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April 15, 2005

Campus climate recommendations go to Geoffroy

by Anne Krapfl

A report containing about 40 recommendations for improving the campus climate for diversity was submitted to President Gregory Geoffroy this week. The campus climate implementation committee, authors of the report, also sent the report to the co-chairs of the President's Advisory Council on Diversity (PACD), Carla Espinoza and Michael Whiteford.

"Our hope is that this is a living document, that it's not done," said Larry Genalo, materials science and engineering, who chaired the committee. "Each action item President Geoffroy decides we should do -- or something close to it -- will be fleshed out by another team. In that sense, the work is ongoing."

The committee's report includes an introduction to environments on university campuses nationally and summarizes the campus climate survey process completed at Iowa State last spring by consultant Susan Rankin. But the heart of the report is a grid containing the action items, recommendations for administrative oversight, resources (whose time and money?), outcomes and rationales for each action item. The first draft of the grid contained about 140 action items, so committee members have done a lot of paring since mid-February. Rankin has assisted the implementation committee.

The action items are organized into five goal areas and prioritized within each. Following are the five focus areas and one of the top action items from each:

  • University commitment (a just environment on campus)
    • Hold colleges/vice presidents accountable for making progress on diversity issues or diversity plans
  • Curriculum and pedagogy
    • Include in the reallocation and capital campaign processes that are taking place a substantial increase for hiring in academic fields that provide a significant number of diversity courses
  • Research and scholarship
    • Develop annual training programs for deans, chairs and members of promotion and tenure committees
  • Recruitment and retention
    • Develop/enhance student retention programs beyond the freshman year
  • Inter-group and intra-group relations
    • Establish a campus community council to coordinate communication and organization of diversity-related events and programming among offices and organizations

Genalo said the 15-member committee worked especially hard on aspects of accountability, including recommending individuals, units or teams that might have oversight for the action items.

"That's really the national voice on this right now, too," Genalo said, "the notion that, regardless of size, someone or some unit has to be accountable for making sure things get done."

The report concludes with several pages of recommendations for how and when to assess outcomes. It also includes, within each of the five goals, questions Iowa State's colleges might pose to themselves in the future to assess progress toward a diverse, welcoming climate.

What's next

Genalo presented a summary of the group's work at the spring faculty conference (on diversity) April 1. Espinoza said the report will be posted on PACD's Web site ( and hard copies will be placed in the library's reserve room.

Members of the implementation committee and PACD will meet early in the day April 29 to discuss the recommendations and priorities in the report. Later that day, Genalo, Espinoza and Whiteford will meet with Geoffroy to talk about the report and answer any questions he may have.

Espinoza said members of PACD who are on campus this summer will begin work on a campus climate "agenda" for the next academic year. They will further prioritize recommendations in the committee's report and identify potential resources and oversight people or units for the top priorities.


Fourty recommendations for improving the campus climate have been submitted to President Geoffroy.


"Our hope is that this is a living document, that it's not done."

Larry Genalo