Statement of Values & Guiding Principles

We believe that tangible educational, organizational, and personal benefits result from applying a critical lens to ourselves and our environment; individually and collectively examining our biases, assumptions, and worldviews; and challenging and mitigating structural inequities. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is grounded in our aspiration to cultivate intellectual rigor and curiosity among our students and to prepare them to thrive in and contribute to a globally diverse, complex, and interconnected world.

Guiding principles + implementation plans

What follows is a sample of ongoing and in-progress key initiatives for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that align with the College of Arts and Sciences’ strategic plan. The four strategic areas outlined here simultaneously address previously identified areas of support and knowledge expansion for students, faculty, and staff, and attend to the renewed emphasis on racial justice and equity.

Named in honor of donors Gary and Sharon Kovener, this program provides opportunities to dedicated faculty/instructors and students to engage on an array of pedagogical issues and practices. Uniquely, it brings together twenty student and faculty Fellows for discussion, exploration, and mentorship in a five-person mentor pod structure that includes a senior and a junior faculty member, a graduate student, and two undergraduate students.

Through a carefully designed set of readings and discussions, Kovener Fellows explore how best to make College classrooms inclusive spaces. In its inaugural year, our mentor pods had the following key objectives: (1) develop knowledge of the theory and practice of inclusive pedagogy; (2) develop self-awareness around one’s own social identities; and, (3) create and redesign immediate and long-term effective teaching and learning practices that facilitate an inclusive and supportive classroom with the goal of fostering greater student motivation and academic achievement. Leveraging the program’s success in its first year, the theme and focus of inclusive pedagogy has extended into AY 2020-2021.

Implementation plan:

This is an ongoing initiative currently in its second year. There are deliverables due and there will be an end-of year report.

Open to all College faculty and instructors, the Radical Inclusivity Series extended and deepened active work on inclusive pedagogies. The series actively engages faculty/instructors in recognizing and mitigating barriers to inclusion, as well as provided meaningful opportunities to explore and imagine (e.g., in the context of the classroom milieu, assessment, grading, etc.) what it would look like if radical inclusion were the top priority in their teaching, and the impact it would have on student learning and success.

Implementation plan:

Due to the social distancing constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) has pursued an approach of co-sponsoring public talks and/or events with cultural centers, programs, and departments. Two such collaborations are between the College ODI and the Race, Migration, and Indigeneity Program (October 7 and 12, 2020) and the First Nations Education and Community Center (October 19, 2020).

The Inclusive Excellence Professional Development Series expands the full range of educational opportunities at faculty and staff’s disposal to better understand and disrupt inequitable individual practices and organizational processes. This 5-part professional development series takes a process-based approach and provides faculty and staff with an opportunity to develop and strengthen their knowledge, skills, and habits of mind, so as to build and sustain inclusive and equitable attitudes, actions, and systems across the College with the goal of benefitting all students. To meet the College’s growing demand for DEIJ education, ODI is building capacity, including through the creation of a Faculty Fellow position, primarily tasked with delivering DEI education and professional development to faculty.

Implementation plan:

This is an ongoing effort with individual units working with the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and the Faculty Fellow. There are debriefing sessions after each series. Due to limited capacity, this program will be phased out in favor of a new initiative focused on Critical Conversations on Anti-Blackness.

The College’s Diversity in the United States requirement for College of Arts and Sciences Education (CASE) requirements predates recent nation-wide calls for curricular options through which undergraduates learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion. The campus-wide General Education recognizes Diversity in the United States as a shared goal, but only the College of Arts and Sciences requires that students take at least one 3-credit, semester-long course that meets specified learning outcomes.

Implementation plan:

  1. Beginning Fall 2020, students earning any degree offered by the College—B.A., B.F.A., B.S., and B.L.S.—will be required to meet the College Arts and Sciences Education (CASE) Diversity in the United States requirement.
  2. During Fall 2020, the College took advantage of the campus’ new flexible schedule and flat fee increase to roll out a series of short-term Pre-Fall Course Offerings, making sure that at least some of the offerings focused on Diversity and Inclusion with topics ranging from “Autism in the Media,” to “COVID-19 and U.S. Inequality,” and “Talking Race, Doing Anti-Racism."
  3. The Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education met with a student representative from the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education’s Student Advisory Committee to discuss why the College’s CASE DUS requirement makes sense for our students, and why a single course (one-size-fits-all) General Education curricular requirement for all schools would be a disservice to student learning about this important and complex topic.
Strategic Focus 3: Institutionalizing Diversity and Inclusion within College Units

In Spring 2020, Executive Dean Van Kooten made a College-wide request for the following:

  1. That all academic programs and departments establish a Diversity and Inclusion Committee comprised of faculty, staff, and, students;
  2. That departments create a public-facing Diversity and Inclusion statement to be displayed on their official website;
  3. That starting in Fall 2020, all TT and NTT candidates for a position in the College include a personal Diversity and Inclusion statement in their application materials.

Background: Diversity Committees and Statements

  • First mentioned in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Strategic Plan 2017 (section IV. Make the College a Better Place to Work, part IV. Ensure that All Kinds of People Feel At Home Working in the College, points 1 and 4).
  • Diversity Committees and Statements an important way to strengthen the College’s mission to serve all of its constituencies with integrity and fairness;
  • Go towards our goal of creating more diverse and inclusive admissions, retention, and career-development paths.

Implementation plan:

  1. In support of this initiative, the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion meets with the chairs of all the units’ Diversity and Inclusion Committees. This brings diversity as an initiative in line with the attention Associate Deans give to the divisions and undergraduate and graduate affairs.
  2. The College Diversity and Inclusion Advisory and Action Committee (DIACC) faculty working group will be surveying the Diversity Chairs and working to establish a set of best practices for evaluating faculty job candidates’ diversity statements during the hiring process.
  3. The College Human Resources Office will let the Diversity Chairs know about the diversity and inclusion resources it offers for hiring non-faculty employees.

