IU Bloomigton’s class of 2021 is its most diverse class yet, but there is still much room for improvement.
In the Big Ten conference, IU ranks fifth in terms of diversity. There is still much to do for IU to create, cultivate and support diversity.
IU should reach out to diverse students in high school from an early stage before they begin to apply for college.
This should be focused in Indiana school systems like Indianapolis Public Schools, providing students with information and resources to come visit the school. It is important for IU to reach out to students first, so they are supported and encouraged from an early stage in the application process.
It is important to not just encourage students of color to apply but to show them they are supported at IU throughout their time at the University.
This is done most effectively with a diverse faculty, which IU does not have. Over 86% of faculty members at IU are white – this is obviously not diverse at all.
IU cannot prove it is fully dedicated to cultivating a community and support system for students of color when they are barely even represented in the school’s own faculty.
The U.S. Department of Education states one of the most important factors of supporting a diverse student body is by building a team of faculty members with broad representation.
There are many ways IU can support and cultivate a diverse faculty.
The University could provide more research grants, specifically to people of color who are prospective faculty members. This is because obtaining research grants is one of the most important steps to eventually becoming a professor.
IU should look to schools like Johns Hopkins University that have committed to supporting a high level of diversity for both students and faculty with a specific plan.
Its plan includes funding visiting students and faculty members for extended stays on campus whose activities support diversity efforts and preparing postdocs for tenure-track positions for underrepresented minorities.
Johns Hopkins also offers a $50,000 research grant for faculty members pursuing excellence in diversity and inclusion research.
While IU grows more diverse with each coming year, beating our own record is not enough.
Diversity is more than a number or statistic. It is the dedication to representing our community and supporting underrepresented minorities in both student and faculty positions.