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Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Edwin Marshall
Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs

Last modified: Thursday, September 18, 2008

IU President McRobbie announces $1 million commitment to university-wide diversity initiative

Sept. 18, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie today (Sept. 18) announced the establishment of a major $1 million initiative to strengthen racial, ethnic and cultural diversity at all of the university's campuses.

"This initiative is designed to advance strategies identified by our various campuses in their diversity plans that I requested last year," McRobbie said. "We want to draw upon the creativity of each campus as it looks at its diversity challenges and provide resources to help them successfully address these challenges."

The program, known as the President's University Diversity Initiative, will support proposals that improve access to and graduation from IU for students from under-represented communities.

McRobbie said the proposals will need to address at least one of four dimensions of diversity outlined in the campus plans: institutional leadership and commitment, curricular and co-curricular transformation, campus climate and representational diversity.

"This is an important goal for us," McRobbie said. "By providing a significant level of funding, we are enabling the campuses to move more quickly than what otherwise might have been possible."

In June 2007, chancellors were asked to develop campus-specific plans for increasing diversity. Each plan outlined, among other things, steps needed to increase the number of under-represented minorities among students, faculty and professional staff.

Dr. Edwin C. Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and professor of optometry and public health, presented some of the strategies outlined in those plans at today's trustees' meeting.

"Much of the activity contained in the campus plans has been ongoing, but these funds should be a boost to help move things quicker and farther than people have been able to historically because of constraints on resources," Marshall said.

Marshall said the initiative should be seen as a signal that the administration realizes that good ideas cannot effectively go forward without strong commitment from the university.

"We look at this as a project that actually goes beyond the walls of Indiana University," he added. "We are a community resource and we should be reaching out to our constituent communities to develop partnerships that facilitate increased diversity in student access and attainment at the university level -- a win-win situation for the university and community."

Extended partnerships in the form of local campus-community coalitions, for example, could establish new avenues of communication and engagement in support of the campus diversity plans.

"Education is about opportunity and we want to be able to create opportunities," Marshall said. "In order to be successful as an educational institution, we need to make sure that we're preparing students for the society in which they'll serve."

Any IU unit is eligible to apply for funding under the initiative. The deadline for proposals will be Nov. 3.