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Updates from the JEDI Roundtable

The Academic Excellence and Student Success team is reading the book, The Identity Conscious Educator: Building Habits and Skills for a More Inclusive School by Liza Talusan. We read a chapter each month and dedicate time at our unit meetings to discuss the chapter and apply what we are learning to our work with colleagues and students at Drake. This is part of our teams’ ongoing commitment to personal and team DEIJ learning and development. 

—Submitted by Melissa Sturm-Smith, Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Student Success


The Drake Counseling Center, Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Office of Prevention Education is working on a collaborative initiative called Bulldogs CARE. Students will have the opportunity to engage in three, four-hour workshops centered on conscious conversations, assault prevention, and emotional wellbeing. Our hope with this initiative is to equip students as responsible leaders, create a shared responsibility for the campus culture, and recognize the intersectionality of mental health, belonging, and healthy relationships. We will be inviting a cohort of students to kick off this exciting initiative in February. 

—Submitted by Lynne Cornelius, Director of Prevention Education & Programs


Listening session hosted by Dean Alejandro Hernandez with international faculty in the College of Business and Public Administration. 

Given our international professors represent close to one-quarter of our participating faculty, understanding how they experience Drake is important to ensuring we deliver on our college’s strategic priority of creating an authentically diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for all. Discussions of diversity and inclusion in academia often focus on African Americans and U.S.-born Hispanic and Asian people. What often remains unaddressed are the ways in which international (e.g., foreign-born) faculty experience racialization in ways that are different from U.S.-born peers. We created a brave space for our international faculty (and myself as a foreign-born person) to explore the cultural and racial challenges we face (and opportunities we have pursued) as well how we identify in our lives in the United States.

—Submitted by Alejandro Hernandez, Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration


At Cowles Library, the University Archives & Special Collections is currently building collections and programming activities that reflect diversity of populations, cultures, and ideas. Librarians are reviewing catalog and finding aid records to uncover “hidden” voices in our collections. This includes reprocessing of underutilized collections to provide more detailed descriptions and descriptive metadata and promoting usage through physical and digital displays.

The Scholarly Communications and Collaborations department is testing the addition of diversity subject codes to cataloging records. Their pilot subjects are Indigenous peoples of North America and LGBTQ+ . . . The diversity codes will also facilitate collection analysis.

Submitted by Jill Gremmels, Dean of Cowles Library


Drake named First Gen Forward Institution: The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced the 2022–2023 First-gen Forward cohort. The First-gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources. 

“First-gen Forward now recognizes and supports nearly 300 diverse institutions across four cohorts, all of which continue to lead the nation through their commitment to first-generation student success. We are pleased to welcome Drake University for their long-term commitment and demonstrated strategies for advancing first-generation student initiatives,” said Dr. Sarah E. Whitley, assistant vice president, Center for First-generation Student Success.  

To learn more about first-generation efforts at Drake visit To learn more about the Center for First-generation Student Success, visit

—Submitted by Melissa Sturm-Smith, Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Student Success



Human Resources hosted a BUILD training in November on Implicit Bias. We are actively working on adding a DEI-centered BUILD class to the employee training offerings in the upcoming spring semester. We are collaborating with the Associate Provost and Deputy Provost on re-envisioning faculty recruitment with an eye on DEIJ—that project started earlier this calendar year and remains ongoing. Our Talent Acquisition & DEI Specialist, Marli Jefferson, was one of the individuals to complete NCBI training this year. We are also very happy that three of our team members are serving as Crew mentors. 

—Submitted by Maureen De Armond and Marli Jefferson, Human Resources


The Office of Facilities Planning and Management has been installing signage for gender inclusive restrooms across the campus.   The new sign creation was a student-led initiative to designate all single-user restrooms.  The locations of these restrooms has been added to the interactive campus map online under the Accessibility & Accommodations layer.  The next step in this project is producing signs in buildings that make our campus values clear around inclusivity and display a QR code that links to the interactive map to show students, faculty, and visitors the closest gender inclusive restroom.  All new construction and renovations will have gender inclusive restrooms included in those projects.

-Submitted by Kevin Moran, Executive Director, Facilities Planning and Management


Two School of Journalism and Mass Communication classes, JMC 030 Mass Media in a Global Society and JMC 138 Public Affairs and Advocacy, have received DEI designations. 

As part of our preparation for reaccreditation, the SJMC is undertaking a comprehensive program review and ensure we have a “diverse and inclusive program that empowers those traditionally disenfranchised in society” (ACEJMC, 2022, p. 50). As part of this work, the SJMC is collaborating with Annique Kiel, executive director of Global Engagement and International Programs, to have all SJMC faculty and staff take the Intercultural Development Inventory, participate in individual and group debrief sessions, and attend a workshop designed to provide tangible examples of how to incorporate additional diversity, equity, and inclusion-related work into SJMC courses. 


—Submitted by Catherine Staub, Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication



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