Theme Year Events 2020-21

DEI mark"Pursuing Racial Justice at the University of Iowa" is a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences "theme year" initiative for 2020-21. Through cross-disciplinary lenses, CLAS faculty, students, and staff—often in collaboration with other UI colleges and units, and outside experts—are grappling with critical questions about race and justice. We invite the community to consider how the UI's history as a predominantly white institution has shaped the university and CLAS; the knowledge we produce and convey to students; the interactions among our community members; and the relationship of the university to Iowa City and the state of Iowa.

These events focus primarily on race, but will be intersectional in their explorations. The goal of each event is to invite members of the CLAS community to engage with the issues, reflect upon what they have learned, and consider personal and institutional actions we might take in response.

See completed Theme Year events and related resources

See Campus DEI Calendar

February 3

Barriers to Health Equity in Iowa City: Centering Diverse Community Voices

 This panel discussion will be streamed live on YouTube at If you wish to ask questions of the panel, you must view it via Zoom at

Despite efforts by policy makers and health advocates, health inequity continues to be pervasive both globally and locally. Persons of lower socio-economic status, minoritized communities, and those who have experienced migration continue to suffer from poorer health outcomes than other groups. Iowa City is no exception to this pattern. In this panel, we bring together individuals who work along the spectrum of care for disadvantaged groups to speak about their experiences while striving to improve health outcomes for all individuals in Iowa City. 

There will be a Q&A at the end of all presentations for panel and audience members to discuss the issues, questions raised, and possible solutions. 


Patrick Taggart—Regional Director, Proteus

Adrian Silva—Spanish Medical Interpreter, University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics

Joseph Lear—Pastor, Resurrection Church

Marius Ibuye Balola—Board Member, Congolese Health Partnership

Discussant: Rima Afifi—Professor, College of Public Health

Moderator: Valerie Garr—Diversity Coordinator, College of Nursing

Registration is not required for this event. Just join us at !

Organizing departments:

  • Anthropology
  • Geographical and Sustainability Sciences
  • Global Health Studies Program

Event organizer: Sokhieng Au, Interim Director, Global Health Studies Program

February: UI Arts and Race

Dates and Sessions TBD

  • Art & Art History
  • Anthropology [Museum Studies]
  • Division of Performing Arts
    • Dance
    • Music
    • Theater

Chair: Alan MacVey, Professor, Theatre Arts; Director, Division of Performing Arts

March: UI Sciences and Race

Dates and Sessions TBD

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychological and Brain Sciences

Chair: Tori Forbes, Associate Professor, Chemistry

April: Media Representations and Race

Dates and Sessions TBD

  • African American Studies
  • Cinematic Arts
  • Communication Studies
  • English
  • Journalism and Mass Communication

Chair: David Ryfe, Professor and Director, Journalism and Mass Communication