The Office of the President announces the launch of biweekly messages highlighting our campus’ ongoing progress toward advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). With the aim of continued transparency and information exchange, these DEI updates will appear every other week, alternating with the newsletter, Identity.
“We want the Redbird community to know we are doing more than listening to demands for change. We are doing our best to turn those into actionable items, and working collaboratively across campus to address them,” said President Larry Dietz.
Interim Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Doris Houston thanked leaders across campus who have been spearheading equity initiatives. “There are people doing amazing work on this campus, and have been for years,” she said. “We want to bring those efforts to light alongside the changes we are pursuing. I especially want to thank student groups, such as AntiBlackISU and student athletes who continue to advocate for change.”
This update will include information on the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference, TRIO success, ISUPD Advisory Council, and Preview changes.
Nearly 1,000 students, faculty, staff, and community members registered to take part in the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference on October 29-30. The formation of the CRCC Conference at the University began as a response to students leveraging their voices in solidarity to draw attention to injustice and anti-Black sentiments, actions, and discussions across the country and on campus. Spearheaded by Dr. Stacey Hardin in 2015 and continuing under the leadership of Multicultural Center Director Dr. Christa Platt, this year’s conference honors the founding purpose of CRCC with speakers and discussions on anti-Blackness.
Recent numbers show that the TRIO/Student Support Services is one of Illinois State’s most successful student scholar programs with a 96 percent retention rate of students involved. The program, overseen by Dr. Shatoya Black, serves 232 first-generation scholars per year by providing individualized assistance to enhance their academic, personal, and professional potential. TRIO, along with the Dean of Students Office, will be hosting the annual First Generation Celebration of students November 2-6.
ISUPD Advisory Council
The Illinois State University Police Department has established plans and will soon finalize members for a Police Chief’s Advisory Council (PCAC) to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and to discuss issues impacting the Illinois State community. According to ISU Police Chief Aaron Woodruff, “discussions are intended to be open, honest, and engaging.” He added the group will work proactively to discuss such areas as campus climate, issues affecting safety, and concerns from the Redbird community. The council will include members from Student Government Association, Association of Residence Halls, Graduate Student Association, Academic Senate, AP Council, Civil Service Council, Dean of Students, Multicultural Center, University Housing Services, the assistant to the President for diversity and inclusion, and a faculty member from the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences. The council will be in place by the end of the fall semester.
Next summer will see more changes to the Preview program with a focus on increased inclusivity. University College, which oversees the program, conducted an extensive review in 2016 after requests for more culturally responsive programming. That resulted in the revision of training for Preview Guides and the addition of the “Redbird Community” session, where the Vice President for Student Affairs shares with students and their families the characteristics that shape and bring us together as a Redbird community. Preview also includes a dedicated time for small group discussions with Preview Guides and students. Discussions revolve around identity, respect, and what it means to be a part of the Redbird family. Next year will see an expansion of Orientation and Transition Services with translation services for Preview materials as an initial step toward addressing the needs expressed by Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC).
Those with questions on DEI initiatives can email DIACouncil@ilstu.edu. Stories that highlight events, programs, research, and initiatives can be found on the Identity newsletter.