LAS Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
One of the greatest strengths of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC is the vibrant diversity of our students, staff, and faculty. LAS is made up of individuals who bring different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences with them, and our most profound accomplishments result from conversation and collaboration among these many viewpoints.
The College is thus committed to doing all that it can to maintain and support meaningful diversity, and to take full advantage of this diversity by ensuring inclusion and promoting the flourishing of all members of the LAS community. This attitude and the actions it implies are part of the fabric of daily life in LAS, and are expressed in a wide range of its programs and activities.
LAS Diversity Resources
The LAS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is constituted to advise the Dean of LAS on matters of diversity, to support diversity initiatives in the college, and to serve as a conduit of information and communication between the Dean of the College and its faculty, staff, and students on diversity-related issues. The committee is charged with identifying and highlighting both areas of strength and areas where attention is required, and with helping the college set diversity priorities.
Structure of the Committee
- The committee will be chaired by an LAS Associate Dean.
- The committee will be made up of 5-7 LAS faculty and staff with expertise in and experience with diversity issues. Members will be appointed by the Chair in consultation with the Dean for 3-year, renewable terms.
Activities and Meetings
- The LAS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will monitor diversity and diversity initiatives in the college, reviewing data provided and requesting additional data as needed.
- The Committee will meet at least twice a year with the The LAS Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (see below) to discuss diversity-related issues.
- The Committee will meet at least once a year with the Student Advisory Council to hear the student perspective on diversity issues in the college. The committee will also invite LAS students to contact them with diversity-related thoughts or concerns.
- In addition, the Committee will meet once in advance of the first LAS Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion meeting. It is expected that the committee will meet approximately once a month, including the meetings with the Diversity Council, the Student Advisory Council, and the meeting to report to the Dean (see below).
- The Committee will administer select diversity initiatives undertaken by the college (e.g. a Dean’s Diversity Grant which supports programs aimed at promoting meaningful diversity).
LAS Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- The scope of diversity initiatives at the campus-, college-, and unit-level necessitate creating a vehicle for sharing both successes and concerns. The college will therefore establish an LAS Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to which each academic unit within LAS will be asked to name a member. The Council will serve as a conduit of information between the units and the college on matters related to diversity.
- The Council will meet with the LAS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at least once a semester. These meetings will provide the opportunity for the committee to advise the council about diversity and diversity initiatives at the college-level, and for the Council to ask questions and to communicate to the committee successes, challenges, and observations from the units.
- Members of the Council may contact and consult the Committee about diversity-related issues at any time.
- In the Spring Term, the Committee will meet with the Dean to report on the academic year’s activities.
- Once a year the Committee will give a report at an LAS faculty meeting.
Committee Members - AY 2020-21
Nicholas Huggett (on leave Spring 2021)
Connie Zdenek (ex officio)
The LAS Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was constituted to provide a venue for the individual units to exchange information with the College (through an LAS Associate Dean and the LAS Diversity Committee) and with each other.
Members - AY 2020-21
ANTH – Anna Roosevelt
BIOS – Teresa Orenic
BLST – Cynthia Blair
CHEM – Xiaojing Yang
COMM – Kishonna Gray
CLJ – Alana Gunn
ECON – Javaeria Qureshi
EAES – Kimberly Van Meter
ENGL – Madhu Dubey
GWS – Ronak Kapadia
HIST – Joaquin Chavez
LALS – Andreas Feldmann
LSRI – Josh Radinsky
MSCS – Alina Cojocaru
PHIL – Daniel Sutherland
PHYS – Misha Stephanov
POLS – Alexa Filindra
PSYCH – Dan Cervone
SOC – Michael Emerson
SLCSL – Liliana Sanchez and Krishni Burns
LAS Diversity Initiative Awards
DEI Initiative Funded Proposals Spring 2021
1) Graduate/Undergraduate Research Mentorship (GRUM), Sociology.
This program will set up a Graduate to Undergraduate mentoring program that will provide graduate students with research support (in the form of project assistance from an undergraduate) and mentoring experience and undergraduates with a meaningful research opportunity. It also includes a spring semester faculty-supervised experience for the undergraduates to support them in writing a senior thesis, and funding and support for students to present their work at the UIC Innovation Day and at the Midwestern Sociological Society.
2) Arab American STEM Mentorship and Symposium Diversity Initiative, MSCS and Arab American Cultural Center.
This program will serve Arab American students from LAS interested in STEM. It involves (1) a symposium in which Arab American faculty and leaders share their experiences, (2) an Arab American STEM mentorship program modeled on the First-at-LAS program, and (3) a program connecting undergraduate Arab American STEM students at UIC with high school students of a similar demographic to serve as mentors and ambassadors.
3) Disability, Justice, and Disproportionate Representation: A Proposal to Increase Diversity in CLJ, CLJ.
