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EDI Year in Review: 2021-2022 – News

headshot of Dr. Doris HoustonDr. Doris Houston

The 2021-2022 academic year continued the drive for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI efforts at Illinois State University.  

“Equity work is not the role of the few, but the responsibility of the many,” said Interim Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Doris Houston. Grassroots efforts joined with administrative initiatives to reflect and shape the University’s core value of diversity and inclusion.   

Here are some highlights: 

A new statement: EDI ISU 

EDI is you. It is a simple, but powerful, message. One that is encapsulated in a new wordmark—or a logo created mainly from text—for Illinois State’s commitment to equity work. The EDI ISU wordmark was conceived by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Dakesa Piña from the College of Education, and designed with intentionality of font and style by University Marketing and Communications graphic designer Lawrence Lair. Learn more about the development of the wordmark. 

Fulfilling commitments 

This year saw further continuation of the work to bring to life the visions and suggestions from the latest Campus Climate Task Force, which wrapped in 2017.  

students with ceremonial ribbonStudents celebrated the opening of the new Multicultural Center.

Multicultural Center – After more than a decade of discussions and five years of planning, the Multicultural Center opened on October 15 with a ribbon cutting and dedication. Students joined University and community leaders at the center, which provides an affirming environment where students can flourish in their intersecting identities. Read more. 

Faculty Diversity Enhancement Program (FDEP) – In the ongoing effort to recruit and retain outstanding new faculty who promote equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University, Vice President and Provost Aondover Tarhule announced the launch of the Faculty Diversity Enhancement Program. The $4.5 million program will advance teaching, scholarly, and creative efforts of new faculty who promote EDI through their research, teaching, service, and mentoring. Read more. 

Search Advocate Program – As part of efforts to recognize and interrupt unconscious bias throughout the search process, Human Resources began training sessions for the Search Advocate Program. Read more.  

College of Engineering – The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved a new College of Engineering at Illinois State, with the institution centering equity in every stage of development. Read more. 

two people seated at a tableFrom left, Dr. Eda Ozyesilpinar and Dr. Rocío Rivadeneyra at the EDI Leaders Circle in Fall 2021.

EDI Leader’s Circle  

The EDI Leader’s Circle represents nearly 40 councils, committees, and areas across campus dedicated to advancing EDI at the University. Members gathered for an EDI Leader’s Circle Symposium in February to exchange ideas and explore equity Pillars of Progress, designed by Houston. “This symposium was a chance for advocate-leaders to continue to forge pathways toward a foundation for equity at Illinois State,” she said. Read more

Leading the way

Dr. Natalie Shaheen and Dr. Mindy Ely photoDr. Natalie Shaheen and Dr. Mindy Ely ’91

Low vision and blindness – Consistently ranked as one of the top porgrams in the state and in the country, the Department of Special Education offers one of 33 low vision and blindness programs in the country and one of only eight for undergraduates. Read more.

Illinois Tutoring Initiative – Illinois State is coordinating the Illinois Tutoring Initiative in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Illinois Community College Board. The program will provide tutoring for approximately 8,500 Illinois students during the two-year period. Read more. 

Hope Chicago – Illinois State University announced an agreement with Hope Chicago, opening the door for Chicago Public School (CPS) students and their parents to pursue debt-free higher education. Hope Scholars who are accepted into Illinois State will receive full tuition, fees, room, and board. Hope Parent Scholars have the option to apply and attend the following year, with full tuition, fees, and a stipend for living expenses. Read more. 

Giving voice 

Mutlicultural Center Director Dr. Christa Platt speaks at the memorial service for Jelani Day.Mutlicultural Center Director Dr. Christa Platt speaks at the memorial service for Jelani Day.

Collective grief – As the campus grappled with the feelings of fear and loss in the wake of student Jelani Day’s disappearance and death, the Multicultural Center and Student Counseling Services provided support and spaces to grieve, including a memorial service. Read more.  

Listening Circles – Listening circles provided a brave space for members of the University to express emotions such as fear, confusion, and frustration. Circles this year included topics such as Transgender Awareness Week and the overturning of Roe v Wade. The National Center for Urban Education at Illinois State offers more about listening circles.  

Dr. Byron CraigDr. Byron Craig

Tapis Talk – A new podcast launched by Assistant Professor of Race, Visual, and African American Rhetoric Byron Craig, called Tapis Talk, explores issues surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) at Illinois State. Read more. 

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