A little over a year into her tenure at the College of Education (COE), Dr. Dakesa Piña is loving her role working with faculty, staff, faculty associates, and students in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) efforts in the COE. Last summer, Piña launched the first EDI Strategic Plan for the College and has spent the past year working on phase one which includes: building support for EDI, communicating why EDI is important, educating the COE community on the definitions of EDI and compiling information on all of the EDI work happening in the College.

In collaboration with the COE and University marketing teams, Piña launched multiple communication and branding initiatives. Piña’s idea to create an EDI watermark for the COE was adopted at the University level with the creation of the EDI is You (EDI ISU) branding with Lawrence Lair in University Marketing and Communications and the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. This spring semester, Piña and the COE communication team launched EDI Corner with Dakesa, which is a monthly email to the COE that includes a short video with information about the University’s definitions of EDI and why those are important. Piña also launched the EDI is You (EDI ISU) podcast that will feature COE faculty, staff and faculty associates who reflect on their work in EDI.

Piña and the COE GROWTH committee hosted Dr. Kathy Obear in March for a multi-day series of workshops and reflections about EDI. Many students, faculty, staff, and faculty associates participated in meetings throughout the week and in the culminating workshop about inclusivity.

Efforts to compile EDI work in the COE are ongoing. This initiative is important to highlight the great EDI work that is happening, encourage collaboration, and prevent duplication. The compilation will also help with mapping work with COE goals and to provide awards and recognition. Please submit your EDI work today!

Piña represents the COE on the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and joined the Inclusive Community Response Team. She serves as a resource for education students who have experienced an incident of bias or hate.

“Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work is where excellence and innovation come from and it must be part of everything that we do,” said Piña. “I look forward to building upon this year’s work as we all come together to prepare the best educators.”