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.
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.”
Fall 2020 Welcome From IDEA Director Keisha Varma
Dear University of Minnesota Community,
On behalf of the Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (IDEA), welcome to the Fall 2020 semester. This semester will look different, but IDEA is committed to supporting faculty from underrepresented groups by building a strong interdisciplinary community of scholars, elevating the scholarship and service of BIPOC faculty and supporting efforts to recruit and retain faculty from underrepresented groups.
I want to acknowledge the exhaustion many of us are feeling as we process, grieve, and advocate against the systemic police violence that continues to take Black lives. We are also continuing to navigate a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on our physical and mental health.
While these last several months have brought many challenges, we have also seen the extraordinary strength and resiliency of our community, and I want to recognize the tremendous efforts of students, staff, and faculty, who have continued to teach, learn, and advocate for systemic change at the University. At IDEA, we are fighting alongside you to advance anti-racist work across the institution. Thank you for stepping up, standing up, and speaking out.
As the fall semester begins, please be sure to take care of yourself. Reach out to me, this office, or the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), and know that we are here to support you. We are committed to making the University a more safe, equitable, just, healthy, and inclusive environment for all of our community members.
In the coming weeks, I will share information about IDEA’s initiatives to create a community to support the scholarship of our Indigenous Faculty and Faculty of Color. I am committed to taking action and doing more, and I look forward to the work we will do together to catalyze transformational change at the University of Minnesota.