August 4, 2022
Today we are fortunate to enjoy the most diverse learning community of faculty, students, and staff in our campus’s history. Our collective diversity in identity, thought, and aspiration benefits us in countless ways, and we have much to celebrate. Yet to advance our great diversity and ensure that every member of our community feels valued, supported, and has the fullest opportunity to succeed and flourish, we have continued work ahead.
Recently, I had a fabulous visit with our nearly 400 incoming Groups Scholars. These newest IUB students, many of whom come from underrepresented backgrounds, were on campus for several weeks this summer to establish a network of social and academic connections. In our time together, students engaged with my own story of moving through the world as a person of color, asking thoughtful questions about my experience and professional path. Our conversation was familiar.
I am excited that these students have such wonderful support through the Groups program and one another as they begin their IUB journeys. I am also heartened by all the other outstanding programs, groups, culture centers, and other avenues for engagement and dialogue on campus, including most recently, our fantastic Jewish Culture Center.
We have made notable efforts, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, to recruit increasingly gifted and diverse classes, including these Scholars, while enhancing access to college through such measures as the adoption of a test-optional admissions policy. We have also expanded recruitment of diverse faculty, particularly through our ongoing Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative, through which we expect to welcome 35 new faculty members from historically underrepresented groups this fall. Our School of Public Health alone expects to bring in more than a dozen new faculty members from underrepresented groups this year, making us one of the most diverse schools of public health in the nation.
All these efforts are critical, and we must continue to build on them together and go further. Along with President Whitten and James Wimbush, IU’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, and so many others, I am determined to create an environment that fosters not only greater diversity but equity and inclusion for all. We must continue to find ways to erase longstanding achievement and equity gaps and to allow individuals to achieve their highest potential.
Each one of us can make a difference. When we bring new learners and scholars into our community, each of us can make a commitment to look for every opportunity to provide additional attention, support, and action to make their experience better and our campus and community stronger.
As we prepare to teach and learn this fall semester, I encourage faculty to consider incorporating best practices to support equity and inclusion. Our Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) has a rich set of resources, and I hope everyone takes advantage of these when designing their syllabi, assessments, technology, and pedagogy. There are numerous other educational opportunities and resources for faculty, students, and staff to support the building of a more inclusive community as well, including the Inclusive Campus Environment Toolkit.
In considering our priorities for the future, I see foremost the tremendous potential we have to continue to learn from one another and open further pathways to the kind of equity and representation that so greatly benefit us all.