CLAS 2020 DEI Annual Report

Page 1

Diversity Equity Inclusion

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2020 DEI Annual Report



from Sara Sanders

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Interim Dean

Professor of Social Work

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


CLAS DEI Annual Report

elcome to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Annual Report. Annually, the CLAS DEI Committee prepares a report about the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the college. This year, the report is particularly timely and we are producing it for a broader audience, as it serves as a launch for more robust actions moving forward. I am happy to have this opportunity to tell you of our successes— and where we are falling short—in ensuring that we are inviting people of all backgrounds to join our academic community; providing equitable resources and support so that everyone has the ability to thrive here; and genuinely and meaningfully including all voices in our administrative decision-making and our social and cultural environment. As Peter Hubbard says in this report about the philosophy that his father, the legendary UI leader Phillip Hubbard, brought to his 30-year career at the University of Iowa: “The DEI quest is not something we do as a favor for the people we’re looking to include in the university; it is something that’s essential to our mission as a university.” That’s exactly right: diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values for the University of Iowa and CLAS, and must be at the forefront of our decision-making and strategic planning for the next five years. By definition, we are dedicated to the expansion and dissemination of human knowledge and understanding. Whether in the sciences, humanities, or arts—or across those disciplinary boundaries—we work and study as whole persons. Each of us brings a unique background and story to our academic mix, including our racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, ability-based, and gender identities.

The personal fulfillment, civic engagement, and professional success for which we prepare our students will unfold in the context of limitless human diversity. Our scientific discovery, humanistic scholarship, and artistic expression remind us of the almost infinite variability of human experience. Accordingly, we need every single person to bring their unique perspective – their personal, lived experiences – to our educational enterprise. If anyone is excluded, silenced, or marginalized, we are not fully realizing our fundamental mission of advancing knowledge, or actualizing our potential for catalyzing positive growth in our societies. This work of building diversity, implementing equity, and fostering inclusion—an ongoing but vital effort to which so many of our faculty, staff, and students are deeply committed—is accomplished through action. As individuals and as an institution, we must consciously choose to confront and combat injustice wherever it occurs, even in our own hearts and our own administrative policies and structures. We must choose to do the work of creating structural change that will make us better as a community for future generations. And then together, we must decide on our goals, outline the steps necessary to achieve them, and put in the time and perseverance to create an optimal environment for learning, teaching, exploring, and working. In this report you will learn about our 2020-21 CLAS DEI Action Plan and steps that we are taking at the collegiate level to infuse these values throughout every area of our college. We are working to support and bolster our departments’ outstanding DEI work and forge a common vision for a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Thank you for your partnership, and thank you for checking out this inaugural publication. I look forward to reporting on our progress in next year’s CLAS DEI Annual Report!

Right: Assistant Professor Ashley Howard, Department of History, African American Studies Program

CLAS DEI Annual Report


In this Report 4

6 8

Support from UI leadership

Faculty Data on faculty diversity A conversation with Rene Rocha, Professor of Political Science, Director of Latina/o/x Studies

Staff Data on staff diversity A conversation with Peter Hubbard, Senior Director, Academic Standards, CLAS

DEI Action Report Progress Highlights




Students Data on undergraduate and graduate student diversity Interview with Shannon McNeal, Class of 2022

Above: Alfred L. Martin, Jr., Department of Communication Studies, African American Studies Program

CLAS DEI Annual Report


CLAS DEI Annual Report




hat an extraordinary time to be a member of the University of Iowa community. As Hawkeyes, we continue to persevere through a pandemic, social unrest, and the transformation to an online learning environment. To emerge stronger as a community, it is imperative that our institution continues momentum in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is leading the way with this effort, and I applaud the college’s creative, successful, and ongoing initiatives. Now more than ever, we need to be united as a community. We must rethink how we provide DEI opportunities while combating external forces such as COVID-19, and to think innovatively about DEI as a path forward to making Iowa a destination for people of all backgrounds. CLAS has long done cutting-edge work to encourage a diverse and inclusive environment for all Hawkeyes. I am confident that the upcoming 2021-26 CLAS strategic plan will double down on those efforts, mirroring the values and goals of universitywide DEI efforts. This includes identifying

strategies for improving the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented minority groups; creating and implementing a DEI lecture series to advance dialogue and discussion across cultural lines; ensuring diverse representation in key leadership positions; and ensuring that DEI is embedded in every department through DEI action plans. I encourage you to lend your voice at the departmental, collegiate, and university level. We in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are here to support you and the Hawkeye community.

