IV. Diversity Goal: Increase and sustain diversity among students, faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees; with a special focus on attaining “critical masses” from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, create a welcoming, inclusive, multicultural campus where all community members appreciate and respect the diversity of the nation and the world. (Endorsed by the SPSC and the IWU Board of Trustees, Spring 2004; first progress report on this goal presented by President Wilson to the Trustees in May 2005)
The educational benefits of a diverse campus are significant; such an environment enriches the content of the curriculum, enlivens interactions in the classroom, and prepares IWU graduates to enter a world in which understanding and appreciation of diversity are increasingly demanded. The “Multicultural Study Group Report” (July 2003) notes, too, that: “Although we live in an individualistic society, that society has egalitarian goals that demand [that] all have the opportunity for an outstanding education.” (p. 5). This point was further articulated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in a 2003 United States Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in college admissions: “Effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life of our Nation is essential if the dream of one Nation, indivisible, is to be realized…[T]o cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity.” The message is clear: not only do we have an ethical and social responsibility to make an IWU education accessible to students with a wide range of experiences, viewpoints, cultures, and backgrounds, but unless we become a more diverse campus, IWU’s legitimacy as an institution of higher education will be challenged, and we will suffer institutionally for failing to tap into an increasingly diverse talent pool.
The IWU community recognizes that the time to act is NOW: a wealth of research on diversity nationally and globally complements reports on diversity at IWU, all of which should serve as guides for planning. The IWU community also recognizes that achieving this ambitious goal will require the same determination and commitment of resources that were required to build a world-class library.
Strategy A: Developing a Commitment. Develop a campus-wide commitment to diversity as an institutional priority and foster the sustained community will to achieve the University’s diversity goals.
Strategy B: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Student Body. Use strong, persistent, and culturally specific practices to recruit and retain a diverse student body, with emphasis on racial and ethnic diversity.
Strategy C: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Faculty and Staff. Recruit and retain a diverse faculty, Cabinet, and staff, with emphasis on racial and ethnic diversity.
Strategy D: Developing and Sustaining a Welcoming Campus Climate. Develop and sustain a campus climate that welcomes diversity and multiculturalism and stresses their essential role in maintaining the quality of IWU’s educational programs.
Strategy E: Involving Diverse Constituencies. Promote and strengthen the involvement of diverse groups of alumni, friends, and community leaders in the life of their University.