing DSL-wide action groups and committees that have been established in the past to assess which components will best sustain and drive this work. (Summer 2020)
  • Researching ways to obtain quantitative and qualitative data from DSL collectively and within individual units. (Summer 2020)
  • Reviewing strategies currently implemented within units to guide decision-making. (Summer 2020)

Strategy 5

Expand On Common Ground Division-wide meetings, or institute a “Division Common Hour”, so training can be offered during regularly scheduled times, available to all. 

Update

  • Time during and after On Common Ground has been used for different staff programming, but has yet to be used for training purposes. The DEI Implementation Team will collaborate with the Staff Development Committee to see what programming has been done thus far and incorporate training into future On Common Ground programming. (Fall 2019)