Academic Affairs Campus Climate Initiatives

The Division of Academic Affairs is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for Iowa State’s students, faculty, staff, and visitors. This ongoing commitment is present in every academic college and unit, and is reported annually to the Provost’s Office. Highlights of our work, including links to campus resources, can be found below.

These efforts are meant to complement institutional efforts, including the Office of the President Campus Climate initiative, and the ongoing work of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion.

New initiatives in 2019-2020
The Division is currently working on three new initiatives advanced by students in recent discussions with University administrators:

Faculty training to create an inclusive classroom environment. Beginning in Spring 2020, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching will conduct annual training for faculty in each department on the importance of, and approaches to, creating inclusive classroom environments. Topics include addressing controversial topics, building inclusive syllabi, creating accessible course content, and managing group projects to ensure mutual respect. The training, based on CELT's Inclusive Classroom Workshop, features online learning modules and face-to-face workshops. [Additional background on the program (PDF)]

Update: All 62 academic departments have enrolled in the training for the spring semester; 29 departments have completed their training. Inside Iowa State article: Inclusive classroom training for faculty is underway

Search committee training. All search committees for faculty and staff in the Academic Division will receive face-to-face diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training, beginning immediately. The training will be delivered primarily by college Equity Advisors and HR partners, and include awareness of implicit bias.

Update: Search committees for all 46 current faculty searches have received training.

Promotion and tenure committee training. All college promotion and tenure committees will receive DEI training, beginning with the next review cycle. The training will be delivered primarily by college Equity Advisors and include awareness of implicit bias.

Reporting to the campus community
Units across the Division – including the academic colleges, Vice President for Research, Vice President for Extension and Outreach, University Library, Enrollment Management, academic support units, and the U.S. Department of Energy Ames Laboratory – also launch campus climate initiatives at a local level. Their efforts are profiled each year in the Division’s annual Diversity and Inclusion report. Current and past reports can be accessed on our Reports page. 

Highlights from the current academic year include:

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

LEAD IT CollectiveThe CALS Leaders Enhancing Agriculture Diversity Inclusion and Trust Collective (LEAD IT) is a group of CALS student leaders who work with the CALS administration to deliver presentations to students, faculty, and staff in areas of Diversity and Inclusion. LEAD IT Students are trained biweekly, complete social justice readings, professional trainings, and unpack their own biases throughout the academic year, and present to various college groups.  

Contacts: Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, and Dr. Theressa Cooper, 

110 Class Diversity and Inclusion presentations and Annual Cultural Competency workshop. Faculty and staff can contact the college’s director of multicultural student success, Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, to speak with their 110 courses about diversity and inclusion. Dr. Theressa Cooper, assistant dean for diversity, offers a workshop for students each fall semester that incorporates fundamental ideas and concepts on topics relating to diversity and cultural awareness, such as race, bias, power, inclusivity, identity, and privilege.

Contacts: Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, and Dr. Theressa Cooper, 

Ivy College of Business

Building Our Community event. The event – organized jointly by the associate dean for undergraduate programs, the Ivy Student Council, and the Multicultural Business Network – is  a venue for students, faculty, and staff to empower each other, generate mutual respect and inclusiveness in their relationships, and participate in making the Ivy community stronger for all. Participants are invited to join conversations led by a trained facilitator to discuss topics critical to the betterment of community in the college. Feedback from these discussions is shared with college leadership and also publicly posted on its website. The event allows college leadership to gather valuable feedback from a broad cross section of students, faculty, and staff (about 150+ attendees), and provides the opportunity for open dialogue on critical topics in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Tentative date for Spring 2020: Thursday, February 6, 3-5 p.m.

Contact: Valentina Salotti, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs,

Mandatory Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshops for the faculty led by the Office of Equal Opportunity at ISU. At the beginning of the fall semester, each departmental retreat in the Ivy College of Business included a 90-minute workshop on diversity, equity, and inclusion led by Dr. Jake Cummings, Senior Equal Opportunity Specialist with ISU Office of Equal Opportunity. Holding the workshops during departmental retreats guaranteed near-perfect attendance from faculty. Participants discussed the concept of identity and how our identities affect relationships with others, how to create and manage an inclusive classroom environment, and how to manage sensitive issues and conflict in and out of the classroom.

Contact: Valentina Salotti, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs,

College of Design

Design Closet fundraiser. During fall 2019, the College raised over $3,000 to support the Design Closet, which gives free design supplies (based on availability) to students who demonstrate or express financial need. Gently used or new supplies are collected from students, staff and faculty at the end of each semester to restock the closet. To increase the impact of this service, Multicultural Student Success (MSS) and the Iowa State University Foundation partnered to open a fundraising account with a $2,000 goal. MSS also partners with the ISU Bookstore to deliver materials to students through the Design Store, with the intent to remove some barriers to using the service. 

Contact: Jordan Brooks jwbrooks@iastate.du

#InclusiveByDesign. At least one Wednesday a month, MSS and College of Design communications have hosted a public equity and inclusion event. Fall 2019 topics included freedom of speech, microaggressions, and open discussions on racial justice within the college. Spring 2020 events will focus on cultural identity, advocacy through design, community building, and additional open discussions on racial justice. These events are meant to create space for students, staff, and faculty to build relationships and shift the culture within the college.

Contact: Jordan Brooks jwbrooks@iastate.du

College of Engineering

Inclusion-based learning outcome in engineering orientation classes. Engineering orientation (ENGR 101) classes have a learning outcome related to inclusion – "Students will recognize that a successful engineer must be able to contribute towards creating an inclusive environment in which all individuals are respected and valued." A module with content and assessment was piloted in Spring 2019 and expanded to all sections in Fall 2019. The module includes videos from alumni and cooperate partners emphasizing the importance of inclusion in the context of being a professional engineer. This effort expands upon the various programming we have in place through student success programs, such as cohort-based learning communities and inclusive training for student club leaders, by helping all incoming engineering students understand and appreciate the impact of having an inclusive mindset.

Contact LeQuetia Ancar, Assistant Director for Engineering Student Services (;  515-294-0690).

College diversity and inclusion committee. Faculty approved the transition of the college’s diversity and inclusion committee to be a standing (permanent rather than ad-hoc) committee, beginning in FY2020 beginning this semester, signaling the importance they place on the efforts of this committee. This committee is comprised of faculty, staff and students who advocate for and recommend initiatives and actions to enhance the climate for all students, staff and faculty. Examples of specific efforts spearheaded by the committee include developing a college-level strategy for diversity and inclusion efforts across all its mission elements and facilitate the development of department-level strategies that align with the college-level plan. The committee's efforts are intended to expand upon the existing programs we have had in place for several years including unconscious bias training for faculty search committees, college promotion and tenure committees and college awards and honors committees and the launch of a departmental pilot involving gender-balanced learning communities.

Contact Michelle Soupir, College of Engineering Equity Adviser (; 515-294-2307)

College of Human Sciences

Growing through Relationships and conversations with Others (GRO). College of Human Sciences students from a variety of backgrounds participate in GRO, an intercultural learning and small-group discussion meeting throughout the academic year. The purpose of GRO is to increase understanding of social justice issues by building cross-cultural relationships, and discussing issues related to diversity (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.). Past meetings have included conversations around race; intersectionality; and power, privilege and oppression. The Spring 2020 topic is “Navigating a community in crisis: Exploring Individual experiences when your community is divided.”

Contact: Carmen Flagge,, 515-294-0532

H Sci 150 Dialogues on Diversity and HSci 250 Intergroup Relations. The college offers H Sci 150: Dialogues on Diversity for students who want to more fully develop and practice skills related to communication across difference. In addition, HSci 250: Intergroup Relations (3-hour course) was piloted in Spring 2019, and is a follow-up to HSci 150. These courses will be offered during the fall and spring semesters. Faculty in the School of Education received training for this curriculum at the University of Michigan and adapted the curriculum for Iowa State.

Contact: Bob Reason,

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Caring for students. Christy Oxendine, the college’s director of multicultural student success, always has something essential for students who visit her office: she feeds them. Christy offers them not only snacks but also canned soups and other nonperishable meals. Students can simply pick up a can or two on their way out of her office. Around exam times, Christy and her team also set up study tables in various buildings on campus. She knows that it is often more comfortable for multicultural students to join a study group of students with similar backgrounds.

Contacts: Amy Juhnke and Christy Oxendine

Inclusive classroom training for teaching assistants. Students from all over campus take courses in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and many encounter graduate teaching assistants (TAs) in their labs or classrooms. Many TAs already receive training in how to create inclusive classrooms. For example, new TAs in the Department of Chemistry participate in a week-long orientation which covers, among other topics, inclusive environments, safety and harassment and discrimination. TAs in the Department of English also participate in a week-long orientation which includes presentations and case studies on creating inclusive classroom. In addition, English TAs also take a semester-long course, ENGL 500, which covers topics such as diversity and social justice, managing difficult conversations and providing positive and constructive feedback. The departments of Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy, also address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in their TA training. For Spring 2020, the college will share model approaches with all of its departments to ensure all TAs who interact directly with students in courses or labs receive inclusive classroom training.

Contacts: Beate Schmittmann and Amy Juhnke

College of Veterinary Medicine

Review of diversity and inclusion programming. Recognizing the need to continually challenge what we are doing and to get outside perspective, the College of Veterinary Medicine initiated a review of diversity and inclusion programs in the Summer of 2019.  This review was conducted by Dr. Hilda Mejia Abreu, Associate Dean for Admissions, Student Life, and Inclusivity at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Findings from this review are being used by the college to inform continued improvement in creating an environment that is welcoming to all in the CVM community.

Contact: Dr. Heather Greenlee

ISCORE champion. The college will be a champion of the 2020 Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conversation on Race and Ethnicity, to be held Friday, March 6. ISCORE is a comprehensive forum on issues of race and ethnicity at Iowa State University and is modeled after the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).  As the college champion, CVM will highlight its efforts to create an inclusive community that is welcoming to all, and is a great place to work and learn.

Contact: Dr. Heather Greenlee

University Library

Welcoming and inspiring students through artIn collaboration with University Museums, the University Library added artistic works by 14 women artists and artists of color. These artists diversify the stories and voices already represented in the library, broadening representation, and better reflecting our student body. Paintings, prints, and photographs reflect contemporary perspectives representing women, nature, and science that hopefully inspire and challenge our students by exposing them to new experiences and ideas. Works by Tilly Woodward, Elizabeth Marie Van Hoesen, Virginia Thorne, Marion J. Kitzman, Bethany Collins, Rachel Sussman, Mary Kline-Misol, Renata Sack, Rose Frantzen, Frank Oscar Lind III, Louise Minert Kelly, Elizabeth Catlett, Molly Scannell and Emily Arthur complement the murals and sculptures by Grant Wood, Christian Peterson, and Doug Shelton that reflect more traditional representations of Iowa, women, agriculture, and science. 

Contacts: Lillah Anderson; Hilary Seo

DEI training for all library staff. Equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice are cornerstones of the Library’s values. Articulating and sharing these values with staff is a priority, including challenging them to develop a deeper understanding of DEI as it relates to their work, and how and when to address inequities and be more welcoming and inclusive. Over the past four years, the library has undertaken library-wide training for staff, including sessions on cultural proficiency, microaggressions, de-colonizing descriptive language, disability rights, and implicit bias. The Library management team, supervisors and staff recently read and discussed Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility and Julie J. Parks’s Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data.

Contacts: Susan Vega-Garcia; Hilary Seo

Faculty Climate Workgroup

The Academic Division and Faculty Senate were charged in 2018 with developing initiatives that improve the experience of faculty, in response to results from the Campus Climate Survey. The workgroup’s report can be found on the Faculty Senate website.




Close-up of a statue on the Memorial Union fountain