Elizabeth Tovar, PhD, Interim Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion The University of Iowa

CLAS DEI Annual Report

A message of support from UI leadership


DEI Ac Repor T

he University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2020-21 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

(DEI) Action Plan outlines initial steps in creating a more inclusive environment for all members of

our college community.

The CLAS DEI Committee, with the leadership of Sara Sanders, CLAS Director of DEI and Interim Dean, developed the plan during the spring and summer of 2020, with input from collegiate and university

constituencies. The CLAS 2020-21 DEI Action Plan builds upon the extraordinary DEI work of faculty, staff, and students throughout our college, and aligns with the UI’s DEI Action Plan and the CLAS strategic plan that will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

Dean Sanders, CLAS leadership, and the CLAS DEI Committee look forward to creating a longer-term DEI plan that will outline recruitment and retention goals, action steps for achieving those goals, and our measurements of success in doing so. That plan will also become effective on July 1, 2021.

View the CLAS 2020-21 DEI Action Plan on the CLAS website.

ction rt Summary of Goals Climate and Retention •

• •

Provide mechanisms to enhance, create,or inform policies and procedures related to DEI challenges in the college Provide feedback mechanisms to respond to DEI issues in the college Assess and strengthen Diversity and Inclusion (DI) general education (GE CLAS Core) requirement

CLAS Community Support • • • • •

Enhance educational opportunities for the college community to increase awareness, knowledge, and skill development about DEI Strengthen departmental and unit infrastructure on DEI Leverage resources to enhance faculty, staff, and departmental DEI engagement Raising awareness and opportunities Develop opportunities to amplify voices and experiences of faculty, students, and staff at the University of Iowa

To accomplish our vision of a genuinely diverse, equitable, and inclusive College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, together we must: • • • • •

Reflect and build upon past successes and challenges Strengthen partnerships with key constituencies on campus including centers, councils, programs, departments, and student groups Tackle difficult questions and craft equitable solutions Commit ourselves to the work of addressing policies, procedures, and practices that lead to inequities Prioritize the needs of our students, faculty, and staff in their own development and growth



Where we are DEI Action Plan Progress Highlights

Spring 2021:

CLAS DEI Annual Report

CLAS will design and assess funding for a DEI Fellows program to support faculty engaged in departmental and campus-wide DEI efforts.

CLAS is committing strategic initiative funding to enhance DEI efforts in departments. Six funded projects are being supported in African American Studies; Art and Art History; Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies; Geographical and Sustainability Sciences; History; Political Science; Social Work; Sociology and Criminology; and World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Spring 2021:

All CLAS departments will create a DEI action plan to align with their strategic planning.


CLAS has formed an ongoing Student DEI Advisory Committee to inform the college of barriers to student success. The group will begin work during Spring 2021.

Departments will begin conducting DEI selfaudits of all aspects of their operation.

CLAS has begun to enhance faculty searches with evidence-based processes that reduce implicit bias in order to increase diversity, ensure equity, and foster inclusion. Fall 2021: CLAS will evaluate success.

Spring 2021:

CLAS will design training for graduate students who teach courses that meet the Diversity and Inclusion general education requirement.

The CLAS-wide “Pursuing Racial Justice” theme-year initiative is bringing together scholars, staff, students, and the UI community for important virtual conversations about race.

CLAS DEI Annual Report

Fall 2021:

Faculty Diversity

Associate Professor Jacki Rand, Department of History, Native American and Indigenous Studies Program

CLAS DEI Annual Report



aculty diversity is critical to our mission in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. As Professor of Political Science Rene Rocha says on page 17 of this report, “We don’t want [students’] first experiences with diversity to be coming in the workplace after they graduate. They need that cultural competency as part of their higher education.” The data on the following pages show our progress over the past five years in achieving racial/ethnic and gender diversity among CLAS faculty, and where we stand today. • When focusing on CLAS faculty (tenure, clinical, and instructional tracks) who identify as members of an underrepresented minority, that percentage has only marginally increased between 2015-16 and the present, from 8.1% to 9.2%. We must do better. As a concrete goal, CLAS ambitiously aims to increase the representation of URM faculty by 5% within the total faculty (to 14.2%) over the next 5 years. • Bringing our attention to tenure-track faculty in CLAS, the trends in race and ethnicity over those years show no significant growth in any underrepresented group. The percentage of Black/African American tenure-track faculty this year is just .08 higher than in 2015-16, and the number of American Indian or Alaska Native

faculty has dropped by half. This is unacceptable. The CLAS 2020-21 DEI Action Plan contains several action items intended to enhance diversity among faculty. On the recruitment side, CLAS has begun working to enhance faculty searches with evidence-based processes that reduce implicit bias in order to increase diversity, ensure equity, and foster inclusion. On the retention side, we are gearing up for a Spring 2021 development and implementation of a faculty and staff retention plan in alignment with the UI’s DEI Action Plan; we are specifically seeking to better understand and address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on URM and female faculty members’ scholarship, and the resulting implications for promotion and advancement. We have work to do to become a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive faculty—and we look forward to engaging our entire community in problem-solving and decision-making.


