Announcement from UIC Provost: Update on DSTP Initiative (December 22, 2009)
UIC is very proud of its diversity and the recognition of our role in providing "access to excellence." Each day on campus each of us interacts with people who are different from us. Culture, race, disability, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, and many other facets of our identities lead us to look at the world through different lenses. Realizing the full benefit of our diversities fits with our mission to provide a world-class education in an urban environment and is the goal of the Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning (DSTP) process. Diversity is one of UIC's outstanding strengths and it is everyone's responsibility.
I am writing today to report our progress on this major campus initiative. The launch of the project was announced in March, and since then significant work has been done.
As you may remember, the first phase of this initiative was the Diversity Strategic Thinking exercise in which input from a broad range of constituencies on campus was sought to shape and drive thinking on diversity at UIC. As a result, more than 200 people have been directly involved with a campus DSTP Committee and committees within Colleges and Vice Chancellor units where parallel strategic thinking processes are also ongoing. Based on the input received, the campus DSTP Committee has developed diversity strategic thinking reports in six subject areas: Climate/Environment, Faculty, Research, Staff, Students, and Teaching and Learning. These reports form the foundation of the Diversity Strategic Thinking Document, which will be shared with you in January.
Campus town hall meetings will follow in January to solicit further opinions and suggestions. The Diversity Strategic Thinking Document and related campus conversations will provide a framework for the development of a campus Diversity Strategic Plan over the course of spring 2010.
The Diversity Strategic Thinking exercise has led us to a better understanding of the challenges we face, as well as the special opportunities we have as a uniquely diverse campus. We have learned that there is widespread agreement on the importance of recruiting, retaining and promoting a diverse faculty and the benefits - to scholarship, teaching, and learning - that a diverse faculty brings to our campus.
Similarly, increasing parity among and retention and graduation rates for all student groups has emerged as a campus priority. We have also learned that, although diversity is defined in many different ways, at the heart of all definitions is the recognition of a need to increase participation of individuals from historically underrepresented groups in all campus activities.
The Diversity Strategic Plan for UIC will build upon existing programs and will initiate new programs, training and assessment to enhance the success of our institution. The plan will further advance UIC's ability to offer an outstanding education to a diverse student body and insure that the continued excellence of our research and educational programs is enriched by the diversity of the people engaged in these activities.
I hope you will join me in this planning effort by offering your individual commitment to the equality of opportunity and to achieving true diversity and inclusion here at UIC.
R. Michael Tanner
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs