Nov. 10, 2016
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University will receive the NASPA Region IV-East Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award at the NASPA regional conference Nov. 15-17 in St. Louis. The award is presented to a college or university office, department or division demonstrating achievement in celebrating and creating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.
NASPA is the professional organization of student affairs administrators in higher education. In Illinois Wesleyan’s application for the award, Vice President for Student Affairs Karla Carney-Hall noted she believes it is the university’s “comprehensive, collaborative, action-oriented approach” of student-centered commitment to diversity and inclusion that merits the award.
Among the highlights of the university’s comprehensive approach: a university-wide strategic planning working group on diversity revised Illinois Wesleyan’s strategic plan for diversity and inclusion, which outlines comprehensive strategies for educational efforts, recruitment of students, faculty and staff, and sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion. An annual diversity progress report sets a new standard for reporting progress and holds us accountable to action, said Carney-Hall, who is also dean of students.
Among several strategic initiatives, Carney-Hall cited three pre-orientation programs that collaborate toward a message of inclusion; four diversity series of speakers and co-curricular events offered collaboratively between faculty and staff; the Summer Enrichment Program for students, developing leadership and identity development; and three collaborative educational summits.
In nomination materials, one recent graduate discussed the university’s growth in supporting an inclusive campus environment. As former vice president of both Student Senate and Black Student Union, Ashley Spain ’16 noted her involvement has allowed her to spend a lot of time with university administrators. “Our campus is not perfect by any means and we still have issues that need to be addressed,” she wrote in her nomination letter. “However, we have come a long way in regards to diversity, and staff in Student Affairs is largely responsible for the good work that is happening. I have seen a great deal of growth by my university in the area of providing support and services for marginalized populations and in truly supporting an inclusive campus environment.”
By Reilly Kasprak ’17