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Two of the recommendations of the Iowa Board of Regents study committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are:

  • Initiate a review of DEI-related general education categories and update category names to accurately reflect the array of options students may select from to satisfy these requirements and ensure a breadth of offerings.
  • Explore a proposal, including cost, to establish a widespread initiative that includes opportunities for education and research on free speech and civic education.

What are the DEI-related general education requirements?

Northern Iowa has a 12 hour Connect requirement as part of its general education requirements. The Connect requirement can be completed when pursuing a multidisciplinary certificate program.  Two of those multidisciplinary certificate programs are:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate:
“The purpose of this certificate is for students to explore topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from a variety of different content areas. Students will get an opportunity to critique complex social issues from a variety of lenses; including mathematics/science, gender, religion, history, communication, and/or politics. Students will develop a deeper understanding of a variety of perspectives related to DEI, including critically analyzing social justice issues; debating and understanding the values and ethics related to diverse groups, perspectives, and/or societies; learning about and discussing their own and/or others’ identities; and delve into more global sociocultural issues related to different aspects of culture.”

United States Studies Certificate:
“Students taking the United States Studies Certificate will analyze the diverse experiences and values of the people of the United States and investigate solutions to over-arching problems such as climate change and social inequities.”

Iowa State requires three credits in U.S. Diversity and three credits in International Perspectives.  “The focus of the U.S. Diversity requirement is understanding the social complexity of human beings based on analytical categories such as race, ethnicity, or gender, and the ways those categories have excluded historically marginalized groups. Intersectional understandings of diversity consider other categories of identity (e.g. sexuality, culture, and religion) related to race and ethnicity. A diverse and robust education means exploring these social complexities in a structured learning environment to familiarize students with the historical, societal, and political contributions of diverse populations.

Through completion of the U.S. Diversity requirement, students will achieve at least three learning outcomes such as those listed below.

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the experiences and contributions of underrepresented or marginalized groups and how they have shaped the history and culture of the United States
  • Understand the analytical concepts of culture, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality and/or religion and be able to apply these concepts to an analysis of the United States
  • Analyze systemic oppression and personal prejudice and their impact on marginalized communities and the broader U.S. society
  • Evaluate important aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion so they can live, work, and collaborate with others in the 21st century United States

The focus of the International Perspectives requirement is the global community. Its objective is to promote students’ understanding of cultural diversity and interdependence on a global scale. A period of immersion in a foreign culture is often a particularly effective way of meeting these objectives, so Iowa State University encourages the use of study-abroad experiences as a means of fulfilling the International Perspectives requirement. International students, because they are “studying abroad” from their home country’s perspective, are normally deemed to have met the International Perspectives requirement. The International Perspective requirement shall be waived for U.S. military veterans who have completed at least three months of service stationed outside of the United States.

Through completion of the International Perspectives requirement, students will achieve at least two learning outcomes such as those listed below.

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze the accuracy and relevancy of their own worldviews and anticipate how people from other nations may perceive that worldview.
  • Describe and analyze how cultures and societies around the world are formed, are sustained, and evolve.
  • Analyze and evaluate the influence of global issues in their own lives.
  • Describe the values and perspectives of cultures other than their own and discuss how they influence individuals’ perceptions of global issues and/or events.
  • Communicate competently in a second language.”

Iowa requires three credits in Diversity and Inclusion.  “Courses in the Diversity and Inclusion area help to develop students’ recognition of their positions in an increasingly pluralistic world while fostering an understanding of social and cultural differences. Students reflect critically on their own social and cultural perspectives while increasing their ability to engage with people who have backgrounds or ideas different from their own. Students also explore the historical and structural bases of inequality and the benefits and challenges of diversity.

Transfer credit is not accepted for the Diversity and Inclusion requirement; students must complete this requirement with coursework taken at the University of Iowa.  All students must complete at least 3 credits of coursework in the Diversity and Inclusion area.”

As a reminder, the regents universities are scheduled to provide an update on their implementation plans regarding the Board’s DEI recommendations at the end of April.  Each university appointed their own committees to help with that implementation.

UNI has an advisory task force of eight.  It contains one Republican and at least six Democrats.

Iowa State University announced a focus group of 14 along with a senior leadership team of six.  The focus group contains just one Republican and at least six Democrats.  The senior leadership team contains two Republicans, two Democrats and two Independents.

The University of Iowa announced a 20-person committee of UI administrators and faculty.  The committee includes just two Republicans and at least 14 Democrats.

Author: Taylor Collins


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