In Summer 2020, following the racial injustice activism in Bloomington, higher education, and across the country, Black students, faculty, and staff were invited to participate in a listening session with the Executive Dean’s Office. The College held two subsequent listening sessions/town halls open to students, staff, and faculty and focusing on anti-Black racism, and anti-Asian rhetoric.

Participants across all sessions discussed the continued inequity they face and, as a result, the College is planning ways forward, as mentioned in Strategic Focus 4.

Implementation plan:

The Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion will co-host a virtual book/movie club with members of the Human Resources staff to discuss diversity-themed video lectures, podcasts, or books. The first of these meetings is scheduled for October 29, 2020.

The College of Arts and Sciences has committed financial support to departmental STEM initiatives with a demonstrated track record of student success and institutional support from their respective professional associations.

The three ongoing departmental initiatives are:

  • The Jim Holland Summer Science Programs, run through the Department of Biology and co-sponsored by DEMA
  • The Physics Bridge Program, which has been going on for 5+ years and recruits underrepresented and non-traditional students to the Physics Ph.D. program
  • The Chemistry Bridge Program, which is in its second year and recruits underrepresented and non-traditional students to the Chemistry Ph.D. program

In addition, the College has committed financial support for the I Can Persist (ICM) STEM initiative which originated in the School of Education, aimed at fostering success and mentoring for Black women in STEM fields at the college and graduate level, with some targeted outreach to high school students and mentoring from professionals in the field.

Implementation plan:

  1. The Executive Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is actively working on finding donors to continue supporting these programs beyond the levels that the College has currently budgeted for the Jim Holland Summer Science Program, and Physics and Chemistry Bridge programs.
  2. The Executive Dean of the College has committed to splitting the cost of supporting the I Can Persist (ICP) program with the Interim Dean of the School of Education. Together, these Deans have plans to reach out to Deans in other Schools that teach STEM disciplines to make them aware of this program and solicit their support and commitment. The Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences has created a College version of the 1-credit course students in the program enroll in during the time they participate.
Strategic Focus 4: Equity and Accountability

Among the multiple issues discussed at the College forums this summer regarding ways forward, the very example of asking Black students, faculty, and staff to “speak” and “perform” their pain with the goal of educating a wider audience was in stark relief.

A small—and mostly symbolic—corrective measure in this regard is to offer such individuals a contribution to their research accounts.

Background: The “invisible labor” done by people of color, and especially Black individuals, is rarely rewarded (including in the realm of tenure and promotion). Faculty of color, simply by being Black on campus, are asked to serve the institution in unique ways (involuntarily mandated “Black tax”). They are expected to occupy a certain set of roles: to serve as mentors, inspirations, guides, and as the racial conscience of their institutions, often at the expense of incurring great risk and harm to their personal and professional lives.

Implementation plan:

The Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion has worked with the Director of Themester to ensure that whenever BIPOC faculty, especially those who identify as Black, are asked to present on DEI or Social Justice topics in support of Themester programming that goes beyond their regular service load, they will receive a set amount to their research accounts.

In consultation with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) and the Vice Provost of Faculty & Academic Affairs, the core College of Arts and Sciences is fine-tuning a set of internal reporting procedures for offenses that do not rise to the institutional level investigated by OIE. The rationale for having such an internal reporting mechanism is for the College to be informed about bias or harassment complaints or grievances. The College can then support faculty governance by ensuring that department chairs or program directors are informed about the complaint and advised about what their options are for handling them in keeping with College, Campus, and University procedures.

Background: Currently, if a student, staff, or faculty member files a bias complaint with the Dean of Students or the Office of Institutional Equity, the College does not find out about these concerns. The College followed up on the feedback from the various Town Hall/Listening Sessions this summer by identifying existing policies that specifically address procedures for handling bias complaints. They are listed below.

Implementation plan:

  1. The Assistant and Associate Deans for Diversity and Inclusion met with their counterparts in the O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs to discuss their internal reporting procedures that govern the administration of their new Grievance Reporting form.
  2. The Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion has modified the O’Neill form (with their express permission) and adapted it to suit the College’s needs. This document is undergoing review by various stakeholders in the College and once approved will be shared with Chairs and Directors, Chairs of Diversity, and students, staff, and faculty in the College to encourage them to use the College’s Bias Incident and Grievance reporting form.
Strategic Focus 5: Diversifying the College Faculty

The Executive Dean has prioritized authorizing hiring requests from departments and programs with FTE within the College that focus on recruitment of BIPOC faculty and/or faculty with research expertise in fields or topics with an emphasis on race, ethnicity, gender studies, disability studies, or social justice, broadly construed.

Implementation plan:

  1. The College has asked all departments and programs with FTE to request applicants for Tenure Track (TT) and Non-Tenure Track (NTT) faculty positions submit a diversity statement along with their other application materials. Departments and programs have also been tasked with developing a set of criteria to be used in evaluating such materials. The College Office of Diversity and Inclusion is working in collaboration with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory and Action Committee (DIAAC) to develop a rubric template for evaluation which will be shared with the units’ chairs of Diversity Committees.
  2. The College will ask that each unit’s faculty authorization request explain how the hires requested align with the unit’s hiring plan, instructional needs, and its commitment to diversity as outlined in their official statement.
  1. The College of Arts and Sciences plans to continue its support for the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES) Postdoc Program
  2. The College of Arts and Sciences plans to raise funds to support the launch of a new STEM Postdoc Program modeled after the CRRES Postdoc Program