IIT Diversity Initiatives

On behalf of the Diversity Committee, I want to thank everyone who participated in the forums that the committee sponsored during the course of the last academic year. The point of the forums was to help surface issues that could be barriers to a comfortable working and learning environment at IIT.

I would like to give you a summary of the results from those sessions and some preliminary ideas from the committee of actions to be taken. Forums were conducted for three populations: faculty, students, and staff. Each forum was led by an independent, professional facilitator and a co-facilitator from the population represented. The results from all of the forums identified three areas that the committee will be looking to address. These include:

1. Facilitating greater understanding and interaction between (a) international students/faculty, and (b) domestic students/faculty/staff;
2. Addressing gender issues and stereotypes; and
3. Building a more respectful environment.

Each of these areas was raised in some form from each of the three populations. The committee plans to coordinate programming around these three areas university-wide as well as within individual colleges, departments, and administrative units. As examples, programming might include small group discussions over lunch, facilitated conversations at department meetings, outside speakers, educational and cultural programs, and/or interactive theater. The committee is spending this semester working on a plan to institute such programming, with the goal of starting to roll out this programming next semester.

One thing that we know will occur in the near future is that “Diversity@IIT” programming and events will be featured in IIT Today. Please keep an eye out for this, and we strongly encourage everyone’s participation in these activities.

We look forward to the participation of the entire university community as we move toward our goal of creating a more open and inclusive climate that is welcoming to new members as well as a comfortable place for all to work and study.

Anthony D. D’Amato
Chair, Diversity Committee