CLAS 2022 DEI Annual Report

Liz speaking to group in front of slideshow presentation

Dear CLAS Community,

On behalf of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the leadership group, and the marketing and communications team, I am excited to share the 2022 CLAS DEI Annual Report.

The DEI Committee and college community develop a yearly plan to address the strategic priorities of CLAS to cultivate an inclusive environment and build a supportive infrastructure within the college. With this backdrop in mind, it is imperative to build the capacity for thriving within our community while affording faculty, staff, and students the time to think innovatively, practice authentically, and revise programs when warranted to best serve the needs and aspirations of our growing community.

After a successful year-long initiative, the outcome of the 2020-2021 Pursuing Racial Justice at Iowa series deepened our understanding of racial justice and the ongoing challenges and opportunities to grow together. We understood that diversity and inclusion is about how we work collaboratively toward meaningful change. We charted our course by understanding where we were as a college and what action steps we needed to take next. 

Understanding where we were as a college required time and significant commitment. From fall 2021 to spring 2022, the DEI Committee conducted surveys to assess departmental perception about DEI vision and mentoring; the results indicated that many departments are committed to strengthening our DEI vision and mentoring structures. At the same time, many expressed a desire to maintain consistency and support for how to elevate these key initiatives.

In alignment, two critical conversations—the DEI Committee Roundtable Discussion and the Leadership Meeting with Liz Tovar, Sara Sanders, and myself—anchored the investment from the year’s foundational work and provided a roadmap for this academic year and stretching to 2026, the conclusion of our current strategic plan.

The DEI Committee will lead the efforts in proposing mentoring structures for the college, developing equity audit guidelines, and creating a diversity, equity, and inclusion toolkit for instructors. These action steps position the college to be transparent in how we value our college community members: to address retention while investing in faculty, staff, and students; increase research innovation and teaching potential; and widen our lived experiences—preparing our ability to engage in a collaborative workforce while expanding citizenship and global reach.

We invite you to explore the contents of this report, including an update on college-wide DEI initiatives, our diversity breakdown from last year, and celebrate the awards and certificates members of our community have earned in the area of DEI. 

Thank you for your continued partnership.

Portrait of Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon
Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon

Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences