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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 18, 2007

UI Provost Announces New Recruitment Programs To Enhance Diversity

Executive Vice President and Provost Michael J. Hogan has announced progress on a range of programs at the University of Iowa designed to enhance the recruitment and retention of minority faculty, staff, and students.

The programs include:

* Establishment of a new initiative called "Iowa Faculty Investing in Recruiting Student Talent," or "Iowa-FIRST;"

* Development of several new training programs related to building cultural competency among members of the UI community;

* Opening of the new Center for Diversity & Enrichment; and

* Continued enhancement of the Faculty Diversity Opportunities Program (FDOP).

These initiatives, and others, respond to the recommendations laid out by the Diversity Action Committee in their final report, which was released to the university community a year ago (see http://itsnt166.iowa.uiowa.edu/uns-archives/2006/may/050106diversity_report.html for a link to the full report).

"I'm very pleased to note that action has already been taken or is under way on all 19 of the committee's recommendations," Hogan said.

Iowa-FIRST, with its creation of a faculty recruitment team, represents an innovative approach toward attracting students to the UI. An important component of the Iowa-FIRST program, to be launched this spring, will be communicating effectively with potential students from diverse backgrounds. "Students benefit from direct interaction with the faculty and staff who will guide them throughout their studies," Hogan notes. "Providing opportunities for such interaction from our earliest contacts with students puts us in a good position to attract them to the University of Iowa."

Several of the committee's recommendations involve developing greater competency among faculty, staff, and students in understanding and addressing the needs and challenges faced by members of underrepresented groups. A range of activities are being undertaken to respond to these recommendations, including the implementation of cultural competency training for faculty and staff, inclusion of diversity information in new faculty orientation, the continued incorporation of responsibilities and expectations related to diversity in job descriptions and performance evaluations, and development of recruitment materials to enhance outreach to members of underrepresented groups.

To coordinate action on these and other recommendations as well as ensure ongoing strategic attention to diversity, last summer the UI created a new administrative position, special assistant to the president for equal opportunity and diversity. Marcella David, associate provost for diversity and professor of law and international studies, was appointed to the position.

David notes that significant progress has already been made in the effort to enhance existing programs, citing the recently announced opening of the Center for Diversity and Enrichment. The Center will coordinate the outreach and support programs previously offered through two separate offices--Opportunity at Iowa and Support Service Programs--including two long-standing federally funded programs, Upward Bound and New Dimensions in Learning.

Additionally, the university is making progress on its efforts to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups. "I'm particularly pleased to note that we've increased our FDOP program budget to over $1 million and are on track to reach our strategic goal of $1.3 million," Hogan said. "This program has helped us increase the percentage of minority tenured and tenure track faculty from 13.6 percent in 2003 to 16.5 percent in 2006."

Hogan cautions that the UI has a distance to go to reach its diversity goals, however.

"We must work to forge stronger links outside the university, to increase our visibility as a supportive player in diversity initiatives and an attractive environment for scientists, scholars, and artists from underrepresented groups," Hogan  said. "We're doing so through participation in such organizations as Diversity Focus, and we'll continue to actively seek such partnerships." Hogan serves on the Board of Directors for Diversity Focus, a non-profit organization established in 2005 to coordinate and develop programs to enhance diversity throughout the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor (http://diversityfocus.org).

Hogan will discuss the university's progress on its diversity goals and other strategic priorities in his annual Spring Speech, to be held April 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber. Faculty, staff, students, and interested members of the community are invited to attend the event, sponsored this year by the Faculty Senate. A reception will be held immediately following the speech.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Marcella David, 319-335-3565, marcella-david@uiowa.edu.