CLAS Faculty* by Reported Racial/Ethnic Status, 2015-16 through Present *Tenure, Clinical, and Instructional Track







**American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx




700 600 500 400

200 61.9






2015 – ’16

2016 – ’17

2017 – ’18

2018 – ’19

2019 – ’20

2020 – ’21

100 FTE



CLAS Faculty by Gender 5-Year Scope, by Academic Year





Male Female Not specified: 2016-17, 1.0 FTE; 2017-18, 2.0 FTE

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50%

54% 46%



53% 47% 40%







30% 20% 10% 2015 – ’16

2016 – ’17

2017 – ’18

2018 – ’19

2019 – ’20

2020 – ’21

CLAS DEI Annual Report



Above: Associate Professor Damani Phillips, School of Music, African American Studies Program


CLAS Faculty by Reported Racial/Ethnic Status 2015 – Present Tenure Track Only


White, not of Hispanic origin

American Indian or Alaska Native




Not Specified

Black/African American

580.1 Total FTE

564.3 Total FTE

563.3 Total FTE

541.2 Total FTE


537.6 Total FTE

542.0 Total FTE




























15.75 2.71%



2015 – ’16


4 | .68% 2 | .34%

14.38 2.54%

15 -


2016 – ’17




66 12.27% 2019 – ’20



34.47 6.36%











4 | .70% 3 | .53%


10 -


2017 – ’18

3 .53% 4 .71%



- 1.47%

2018 – ’19

3 | .55% 5 | .92%

2.92% 7

- 1.3%

2019 – ’20



16.75 3.09%

2 | .37% 7 | 1.3% 10 - 1.84% 2020 – ’21

2 | .36% 8 | 1.47%

CLAS DEI Annual Report

A conversation with

Rene Rocha

Tell us about your research interests. I was originally brought here on a Latino Studies cluster hire back in 2006. That eventually resulted in the Latinx Studies Program, it took a long time for us to get there. I work broadly in interracial and ethnic politics. I do some Black politics, too, but I focus primarily on Latinx politics. Increasingly, I focus a lot on immigration policy and politics. I was here in 2008 when the Postville raid happened, and that was a really new concept to me. I’d grown up in Texas along the US-Mexico border and I’d always thought about these issues, but from a border perspective. I didn’t expect to live in Iowa and have to face those issues. How about your teaching? My teaching mirrors my research. I’ve always taught courses on racial and ethnic politics. When I first came here, they were more upper-division courses. Then I started teaching courses on general public policy that weren’t really focused on race and ethnicity. But in the last couple of years, I’ve gotten the freedom to start teaching courses that align with my core research interests. I teach an upper-division course on policy and politics. I also teach a first-year course on race and ethnicity, a broad overview course. I created it to meet the Gen Ed Diversity and Inclusion standards. I had to rethink the upper-level poli sci course and design it for freshmen and sophomores who could be majoring in anything. It’s really been one of the more intellectually rewarding teaching experiences I’ve had. The course revolves around introducing students to systemic or institutional racism, and the government’s role in the promotion of institutional racism—that’s the poli sci angle. It talks about that historically in ways that are not obvious, the more innocuous ways that public policy has created or exacerbated racial inequality. And then it looks at how that happens today, criminal justice and other things. It’s tempting to view American political history as a linear progress toward racial equality, but really what you see is movement and backsliding, movement and backsliding, and you can see movement today but also that backsliding, and the course discusses that.

How is the Latina/o/x Studies Program doing? Is there a lot of interest? When I first took it over, we had six minors. Now we’re way up, almost 70. I think that we would have more, but our course offerings only provide so many seats, so there’s kind of a limiting factor. There’s the Latinx LivingLearning Community now, and we’re trying to coordinate with them, that’s a natural source of future growth for us. We’re a pretty active minor, but our goal is to be a major. Has the UI had success in supporting faculty from underrepresented minority communities? How’s our track record? If you just look at the numbers, not particularly great. I’m the only person still here from the original cluster hire in 2006. We’ve had some modest success in recruitment, but we’ve had some retention issues. I think the establishment of the Latina/o/x Studies program has been really key. I felt like once that got established and there was an active number of people, then there was a space in the community, here in CLAS, that was anchoring me to the institution more. It institutionalized connections. So I know Iowa as an institution that doesn’t have a program, and one that does have a program, and that’s where I can really see the difference between having a few faculty spread across campus with no real way of connecting institutionally, and thus our feeling very separate and very isolated, versus us having a space to all meet and connect with each other. Connect as intellectuals and academics, but also personally, being able to support one another with all the challenges we’re having with the institution broadly, with our units, with just life as a person of color in Iowa City. So that was a big change. What do we as a college and a university need to do better to recruit and retain URM faculty? Continuing to grow programs, focusing lines when they become available in the area so that there’s a community of scholars, I think is a very necessary step. A lot of it is about resources and money. People go to other institutions because they have bigger, more established, more vibrant programs. There are institutions that are going all in. Ultimately, recruiting is a market, and if you are a very talented URM professor with Continued on next page >

CLAS DEI Annual Report

Rene Rocha is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Latina/o/x Studies Program. He sat down with us to talk about DEI issues from his perspective as a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


18 good credentials from a major research institution— and for a variety of reasons, there are only so many of those people in the world — there’s a little bit of a premium, so a school’s got to be willing to bend the rigidity a bit in terms of what they’re willing to do.

CLAS DEI Annual Report

And a lot of times, you as a faculty member don’t go out seeking other opportunities, the opportunities come to you, and you’re not gonna say, “No, don’t talk to me.” But when

it comes to countering these offers at the UI, it often feels like it happens on an ad hoc level. There are retention resources for faculty at different levels, but it’s hard to know about them as a faculty member. I think it needs to be more coordinated, a central point of advocacy for URM faculty. In academia in general, what challenges do faculty of color have in being fully included in the academic enterprise? The common answer to that question is the difficulties that URM faculty face in every area of their portfolio, the added burdens. It’s a common answer, but also a very real answer. There are issues in research, teaching, and service.

19 ethnic studies. I write a lot of tenure letters for people at other institutions, and I spend a lot of time explaining the value of very good journals in the field. Why is it important that we at Iowa, as a public university in the 21st century, work to recruit and retain URM faculty? There are a couple of different issues, and it’s important to distinguish between URM faculty who are working in racial and ethnic studies and URM faculty who are not. Both are valuable. Given where I am, I tend to focus on the promotion of racial and ethnic studies and why that’s important, both for having a dedicated space on campus, and also for having these people in other units. It’s important that there’s a person in political science studying these things, so a student who’s not interested in racial and ethnic studies, who’s just there for the political science, still finds that their political science education contains a component of racial and ethnic studies. Same with people in all these other units. But it’s also really important to have URM faculty who aren’t necessarily working in racial and ethnic studies. They still bring a diversity of experiences. Someone working on string theory, and there’s no racial and ethnic component obvious to the research, there’s still a difference in their ability to understand classroom dynamics, and just in what it means to have a URM faculty up there teaching you string theory. It’s very important to the undergraduates that they see that. It’s important both to students of color and to White students. Students of color need these spaces and need to feel a sense of belonging in a predominantly white institution, and that’s vital to student retention. But it’s also important that White students see that these spaces exist, that they are places in which they should feel comfortable having conversations. Working with our student body — some of whom grew up in a very homogenous environment — we don’t want their first experiences with diversity to be coming in the workplace after they graduate. They need that cultural competency as part of their higher education.

CLAS DEI Annual Report

In research, getting racial and ethnic studies accepted as mainstream work in a given discipline can be hard. You might think it’s obvious that racial and ethnic studies is a central part of political science, but it’s not. A lot of political scientists view it as niche, parochial, not traditional mainstream. So you face intellectual barriers. And then what if you publish in a journal like Latino Studies, instead of the American Journal of Political Science, how does that count for a person’s research profile in political science? So you have all these research problems, and that’s where vibrant programs and departments that recognize the value of journals—peerreviewed, high-impact journals—that are substantively open to racial and

CLAS DEI Annual Report


Staff Diversity Staff Diversity by Gender 5-Year Scope, by Year

Male Female Note: Other categories not reported due to lack of data

100% 90% 80% 70%








50% 40%








20% 10% Fall 2015

Fall 2016

Fall 2017

Fall 2018

Fall 2019

Fall 2020


CLAS Staff by Reported Racial/Ethnic Identity, 2015-16 through Present 400

URM* Total 391




15 4.1%

12 3.3%

16 4.3%

13 3.6%

17 4.3%

12 3.2%

Fall 2015

Fall 2016

Fall 2017

Fall 2018

Fall 2019

Fall 2020



350 300 250 200 150

50 FTE

* American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx

The essential need for diversity in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is true across the board in CLAS, among staff as well as faculty and students. CLAS staff are vital members of the academic community in which our faculty and students work. Many work closely with students to help them navigate college life and develop post-graduation plans. Through enhancing the diversity of our workforce, we have an opportunity to signal to students the importance that we place on diversity, and to demonstrate the types of diverse environments in which their lives and careers will unfold.

The data on these pages show that we have considerable work to do. •

Over the past 6 years, only about 4% of CLAS staff identified as members of an underrepresented minority. This is significantly less than faculty and students, and reached a 5-year low of 3.2% in the current 2020-2021 academic year.

The gender balance among CLAS staff is, well, unbalanced. Fully two-thirds of staff identify as female, almost the exact reverse of the proportion among faculty.

It is critical that we address implicit bias in our recruitment and retention of staff, with regard to both race/ethnicity and gender — not because it’s what we should do, but because it’s who we are.

CLAS DEI Annual Report




Peter Hubbard

CLAS DEI Annual Report

Spend some time on the University of Iowa campus, and you’ll run into the name Philip G. Hubbard. The UI’s Hubbard Park, just outside the Iowa Memorial Union, is the heart of campus, home to everything from concerts and fireworks displays to frisbee games and weddings in Danforth Chapel. Half a block north, step inside the IMU off of Madison Street, and you’ll find Hubbard Commons, brimming with studiers. Or instead, head south a block and you can find Hubbard in the College of Engineering Hall of Fame. Talk to students, and you may find that they belong to Hubbard Scholars, a group for African American male students, or that they received the Philip G. Hubbard Human Rights Award for an outstanding contribution in the area of human rights. It’s fitting that Hubbard Park is so central to campus, because so was the man for whom it is named. Philip Hubbard (BSE ’46; PhD ’54), who came to the UI from Des Moines in 1940 looking to shine shoes at the Jefferson Hotel to make enough money to pay for college, went on to become the first tenured African American professor not just at Iowa, but in the Big Ten. A professor of electrical engineering, he became the first African American dean in the Big Ten, the Dean of Academic Affairs. Later in his 45year career at Iowa, he became Vice President for Student Services. He worked closely with six UI presidents, becoming beloved by students and revered as a pioneer in bringing diversity to all areas of university life. He told his story in his 1999 memoir, My Iowa Journey: The Life Story of the University of Iowa’s First Tenured African American Professor. Hubbard, who died in 2002, left an extraordinary legacy inherited by all who aspire to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the UI. We talked about it with one staff member who had a special connection to the man—his son Peter Hubbard (BA ’75), Senior Director of Academic Standards in the CLAS Office of Academic Programs and Student Development. Our edited conversation follows.

24 Q: DEI work today at Iowa is building on your dad’s legacy. What kinds of lessons did you learn from him about diversity and its importance at the University of Iowa and in academia in general? A: Be persistent. This is a long slog. It’s not a race, it’s not something that you can solve quickly and be done with it and move on to the next thing. This is something that has evolved over a long period of time and continues to evolve. But he kept at, kept his eyes on the goal, on the mission. And starting in the early 1960s and maybe even beyond his retirement in 1991, he continued to work toward a goal of having the university be as absolutely inclusive of everyone as possible. One of the things he hit on frequently was that the DEI quest is not something we do as a favor for people we’re looking to include in the university. This is something that is essential to our mission as a university.

CLAS DEI Annual Report

Q: What kinds of barriers do African American and Latinx students face that students with generations of college behind them might not? A: There are issues with the ability to finance an education. That’s a problem for all students, but my experience is that it’s especially acute for African American students. There’s a lot of talk now about generational wealth, and how many families don’t have generational wealth, and we really see that in people not being able to afford an education. We need to do a better job in helping students feel secure in pursuing their education all the way through, that they will be able to come out at the other end with a degree. With our Hispanic students, I’ve also seen issues with students who are either themselves undocumented or their families are undocumented. That creates an immense amount of anxiety for the students, fearing their education will be involuntarily disrupted. Q: What are we doing right in terms of academic support systems for URM students? A: I like some of the things that the university is doing like the Iowa Advantage Program and the Iowa Biosciences Academy, where we bring students in and really get them acclimated to the campus before classes start. I think it’s very important for students to feel like they know where they are and where the resources they can use are before classes start so they don’t feel like they’re playing catch-up. Various offices on campus are working very hard to help maintain that momentum. The Center for Diversity and Enrichment is working diligently both to bolster opportunities academically for students, and to provide a social environment that students feel comfortable with. That’s a huge barrier when you’re part of a small minority on such a large campus.