This initiative seeks to expand the impressive diversity in the department of CLJ even further by creating a focus area on disability justice and developing specific recruitment initiatives for students with disabilities. It involves the creation of a disability justice working group, which will (1) design a disability justice curriculum and build a program of internships, (2) host a seminar series with 4 nationally recognized speakers who will give public lectures and meet with the working group, and (3) hire a research assistant to coordinate the seminar series and do a literature review and other necessary research to support the development of the new curriculum.
4) Undergraduate Research Opportunity, BIOS.
This initiative provides research experience to undergraduates who are from groups under-represented in STEM careers. It builds on work devised this past spring in response to the pivot to online, which offered an online, remote collaborative project to a team of undergraduates from UIC. The initiative expands this program to include 8 students who will work in a team doing research on the ACE2 protein, which serves as the SARS-CoV-2 receptor in humans. It is intended to serve as a pilot and proof of concept for a larger grant, which would expand the program to many more students.
5) Academic Advising Staff Mentorship Program, LAS Student Affairs.
This initiative offers mentoring and professional development opportunities for advisors from under-represented groups. It provides mentorship for incoming advisors from such groups by veteran advisors, and of the veteran advisors serving as mentors by LAS professionals in advanced administrative or leadership positions. The award also provides grant money that can be used for books, webinars, and conferences to provide networking opportunities and resources to advisors from under-represented groups, supporting their career development and allowing them to better serve our diverse undergraduate student body.
6) Antiracist Writing Pedagogy Working Group, First-Year Writing Program.
This initiative builds on the 2021 MLK Day keynote at UIC by Dr. Ibram Kendi, which described an antiracist university as focused on antiracist research and teaching. It will form a working group to examine the First-Year Writing Program curriculum and pedagogy through an antiracist lens and engage LAS students and faculty in ongoing discussions of racism. The group will research antiracist pedagogy and assessment and share strategies specific to writing faculty through the creation of a webinar and other methods.
Funded LAS Diversity Award Initiatives - AY 2020-21
Diversity Initiative for Graduate Instructors: Workshop Series
Awarded to the Philosophy Department Graduate Program Coordinator and a 4th-Year graduate student to launch and run the Diversity Initiative for Graduate Instructors workshop series, aimed at bringing together UIC graduate instructors across LAS to combine resources and insights, tackle common issues, and examine pedagogy practice to learn together to make classes more accessible and inclusive. The awardees will coordinate with the Center for Teaching Excellence to transition the workshop and any resulting data, case studies, and relevant other information into their future programming for graduate student instructors.
Increasing Gender Diversity among Economics Majors
Awarded to four faculty in Economics (including the Director of Undergraduate Studies) to develop four special events involving four carefully selected female guest speakers to present their research at a level that is accessible to students with little knowledge of economics. These speakers will also be part of a panel that will include one or two of the proposers and some other students to provide information about the economics major at UIC. They will also develop a mentoring program for students enrolled in ECON 120, matching advanced students with students in the introductory-level course. Both initiatives will help students in general, but both will be tailored with the special aim of increasing the percentage of women who choose to major in ECON, addressing widespread gender inequality in the field.
Academic Advising Staff Mentoring Program
Awarded to four members of the LAS Academic Advising staff to better support advisors of color through a mentorship program for new and veteran advisors of color, or from historically marginalized backgrounds. This will be a two-tier program that pairs incoming advisors in the relevant groups with veteran mentors and mentorship of the veteran advisors who are mentors to incoming advisors by LAS professionals in advanced administrative or leadership roles. There is also money for professional development in the form of conference attendance by one or two pairs of mentors and mentees.
Highlighting Diverse Identities to Empower the Next Generation of Mathematicians and Scientists
Awarded to faculty in Earth and Environmental Science and Chemistry, and staff at the Math and Science Learning Center to support positive science and math identity development in students by celebrating diversity and creating a sense of belonging through a photo backdrop installation at the Math and Science Learning Center that leverages the hashtags #ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike and #ThisIsWhatAMathematicianLooksLike that have been popular in social media campaigns to increase the visibility of women, minorities, first-generation experiences, individuals with disabilities, the LGBTQIA+ community and more. There are three main components to this initiative – a student designed photo backdrop competition, promotion of the hashtags on social media, and a showcasing of the photos and stories of our students on a display in the MSCL. There will also be a student design competition for two wall graphics.
LAS & Primary Diversity Resources
UIC Office of Diversity
The Office of Diversity guides UIC’s strategic efforts to advance access, equity, and inclusion as fundamental institutional values underpinning all aspects of university life.
UIC Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change
Resources for Faculty
Campus Leadership in Times of Change
During these times of unprecedented change, campus leadership has stated “At UIC, we are committed to addressing the deep systemic injustice of racism and advancing equity and inclusion for all people in Chicago, in the nation and around the world. We are a community that values our differences, our diversity, and our shared compassion for humanity. We will always strive to be one grounded in mutual understanding and respect.” They have also brought our attention back to what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now.” Please see Campus and UI System Announcements below: