VP of Diversity and Inclusion discusses recent projects with StuGov


Alec Giljohann/Iowa State Daily

Dr. Reginald Stewart, VP of diversity and inclusion, was hired on Oct. 15, 2015 following a list of needs and recommended solutions from student group Latinos United For a Change.

Alex Connor

Iowa State Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Reginald Stewart addressed Student Government Wednesday on projects his department and other university stakeholders have had in the works.

These projects ranged from a Mindfulness Room in Parks Library to finding new and innovative ways to address and better understand campus climate.

1. The Mindfulness Room — which is the first of seven projects Stewart highlighted to StuGov — is a space intended as a place to relax and clear one’s mind accessible to all students. The space is not intended for sleeping, studying or meeting and those visiting are asked to turn off their electronic devices.

The Mindfulness Room is located in Parks Library in Room 297.

2. Another project addressed by Stewart included a new statement built into the job application.

We knew it would be time for us to articulate message of diversity and inclusion for every new employee,” Stewart said. 

The statement, which has adopted language from the University of Arizona and the University of Cincinnati, recognizes the global and culturally diverse community of Iowa State and “diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving academic problems and building an inclusive academic community.”

3. Stewart also addressed a new campus climate portal under the Office of Equal Opportunity that will serve as a mechanism to better look at and report campus climate incidents.

The reality is that when you have this many people in a concentrated space there is going to be friction,” Stewart said. “We want people to know if there is friction there is an outlet to communicate.”  

4. In regard to the campus climate survey set to be released later this fall, Stewart touched on the process of developing the survey which was compiled by a committee of roughly 40 people over the past five months. 

Stewart referenced the 2004 campus climate survey and some of the tangible results that came from the survey including the Principles of Community. 

We want an accurate representation of campus climate,” Stewart said. 

5. The Community Advisory Group was another project Stewart touched on, which is a group that works to advise the Ames city manager on strategies to better “address the needs of our increasingly diverse community” and committing to a more inclusive campus. 

6. Stewart also touched on the Chief Diversity Officer Consortium which will happen in September and be hosted at Iowa State.

The consortium will feature representatives from other Big 12 universities but also those in the surrounding area. 

“[The consortium] provides all the folks an opportunity to get together and talk about what’s happening on your campus, what’s happening on our campus and discuss strategy and approach,” Stewart said.

7. The last project Stewart addressed was the Leadership Imperative, which will help the next Iowa State president – but also other university leaders – knowledgeable about issues facing campus. 

The imperative is a review of culture, what to do and what not to do when at Iowa State and also provides a balanced perspective of campus.