Anthony Haughton, a fourth-year Ethics and Public Policy

major, tells us about Hubbard Scholars: “Hubbard Scholars was named after Philip G. Hubbard because of his dedication to academic excellence throughout his time at the University of Iowa. The group was started by several male Black professors who saw a need for creating community among male Black students on campus. Black men on our campus face unique barriers to academic success, such as systemic racism, hypersurveillance, and racial microaggressions, and we know these were problems that Professor Hubbard not only faced, but fought against during his time at Iowa. The Hubbard Scholars mission is to offer programming, events, and services that meet three important objectives: 1) To foster a more inclusive community of learning and support for Black men, 2) to provide educational resources to the university and Iowa City community about

the various attitudes and performances that men of African descent embody, and 3) to increase the retention and success of Black men associated with the University of Iowa. As Black men, it is also our hope to foster self-awareness and promote human dignity and respect for individual experiences in a world of difference. We believe that the mission allows us to live up to the legacy of Philip G. Hubbard. Even as students, we also find ourselves in the service of our peers. We hope that creating a community of support for Black men will create a ripple effect that will improve Black men’s retention on campus for generations to come. Anthony is second from left in the photo above.

I find that departments are genuinely interested in their students of color, trying to reach out and help. Students sometimes are a little hesitant to accept help because their perception of the college experience is that you go through and you do it on your own, and they don’t need help from anybody. We can do a better job of encouraging students to seek out assistance. Q: So what would Phil Hubbard tell us today? Would he have any words of advice? He would say, absolutely: “Keep striving.” He would say that you really need to look objectively at the goals that you have. Are they appropriate for the circumstances? Are the resources you’re allocating sufficient to achieve the goal? Are the structures you have in place empowered to achieve those goals? If you have programs that are not working, you need to retool them, bring more people in, refocus the operation. He was not at all averse to tearing something down and building something new to do a better job. He would always say that as an engineer, his primary emphasis was to be a problem-solver.

Above: Hubbard Scholars


CLAS DEI Annual Report

Student Diversity On page 33, undergraduate student Shannon McNeal talks about the difficulty that students of color often have adjusting to college life, and credited a UI program as a lifesaver for her:

“The Iowa Edge

program is the best thing that could have happened to me.

CLAS DEI Annual Report


CLAS DEI Annual Report

28 The University of Iowa, through the Center for Diversity and Enrichment and other campus units, invests in programs like Iowa Edge to help minority students become thriving, engaged Hawkeyes — and it’s clear that there is a need for this work.

We must ask ourselves:

The undergraduate data represented here point to a retention problem among students of color in CLAS – the percentage of students from underrepresented minorities has not budged in three years. On the other hand, we do see a steady increase in the percentage of URM graduate students over the past five academic years.

What policy fixes do we need to ensure equity for all?

What can we do as a college to increase diversity among students, faculty, and staff?

How do we help every individual feel included in our academic and social community?

Undergraduate Students by Reported Ethnic/Racial/Residency Status, 2015-Present 16166



Total URM* 16130


Nonresident International


* American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx


15500 15000


14000 13500 13000 12500 12000 11500 11000 10500

CLAS DEI Annual Report

10000 9500 9000 8500 7000 6500 6000 5500 5000 4500 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500

1951 12.5% 1755 11.3%


2036 12.6%

1658 10.3%

2042 12.5%

1318 8.1%

1976 12.3%

1088 6.7%

1908 12.3%

778 5.0%


Fall 2015

Fall 2016

Fall 2017

Fall 2018

Fall 2019

1806 12.3%

532 3.6%

Fall 2020

30 Nicholas Camacho, second from right, successfully defended his doctoral thesis during Fall 2020, becoming the 50th URM student to earn a PhD in mathematics from Iowa since 2002. In 2004, the Department of Mathematics received the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring for its work with URM graduate students.

Graduate Students Graduate Students by Reported Ethnic/ Racial/Residency Status, 2015-Present

Total Nonresident International URM* * American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx

2300 2050






404 21.1%

390 20.4%

400 21.0%

356 19.3%

175 8.9%

168 8.8%

179 9.4%

200 10.5%

205 11.1%

Fall 2016

Fall 2017

Fall 2018

Fall 2019

Fall 2020

CLAS DEI Annual Report



1750 1600 1450 1300 1050 900 750 600 450

444 22%

424 21.6%

300 150

166 8.2%

Fall 2015

CLAS DEI Annual Report


CLAS DEI Annual Report



Shannon McNeal, a third-year Spanish and Chinese major (with an Arabic minor), is from Davenport, Iowa, and works as a Resident Assistant on the UI Residence Education staff. She’s on the leadership team of Black Student Union and SistaSpeak, and during the summer of 2020, she founded a group in her community, QC BLM Support Group. Shannon sat down with us to talk about those groups and her experiences as a Black woman student at Iowa.


