At Indiana University, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are integrated into all aspects of campus life. School leaders are steadfast in their belief that diversity is essential to the college experience and that students should be exposed to a multitude of people and perspectives.
IU’s DEI work has again been recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity, the country’s largest, oldest and most respected national diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. This year, the magazine honored two Indiana University campuses with the 2023 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award.
IU Bloomington (IUB) and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) received the only national award that honors individual institutions for being outstanding examples of universities committed to making diversity and inclusion a top priority across their campuses. IUPUI has been honored every year that the HEED award has been given, 12 in total, and it’s the ninth consecutive time for IUB.
In addition, IU Bloomington received the Diversity Champion Award for the seventh consecutive year. Known for visionary leadership, Diversity Champions are institutions that set the standard for thousands of other campus communities striving for diversity and inclusion and develop successful strategies and programs that serve as models of excellence for other institutions. Schools deemed Diversity Champions exceed everyday expectations, often eclipsing their own goals. A limited number of colleges and universities nationwide are selected for this prestigious honor.
“We are extremely proud of this recognition and for the many times we have achieved it,” says James C. Wimbush, vice president for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “This national honor publicly acknowledges IU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and to the work that we are doing to ensure our campuses are open and welcoming to all.”
“We are thrilled to award INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award to Indiana University Bloomington and IUPUI again this year and name Indiana University Bloomington a Diversity Champion once more,” says Holly Mendelson, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine publisher.
“We require HEED institutions to show growth each year, furthering diversity, equity and inclusion on their respective campuses, and indeed see that with each of these award-winning schools. They continue to demonstrate the kind of outstanding commitment to and prioritization of DEI we expect to see to earn this national recognition,” she adds.
Several programs are responsible for IU Bloomington achieving this year’s HEED and Diversity Champion recognition, including:
- AAAI Records: In the spring of 2023, the AAAI Records record label was created as an added component through which the African American Arts Institute works toward fulfilling its mission and, specifically, supports the distribution and promotion of student performances. The first release, Inspire Me, features the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble and is being distributed worldwide. This new opportunity brings students together, provides a sense of belonging and offers an unparalleled learning experience in African American history and performance.
- The Jewish Culture Center: In the spring of 2022, IU Bloomington announced the creation of the Jewish Culture Center to provide events, activities and cultural and social programming opportunities to Jewish students, faculty and staff. The center is also open to anyone wanting to learn more about Jewish culture, heritage and traditions.
- Elder Watson Diggs Inclusive Teacher Project: This effort aims to build community and a sense of belonging among Black educators through regular interactions with Black students in teacher preparation programs, teachers currently in the classroom and high school students considering careers in education. The project focuses on the involvement and retention of Black students enrolled in the IUB School of Education while working to create a pathway for recruiting Black teacher cadets. Funding for the project is provided by the Indiana University Foundation's Black Philanthropy Circle.
- Transformative Generation Initiative (TGI): The Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OVPDEI) believes that historically disadvantaged groups' success in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world increasingly relies on realizing their entire well-being, not just academics. TGI reiterates this belief by serving as an ecosystem that fosters the holistic development—academic, personal and professional—of low-income African American students from Indianapolis and throughout Indiana. The initiative analyzes students’ academic and personal development needs as part of the effort. OVPDEI then uses the data to produce individualized “pathways” that provide students with comprehensive resources, programs and services during critical stages of their IU journey.
“Everyone who has contributed to making this a welcoming and meaningfully inclusive place to learn and work should be proud of what we’re accomplishing together,” says Rahul Shrivastav, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. “As our campus embarks on the ambitious IUB 2030 strategic plan, we will continue to elevate innovative ideas around diversity, equity and inclusion, and we will be nimble in translating those ideas into thoughtful policy and programs.”
Several key initiatives enabled IUPUI to stand out as a model for creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus.
- 2022 Climate Survey: IUPUI conducts a comprehensive climate survey of students, staff and faculty members every four years to gain insight into their perspectives of the campus. Inclusive of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious and political beliefs, disability/ability and military status, the survey helps campus leaders identify initiatives and programming designed to enhance the experiences of IUPUI students, staff and faculty.
- Black Women’s Task Force: Developed in response to the 2018 IUPUI Climate Survey results, the Black Women’s Task Force includes the voices of more than 300 faculty and staff who participated in 21 focus groups. Once the results of a study conducted by the IUPUI Black Women’s Task Force were shared with campus leaders, many recommendations were implemented to ensure Black women staff and faculty retention during the 2022-2023 academic year.
- Faculty & Staff Reading Groups: The 2022-2023 academic year marked the third year of reading groups facilitated by and composed of IUPUI staff and faculty. More than 250 participants read and discussed one of two books—So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese Singh. Some 500-plus IUPUI students, staff, faculty and community members attended the Chancellor’s Diversity Lecture at the Madam Walker Legacy Center as part of the fall 2023 Chancellor’s Diversity Lecture Series.
"As a 12-time HEED honoree, we are incredibly proud of the culture of diversity, equity and inclusion that we foster across the IUPUI campus,” says Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch, IUPUI interim chancellor.” We will continue to work together to make ours a more welcoming campus where we value different perspectives, embrace people from all backgrounds and foster an environment where respect, civility and open dialogue guide our interactions.”