LAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
Diversity Slideshow Heading link
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND NON-DISCRIMINATION Heading link
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 maintaining and supporting meaningful diversity across our research, teaching, and service. Our goal is to ensure equity and inclusion and promote 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 programs, activities, and initiatives across the college and its units.
Aligning our efforts with UIC’s diversity strategic plan, Mosaic for UIC Transformation, we understand diversity in terms of “the totality of the ways that people are similar and different, including race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and identity, disability, national origin and citizenship status, age, language, culture, religion, and economic status, particularly when those similarities and differences are used as a basis for unfair advantage and inequity.”
LAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Heading link
The scope of diversity initiatives at the campus-, college-, and unit-level necessitate creating a vehicle for sharing successes and concerns. 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 areas of strength and areas where attention is required and helping the college set diversity priorities. The committee meetings will also serve as a venue for the individual units to exchange information on activities and initiatives happening in the units that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Structure of the Committee
LAS Associate Deans will co-chair the Committee. The Committee will be made up of a representative from each unit in the college with interest or expertise in or experience in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Each academic year college units will be asked to select a member of the unit for this Committee.
Activities and Meetings
The LAS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will monitor diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the college, reviewing data provided and requesting additional data as needed.
The Committee will meet at least once a semester to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion-related topics and initiatives.
The Committee will meet at least once a year with the LAS Dean’s Student Advisory Council to hear the student perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Committee will also invite LAS students to contact them with diversity, equity, and inclusion-related thoughts or concerns.
The Committee will select the recipients of the Dean’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grant, which supports programs aimed at promoting meaningful change and progress in this area across the college.
The Committee will meet with the Dean to report on the academic year’s activities in the Spring Term.
Once a year, the Committee will report at an LAS faculty meeting in the spring.
Committee Co-Chairs and Members - AY 2022-2023
Members of LAS units may contact and consult with members of the Committee about diversity, equity, and inclusion-related ideas and concerns at any time.
Jane Rhodes, Associate Dean for Research & Programs in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Interdisciplinary Units; Diversity Equity and Inclusion; and Community Engagement
LAS 2023-2024 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Members
LAS Diversity Initiative Awards Heading link
LAS Diversity Initiative Grants
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to solicit proposals for the LAS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative Award Program. The Awards provide resources for initiatives that promote and support meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion in LAS.
Projects of any kind will be considered as long as they can project long-term sustainable impacts on the college’s diversity, equity, and inclusion mission and goals.
Proposals must be submitted as a single pdf to Beth Allen (Betha@uic.edu) by April 5, 2024, with the subject line “LAS Diversity Initiative Award Proposal.”
See here for the current call for proposals.
Project Title: First-at-LAS Parent Portal Website
First-at-LAS has a well-developed website with a target audience comprised of LAS first-gen students and LAS Faculty. We would like to add a webpage for first-generation students’ parents with well-developed accessible resources, templates, and conversation prompts that address the abovementioned context. Given the potential for linguistic barriers, we would have the site appear in three languages: English, Spanish, and Polish.
- To take a substantial step towards informative and collaborative communication with LAS first-gen parents.
- To offer informative, balanced resources and templates to help our first-generation students establish productive and healing conversations with their parents, families, and communities.
- To communicate the value of a liberal arts and sciences education and the future career pathways made possible by that education, regardless of major of choice.
LAS Diversity Awards 22-23
CLJ Transforming Culture Through Curriculum Project
Participants: Jessica Bird, Alana Gunn, William McCarty, Danielle Akua Smith, Lisa Frohman, Rahim Kurwa
Project Summary: The CLJ Diversity Committee and Curriculum Committee are partnering on this project to bring together our work on DEI initiatives and curriculum reimagining. The former consists of a series of information-gathering efforts to establish existing UIC data, followed by primary data collection to fill in gaps about the CLJ department, as well as literature reviews to identify best practices in the field. Analysis of this material will inform new practices and processes with the goal of strengthening our culture to meet the needs of our diverse community of students, staff, and faculty and to more fully embed our justice commitments. The latter curriculum work involves a reexamination of our curricula, pedagogies, and departmental identity in ways that dismantle the narrow ideologies and discourses that pervade the traditional criminological cannon. In practical terms, this includes but moves beyond simply an additive approach, where otherwise marginalized scholarship is incorporated into syllabi. Rather, we intend this project to also open-up space to engage as a group with fundamental questions of knowledge production and higher education’s institutional structures and practices, those which have relied traditionally on colonial and racialized hierarchies. Our intention is to both generate relevant data that will support robust and long-lasting DEI initiatives, as well as to provide creative spaces to come together to think deeply about our departmental policies and practices, our course offerings, individual pedagogies, and our professional relationships as they relate to questions of decolonization, indigeneity, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The project as described in this proposal is not only a collaboration between our two faculty committees but also involves partnerships between a variety of stakeholders, including CLJ Department staff, faculty, and students. We view the benefits accrued from these efforts as providing long-term change to the CLJ Department’s curriculum and culture as we attempt to make our courses, spaces, and the overall environment of the Criminology, Law, and Justice more inclusive, more responsive to the changing climate beyond academia, and ultimately more just.
There are two pillars of the project. First, there is a research component that seeks to identify best practices, gather departmental data about student performance and experiences, and synthesize cutting-edge research we can use to transform our curricula. Second, there will be a program of events, including a curriculum workshop series designed to identify areas of need and begin to make key improvements, and an outside speaker event, inviting scholars who can help us expand our theoretical and pedagogical lenses. We believe these changes are vitally necessary to the future of our department as a vibrant and positive force at UIC and in Chicago. These changes will help us teach undergraduate students material relevant to their lived experiences and supportive of their desire to positively change society. And they will better prepare our graduate students for research and teaching that engages new sets of questions that will increasingly shape the fields of criminology, law, and justice in the years to come.
LAS Diversity Awards 21-22
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.
LAS Diversity Awards 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.
Office of Diversity, Engagement, and Inclusion Heading link
UIC Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award 2022-2023
To recognize extraordinary contributions and commitment to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus and/or the communities it serves. This includes exceptional and impactful initiatives that include but are not limited to the following:
- Efforts to create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable educational and work environment
- Efforts to advance equal access to education among diverse populations
- Efforts to promote a just and egalitarian society
- Efforts in teaching, public service, and/or community engagement that address the needs of Illinois’ diverse and/or historically excluded populations
- Research initiatives that highlight and advance equity, diversity, and social justice
- Efforts to strategically support minoritized and underserved populations
UIC Community Award
The Offices of Faculty Affairs and Diversity, Equity & Engagement seek to establish a university merit award that honors dedicated faculty for their achievements in areas of community-based research, scholarship, service and teaching that address critical community needs, support community advancement, and promote collaboration among UIC and its community partners. This includes exceptional initiatives such as:
- Efforts to advance reciprocal collaborations between UIC and Chicago area communities
- Research and/or teaching initiatives that center community knowledge, capacity and empowerment
- Efforts to strategically support community empowerment and develop community-led research or practice
LAS & Campus Resources Heading link
UIC Office of Diversity, Equity, and Engagement Heading link
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Engagement guides UIC’s strategic efforts to advance access, equity, and inclusion as fundamental institutional values underpinning all aspects of university life.