Ensure the office of equal opportunity is adequately staffed. Review employee recruitment efforts. Identify public transportation options between Ames and Des Moines.
The consultant who's been reviewing Iowa State's diversity programs and resources included these recommendations and several others in a recent preliminary report to President Steven Leath. The report is the precursor to a comprehensive report expected this spring.
Leath said he plans to use both reports to promote and enhance diversity at Iowa State. In announcing the review last March, he said that Iowa State "is as diverse as it has ever been, but we have a responsibility to build upon past successes and ensure that we strive every day to create an environment that is as welcoming as possible to all people."
Leading the diversity study is Jerlando Jackson, founder of The Jackson Consulting Firm, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an ISU alumnus. Since last spring, Jackson has been conducting interviews, focus groups, surveys and analyses of Iowa State's diversity-related assets and programs.
Following are findings and recommendations in Jackson's preliminary report.
Finding No. 1: Awareness of policies and responsibilities pertaining to hiring, discrimination, recruitment and harassment varies greatly across campus.
- Ensure that faculty and staff take online training on harassment and Title IX (1.1)
- Ensure the office of equal opportunity is adequately staffed for training individuals and groups (1.2)
- Ensure that all search committee chairs receive lawful hiring training (1.3)
Finding No. 2: Employee recruitment efforts vary greatly across individual units.
- Review employee recruitment efforts with an eye to developing best practices (2)
Finding No. 3: ISU must enhance its partnerships with surrounding business groups and communities to reach its full potential with respect to diversity.
- Leverage strong relationships between the university and city to encourage service and retail development within Ames (3.1)
- Work with the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau and related groups to attract to Ames major national and regional events with a diversity-focus. Encourage ISU units to assist in sponsoring such events (3.2)
Build on existing efforts to link Ames/ISU with other communities in central Iowa, particularly Des Moines. (3.3) Tactics that might be considered:
- Work with community partners to identify public transportation options between Ames and Des Moines
- Include among Capital Corridor plans a component on recruiting diverse businesses to central Iowa
Leath and university administrators will review and consider the preliminary report recommendations, said Miles Lackey, associate vice president and chief of staff.
"The president is very serious about moving forward on diversity issues, and the preliminary report provides some useful information to inform steps in the near term," Lackey said. "We’re also looking forward to receiving the final comprehensive report which we anticipate will inform university diversity strategies as we look into the future."