Diversity and Inclusion at Iowa's Regent Institutions
At its April meeting, the Board of Regents will receive the annual diversity report, which highlights diversity and inclusion efforts at Iowa’s public universities. Iowa code requires the Board to submit the report to the legislature each year.
Research shows that an increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion on college campuses is beneficial in numerous ways. Diverse organizations and workplaces are more innovative, creative, productive, resilient and effective than homogenous ones. Focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion also provides Iowa’s public universities with a greater ability to provide an excellent teaching and learning environment, and goes beyond a response to the shifting demographics of college students.
“Iowa’s public universities, like universities across the country, need to reflect society,” said Rachel Boon, chief academic officer for the Board of Regents. “Likewise, the environment in which universities educate students needs to reflect that all members of the community are valued and important to meeting society’s needs.”
Companies and organizations that hire graduates from the Regent institutions consistently indicate that they look for employees that possess not only a unique blend of practical and critical thinking skills, but also have an understating of diverse and global cultures and can thrive in diverse work environments. By promoting diversity and inclusion, Iowa’s public universities are equipping students with the skills they need to be successful in today’s modern workplaces.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are not something we do for certain subsets of students,” Boon said. “We continually hear that it is a benefit to all students.”
Since 2009, the number of workers at Iowa’s Regent institutions who identify as racial or ethnic minorities has increased by nearly 1,800. Tenured or tenure-track faculty members of the same designation have increased by 125. All told, 14.4 percent of the workforce at the Regent institutions identify as a racial or ethnic minority, an all-time high.
Women make up more than 61 percent of the institutional workforce, including more than 68 percent of professional and scientific staff. More than 35 percent of tenured or tenure-track faculty are women, up three percentage points from 2009.
“The workforce at the institutions is shifting to more closely align with our student body, but it is not true across all categories of employees,” Boon said. “Mentoring programs, hiring incentives, training and development opportunities and employment practices are constantly evolving to ensure our workforce can meet the needs of a diverse student body.”
In the fall of 2019 the Regent universities saw the 6th highest total enrollment in the history of the Regent universities. Over the last 10 years, the Regents have shown steady increases in the percent of the students who identify as a racial or ethnic minority.
More than half (50.2 percent) of students at Iowa’s public universities are women, and 15.6 percent of students identify as a racial or ethnic minority, the most ever.
Over the past three years, each university has conducted a campus climate survey in order to obtain feedback directly from all stakeholders regarding their experiences and perceptions of the campus climate in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Regents institutions take these efforts seriously and are dedicated to creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive campuses.