The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) messages from the Office of the President share Illinois State University’s ongoing progress advancing equity and inclusion with transparency and information exchange.
This update includes a new opportunity to update gender and pronouns in personal profiles, an upcoming deadline for a scholarship for DACA students, and the inclusive work of the Honors Program.
Illinois State students and employees can now update personal information that includes pronouns and gender expression. The changes will appear in select systems, including the admission application and the main campus information system (Campus Solutions). Those interested in updating their profile can log into My.IllinoisState.edu and select My Profile, then the Personal Details link.
“This goes to ensuring that our students, faculty, and staff are correctly recognized and acknowledged and not misgendered or misidentified,” said Dave Bentlin of the Queer Coalition (formerly Triangle Association). Leaders making the change sought guidance during the planning stages from members of the Queer Coalition and the student group Pride.
“The University’s inclusion of gender and pronoun information validates our students’ identities and is a small way to start a larger conversation on campus about using people’s correct pronouns,” said Pride President Emily Pattenson, who added it will encourage faculty members to think about pronoun use.
“Although there are still improvements to be made, this is a move in the right direction and is an important initiative to support our value of Diversity and Inclusion,” said Associate Director of Enrollment Management Stacy Ramsey, who worked collaboratively with campus partners to implement the change. Resources and work needed came from the All-Gender Committee and the Cross Functional Committee (Technology Solutions; the Office of Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis; Enrollment Management and Academic Services; Student Affairs IT; the Registrar’s Office; Diversity Advocacy (now the Multicultural Center); University Housing; Student Accounts; Human Resources; the Office of the General Counsel; the Office of Financial Aid; and University Advancement).
The Lopez and Navarro Scholarship
The deadline is approaching for a scholarship intended to provide financial assistance to support undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students in their dream of receiving a college degree. The number of scholarships given and the award amount will depend on available funding.
The deadline to apply is February 5, 2021. Find scholarship criteria here.
The Honors Program at Illinois State University is dedicated to attracting, challenging, and inspiring academically and culturally diverse students. That commitment can be seen in curricular and demographic changes over the past few years.
“It was a very intentional set of efforts to harness the Honors Program as a place to lead the University’s efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Dr. Rocío Rivadeneyra, who led the Honors Program from 2016-2020, and worked with Admissions and Honors Program staff to create a more holistic process to attract applicants from a diverse pool of students. “As we worked with an equity-minded lens, we also examined our policies and practices at various levels to make sure they were reflecting our values.”
The rise in the number of people of color who entered the Honors Program — from 12 first-year students in 2013 to 86 in 2019, an astounding 600 percent increase — was the result of concerted work to diversify the curriculum and the program, noted Rivadeneyra.
Dr. Tina Williams, who became the Honors Program Director in 2020, said diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives will continue. “This semester three lead mentors will plan DEI events and create training for the new DEI Mentors we are hiring in May,” said Williams. She added that Honors’ staff and students will continue to work with CTLT on diversity workshops, engage in further work with the Diversity and Inclusion Council within the program, and build on the inclusionary curriculum developed by Rivadenerya.