ou’re very involved with Black Student Union and the group SistaSpeak here on campus. Tell us about those groups, and how students can get connected. I hold the position of the parliamentarian in BSU, which is archiving anything important. What BSU stands for is to create a space specifically for, but not limited to, Black students on campus to make sure they have, I don’t want to say a home away from home, but a place for them to connect with other Black students and get resources along the way. SistaSpeak is like Hubbard Scholars, but more for Black women. It’s not limited to, but focuses on, Black women and Black mental health. We do a lot on self-care, self-identity. We do have this thing where people are first experiencing what it means to truly be Black when they come to college and they’re away from whatever bubble they had been surrounded with. So SistaSpeak navigates that for women. It’s a time to chat about issues that are specific to Black women, whether that is going to a PWI [predominately White Institution] or whether it’s things we’re dealing with because of Black men. We try to give a casual setting for those things. When you mention that BSU provides resources, are those academic, or also social and across the board? Definitely across the board. We hold events like the BSU Gala, where Black artists can represent their art and people can come and hang out and dance and all that jazz. This Thursday, we’re hosting a Major Mingle, where people can come to connect with other people who have the same major, and then we can provide resources. It’s been difficult because we haven’t been able to take advantage of the Afro House. It’s much harder with engagement over Zoom, but we’re doing the best we can.

CLAS DEI Annual Report

Shannon McNeal


CLAS DEI Annual Report

Tell us about the group you started in your hometown, QC BLM Support Group. When the George Floyd incident happened, my community didn’t do a lot in response. There wasn’t really a big reaction. But I knew there were people close to me who wanted to continue the conversation, so that people in our community know that this isn’t just a trend, that just because they might not experience racism, there are people who do. Our community is very segregated, east side-west side, so there are things that seem normal to me that shouldn’t. And because racism is not a recurring event for White people in my community, it’s not normal to them. I’m not the type of person who has the mental capacity to put together an entire protest and continue those protests, so I wanted to do on a more intimate level these small-group discussions where people can come with questions. We focus on racial identity, allyship. We did groups about the importance of voting, the census, and Black mental health, and also of course the protests and the reactions to that. We wanted to give a way for people who wanted to get more involved to do it in a more intimate way, so they can feel the weight of what other people are feeling, and hear vulnerable testimonies. At first, we took over Vander Veer Park in Davenport, then had to move online. We’ve had good numbers, and we’ll see if we want to continue in January. What have your personal experiences been like here on campus as a Black student? Have you encountered racism, either overt or microaggressions? Where have you found a sense of community? At the beginning, it’s hard for any freshman to navigate what college is supposed to be like, and for people of color, Black students specifically, it’s much harder when you can’t find that community at the beginning. Personally for myself, Edge did a lot for me. The Iowa Edge program is the best thing that could have happened to me. Resources, friends, I benefited so much from that organization. You’re given that whole week before school starts to know where everything is on your campus, and who you need to talk to in case you can’t find where those things are, and that was one thing I was really worried about. I made friends right off the bat, and you were able to be vulnerable and talk about shared experiences in your past and how to navigate those in college. I’m glad that I did have a community before the year started because microaggressions were an everyday thing. I’m not saying that as an exaggeration. Living in the residence halls, I’ve been called “n*****” and had people write it on my door—and I like to say “n*****,” because if I say “the n-word,” people aren’t completely taking in what I mean. I’ve had people grab my hair without my permission in the residence halls, stuff like that.

And in the residence halls, it’s not treated in the same way as people who break an alcohol policy or something like that. I believe that if someone is being outwardly racist to you and they stand by that, they should know by the punishment they receive that that’s a major problem. Talking through it, taking a class, that’s not gonna do it. They’ve been raised on those values. We’ve seen progress with our inclusive community statement, however, I wish that were a policy and not a statement. I understand that it’s a gray area to be like, “You need to understand and respect other people’s values.” I understand that’s hard to enforce, but if we want to continue to progress, people need to actually act on it. And Keniese Evans on the Residence Education staff and others have been doing a lot of work, and do want to make it more of a policy. But as an RA, even if I know exactly who did something racist, my job is just to report it. All I can do is console the victim. I can’t confront the perpetrator, because I have to respect


My major, where I’m mostly being taught by other people of color, is also where my community is. Right now, I’m taking a Latinx Studies class that focuses on the struggles of Latinx people, and the professor, Jorge Guerra, is fantastic at facilitating those conversations. He shows how the struggles of Latinx people and those of Black people interconnect. I really appreciate that I’ve been able to email my instructors in the Arabic and Spanish programs and say, “Hey, I can’t come to class today, someone just called me ‘n*****’ and I need to take the day off.” They understand, based on the racial slurs they’ve been called, and they’re like, “Hey, just take care of yourself.” They have that cultural competence to understand what it’s like.

