Inside Iowa State

Inside Archives

Submit news

Send news for Inside to, or call (515) 294-7065. See publication dates, deadlines.

About Inside

Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Feb. 10, 2006

Committee completes diversity recommendations

by Anne Krapfl

A Jan. 31 letter to President Gregory Geoffroy from the President's Advisory Committee on Diversity (PACD) offers specific recommendations for moving the university community toward an environment that better values and welcomes diversity. Each contains a timeline and a suggestion for who ought to be accountable for its implementation. The proposed Iowa State Plan for Diversity, Equity and Community covers the same time period (2005-2010) as the university's strategic plan.

"We're not actually looking for an end date to this proposal," said Carla Espinoza, associate vice president for business and finance (human resources) and co-chair of PACD. "This is intended to be a living document."

PACD members worked from a 40-item list of action items completed last April by a campus climate implementation committee, chaired by Larry Genalo, materials science and engineering. That group's work responded to the results of a spring 2004 online campus climate survey conducted by consultant Susan Rankin.

The implementation committee's report organized action items around five areas of focus: university commitment to a just environment on campus; curriculum and pedagogy; research and scholarship; recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty and staff; and inter-group and intra-group relations. PACD's work this fall and winter reinforced those five focuses, Espinoza said, and either endorsed or recommended further study for each of the action items. None of the action items was discarded, she said.

PACD's recommendations will be posted online soon at the university's Diversity Web site, (see "campus climate.") The Rankin report and the implementation report also are online there.

For example

In many cases, PACD has recommended that Geoffroy assign accountability for an action item to a vice president.

"Setting priorities, finding funds and accountability go hand in hand," Espinoza said. "To be successful, there has to be accountability at a local level.

"We believe that if our vice presidents are held accountable, they'll move money around as they need to." (But Espinoza also noted that not all the action items require financial resources.)

For example, PACD recommends to Geoffroy that he "direct EOD (Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity) to work with the provost's office and college committees" to develop diversity training programs for chairs, deans and promotion and tenure committees. (New programs in the LAS college could serve as a model.) In this case, PACD offers to serve as the collection/review agent for proposed annual reports on progress in this area.

Another recommendation to Geoffroy is to direct the provost's office to develop faculty Position Responsibility Statement (PRS) models that reflect diversity criteria, and keep these models on file for reference by departments. The sociology and religious studies departments have a strong joint-hire PRS that ought to be shared, according to PACD's report.

PACD also recommends a student-organized Campus Community Council, appointed by Geoffroy, to coordinate diversity-related events, programming and communication. Faculty and staff would have membership on this group, as well.

"We feel this is on a lot of people's radar screens -- and that's encouraging," Espinoza said. "The president's leadership around this is what makes it happen because it is an institutional priority then and people begin to do some planning."


Recommendations of the President's Advisory Committee on Diversity will be posted online soon at the university's Diversity Web site, (see "campus climate.") The Rankin report and the implementation report also are online there.