Diversity Initiatives and Investments
What major initiatives has your unit undertaken in the area of diversity (i.e. programming, diversity officers, diversity committees)?
The School of Education is making strides to enhance diversity in our unit. As of 1 July, Dean Watson appointed Carl Darnell, a faculty member in the School of Education, to serve as the interim Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and to begin providing leadership for the implementation of the School’s diversity plan. Dean Watson and Executive Associate Dean Ginette Delandshere provided diversity, equity, and inclusion with an office and a discretionary budget to begin working towards the strategic objectives and actions listed in the diversity plan.
Early in the academic term, the school filled all of the seats for the faculty diversity committee and ensured that staff, undergraduate, and graduate students are represented in the committee. Darnell, together with the members of the School of Education Policy Council Committee on Diversity, have since used the space and budget initially provided to facilitate several events aligned with the diversity plan. Since creating the assistant dean for diversity position, the School of Education has A) collaborated with the College of Arts and Sciences to host a diversity workshop as part of our Teach, Educate, Act Talk series, B) hosted a diversity networking lunch, and C) sent a five undergraduate students to an education convening in Greensboro, North Carolina to serve as DEI student ambassadors and connect with schools districts from different parts of the country to address the issue of diversity in teacher education programs.
See the list below for additional diversity activities and programs facilitated by the School of Education:
- The graduate studies office is now using GRE data to inform the outreach and recruitment of potential students from underrepresented populations
- The Counseling and Educational Psychology Department developed a diversity task force with the main goal of identifying innovative ways to recruit and retain underrepresented students
- Marketing and communications modified and expanded the DEI presence on the School of Education website, and also facilitated a photoshoot and multiple stories as part of a “changing the face of education” campaign
- The school is facilitating outreach tours to develop and strengthen partnerships with high schools boasting a high percentage of Black, Latinx, and indigenous students
- DEI staff worked with the Office of Financial Assistance to register a local church-based afterschool program as a federal work-study program site and recommends education majors to serve as tutors for the churches weekly Homework Help program
- The School leveraged resources to provide more direct support to the diversity summer program, the Balfour Pre-College Academy, to host more participants in 2019 than it had in past three years
- In collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs Overseas Studies team, the School leveraged funding from donors to provide study abroad travel awards to IU students who participated in the Balfour Pre-College Academy
- Each year, the School partners with the Monroe County Community School Corporation to facilitate the African American Read-In program
- The School supports a mentoring program for high school seniors and college freshmen in collaboration with the OVPDEMA Mentoring Services and Leadership Development unit
- Networking Lunches - in partial fulfillment of the School of Education’s diversity plan
In general terms, what investments have these required?
Generally, each program and activity required different levels of investment. The School invested in an administrative supplement and discretionary budget for the interim assistant dean for diversity. Faculty committed time for monthly meetings on the diversity committee and DEI workgroups. Marketing and communications staff met frequent with the assistant dean for diversity to plan, design, and develop the DEI web presence. The Office for Graduate Studies invested hundreds of dollars to buy names of underrepresented test takers with high scores from the GRE. Moreover, the Counseling and Educational Psychology department chair and faculty invested a considerable amount of time to develop a diversity task force and hold regular meetings.
Challenges and Opportunities
What challenges and opportunities does your unit have in the area of recruitment, retention, and climate?
Regarding challenges that the School of Education faces in the area of recruitment, retention, and climate, we have many of the same issues education programs are facing nationwide: overall enrollment is declining. Teacher strikes are getting increased media attention and highlighting their poor conditions and treatment of educators. The lack of diversity in School of Education faculty makes it challenging to improve the climate, overtaxes few faculty to officially and unofficially mentor the students interested in diversity-related research, and does not help in attracting new underrepresented students to our programs.
We do recognize, however, distinct opportunities to improve the climate and enhance recruitment and retention in the School. Several academic departments in the School have the opportunity to hire multiple underrepresented faculty for the upcoming year and the searches are in progress as of 6 December 2019. Considering the enhanced services and support offered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, the School may also have the opportunity to obtain support for:
- Establishing scholarships that support summer coursework for degree-seeking EDUC students
- Reviewing diversity plan strategic objectives and advise on best practices
- Developing emergency funds that may be awarded through the SOE DEI office for unexpected expenses related to teacher education (e.g., background checks, field experience transportation costs, student teaching fees, professional clothing for candidates)
- Hosting a lecture series to support underrepresented teacher candidates as they transition into the teaching profession
Are there other ways we can assist your unit?
In addition to the ways listed in the previous opportunities section, the OVP for D&I could help us get more publicity for some of our departments. One department in particular, Counseling and Educational Psychology, would like to get more people to know about their programs.
Measures and Accountability from your diversity plan
Please report on the implementation of your diversity plan’s accountability measures as listed below.
The interim assistant dean for diversity selected four School of Education Diversity Plan strategic actions to be part of the larger School of Education 2019-2020 Strategic Initiatives. As part of the School’s strategic initiatives, the leadership team, faculty, and stakeholders are holding the School accountable for implementing the strategic actions of 1) building informal social networks, 2) conducting an online and marketing materials diversity audit, 3) evaluating the physical spaces within the building, and 4) developing policies related to establishing an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Assistant Dean for Diversity hosted an initial faculty diversity lunch in the fall and is planning to host another four diversity lunches in spring 2020. The Diversity Committee formed a subcommittee to develop the policy to establish the Office of DEI and plans to submit the draft for Policy Council to vote on it in the spring semester. Moreover, the Assistant Dean for Diversity developed two workgroups, one to address the building evaluation and another to work on the online and marketing materials audit. The Assistant Dean for Diversity meets regularly with the Dean, Executive Associate Dean, and larger leadership team, thus providing support and accountability to ensure the entire School is working toward the goals presented in the School of Education Diversity Plan.