Also, BSU, Sista Speak, Hubbard Scholars, the Afro House. I learned that at one point they were talking about getting rid of the cultural house, and that is not okay. You can’t promote diversity if you can’t have safe spaces for vulnerable people. That goes to your retention rate. You’re gonna see people drop out if there’s not some space, cultural houses or different organizations, where people can be comfortable being vulnerable. When the “Does UIowa love me?” social media campaign came out last year, the university could have handled it in a way that showed they really do care, instead of just fixing their mistakes. I’m glad that campaign happened. But that’s the thing—a lot of these things are student-led. There are a lot of faculty who want to do the right thing, to say what they need to say, but are worried about their positions. I’m glad that there are student representatives who are willing to be on the front lines of these kinds of things, but it’s also not their responsibility. Do you think that COVID-19 has affected Black students on campus differently from other students? Most definitely. I had a very big problem when the UI came out and said that, you know, COVID is a thing, but you came here, that was your choice to continue your education here this year. I think that’s a very unfair statement, not just for Blacks but for any student of color, because a lot of us are here because of the diversity scholarship packages that the school gave us, and so we have a deadline to meet, and therefore we’re not capable of taking that gap year that we really could have used. So your scholarship package has a four-year limit, and you wouldn’t be here without that funding, so you don’t have any flexibility. Is that true for a lot of students of color? Yes. I have Advantage Iowa and IMAGES [Iowa Minority Academic Grants for Economic Success]. I was really interested in taking a gap year this year, but I have to meet that deadline. So we’re here, we’re doing in-person classes, and doing the best we can. That was a whole rollercoaster in itself. What would you tell new BIPOC students who are coming to Iowa? I would definitely promote Iowa Edge! I know when you first look at it online, it is a little like, “Oh, they’re just trying to put us all together and figure out what they what to do with us.” But they actually do put a lot of time and thought into it, and it’s not just that one-week event. They continue to host events through the year, like a pizza party, or other little get-togethers, and it’s great because you get to see the same people outside of your busy schedule. I definitely think Edge is the best thing Iowa offers right now for students of color.

CLAS DEI Annual Report

their own “values,” whether it’s racism, homophobia, sexism, whatever. I can host a floor meeting to talk about why it’s not okay. But it’s all very wishy-washy.

CLAS DEI Annual Report



2020 Annual Report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


The University of Iowa

Created by the CLAS Strategic Communications team: Writing/editing — Nic Arp Photography — Jill Tobin Design — Austin Montelius Administrative support — Lisa Gray Special thanks to Ryan Kinser, Brenda Gritsch, Allison Bierman, Brittany Ogden, Carole Kern, and Karen Noggle.

Chair: Sara Sanders, Interim Dean and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Andrew Boge, Graduate Student — Department of Communication Studies Kajsa Dalrymple, Associate Professor — School of Journalism and Mass Communication Patrick Dolan, Lecturer — Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Aniruddha Dutta, Associate Professor — Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies; Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures Jennifer Eimers, Associate Director — CLAS Academic Programs and Student Development Mark Fullenkamp, Director — CLAS Web Services Naomi Greyser, Associate Professor — Department of American Studies; Department of English; Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies Amiya Jones, Undergraduate Student — Class of 2022 Ryan Kinser, Associate Professor — Department of Mathematics Jen Knights, Marketing and Community Engagement Specialist — School of Social Work Beatrice Mkenda, Lecturer — Department of French and Italian Jane Nachtman, Professor — Department of Physics and Astronomy Yasmine Ramadan, Assistant Professor — Department of French and Italian Christine Rutledge, Professor — School of Music Denise Szecsei, Associate Professor — Department of Computer Science Deborah Whaley, Professor — Department of American Studies; African American Studies Program Rachel Young, Associate Professor — School of Journalism and Mass Communication

CLAS DEI Annual Report

Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion College of Liberal Arts and Sciences | 2020-2021

Diversity Equity Inclusion

CLAS DEI Annual Report

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

© 2020 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Iowa 240 Schaeffer Hall Iowa City IA 52242-1409 319-335-2625 | Please direct inquiries about this report to Nic Arp, CLAS Strategic Communications,