The Division of Student Life (DSL) aspires to provide all students, staff, faculty and visitors of the University of Iowa a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive experience.

We want to move beyond words, and focus on actions, demonstrating our commitment through prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the DSL’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. Along with DEI, additional strategic priorities include student engagement, holistic well-being, community and belonging, all areas in which the DSL is positioned to make a significant contribution to student success.

The University of Iowa strives to help every student develop the necessary skills to thrive in college and once they graduate. We need to help our students develop technical skills and knowledge, social and interpersonal skills, creativity, cognitive and psychological flexibility, understanding and appreciation for diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to become effective leaders.

Division of Student Life's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan

The Division of Student Life Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan guides our work.

Read the DEI Action Plan

The Division of Student Life is also working collaboratively to implement critical tasks in the Welcoming and Inclusive Environment goal in the University of Iowa's 2022-2027 Strategic Plan.

University definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion

  • Diversity: 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, military/veteran status, political perspective, and associational preferences.
  • Inclusion: 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.
  • Equity: 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.

Why is diversity, equity and inclusion important for the DSL?

With an increasingly diverse student body, we have a responsibility to create a DSL environment that is inclusive and welcoming of all students. DSL staff members play a vital role in helping students gain an understanding and appreciation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In order to optimize our effectiveness in facilitating student development in this area, the DSL created the Executive Director of Belonging and Inclusion position. The departments in the Belonging and Inclusion portfolio are Student Disability Services (SDS), Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC), Multicultural and International Student Support and Engagement (MISSE), and the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP). In addition to their direct service to students, these departments contribute to developing staff knowledge, awareness, skills and behaviors to support a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive college experience.