Providing Support to Our Diverse Community of Scholars

The Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA), led by Director Keisha Varma (Associate Vice Provost, Office for Equity and Diversity), works to increase participation, retention, and success for all faculty at the University of Minnesota, with a focus on faculty from historically underrepresented groups.

IDEA upholds the University's commitment to diversity by supporting transformative research and providing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Our signature programs include University Bridge Funding For Faculty of Color, Multicultural Research Awards, Diversity Through the Disciplines, Faculty Driven, Keeping Our Faculty, and the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

IDEA convenes University of Minnesota scholars to collaborate across disciplines, departments, colleges, and campuses and fosters an inclusive campus climate for all faculty. 

Professor Rich Lee creates survey to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented communities

Graphic with illustrations of two people Like most U of M students and faculty in March of 2020, Dr. Rich Lee, Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts, wasn’t sure how long the COVID-19 pandemic would last. As a researcher and professor, he was curious to know how it would impact the students and surrounding communities. This was a time to make a connection and find positive insights from a powerless situation, he thought. Dr. Lee recognized this opportunity to measure the effects of a worldwide pandemic on wellness, education, virtual learning and evaluate institutional management of a continually shifting situation. Read full article.

View and join the Social and Racial Justice Scholar Directory

The IDEA is collaborating with the Office for Public Engagement and Faculty and Academic Affairs to create an online directory of faculty who engage in scholarship related to social justice, racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The purpose of this directory is to highlight and amplify the work of social justice and DEI scholars at the University of Minnesota and to foster systemwide connections around related issues. View the Social & Racial Justice Scholar Directory and learn more

University of Minnesota Joins National Alliance Aimed at Developing a More Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty

The University of Minnesota today announced it’s one of 19 universities joining a three-year institutional change effort to develop inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring, and retention practices. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) co-leads the effort, known as Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty. The new cohort joins two earlier cohorts that are currently working together to advance such work, bringing the total number of institutions participating in the institutional change effort to 54. The National Science Foundation funds the effort as part of its INCLUDES initiative.

Aimed at ensuring all STEM faculty use inclusive teaching practices and that institutions increase the diversity of their STEM professoriate, participating universities begin their work with a self-assessment of current practices and assets. The institutions will then develop and implement campus action plans to drive change and scale such efforts across all their STEM programs.

“At the University of Minnesota, efforts are well underway to advance diversity and inclusion in the academic STEM disciplines," shared Keisha Varma, Associate Vice Provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity of the University of Minnesota. "Being a member of the collaborative Aspire Alliance strengthens our commitment to broadening representation in STEM at the University of Minnesota and informs and inspires our work moving forward.”

Read the full press release

  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering
  • guests at the Fall 2018 IDEA social gathering

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Claim Your National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity Membership

Learn more about the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD) and how you can activate your University of Minnesota institutional membership.

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OEDIDEA@umn.edu | 612-625-7439


Office Location

432 Morrill Hall, 100 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455