English Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism (IDEA)

Ad Hoc Committee

The English department strives to be an inclusive and welcoming learning environment for all NIU students including English majors and minors, first-year composition students and general education students from across the university. 

To continually improve and ensure this commitment, we have created a department committee to direct these efforts.  The committee is made up of two professorial faculty members, and one of each of the following constituencies: instructional faculty, staff, graduate student, major and minor. 

The committee meets once a month and welcomes your suggestions and interest. If you would like to volunteer, partner with us on a program or leave a suggestion for activities or topics, please complete our committee request/feedback form.

Committee Goals

In the 2020-2022 period, the committee will:

  • Advocate for diverse faculty and staff hiring across the university and for mentoring programs to support these hires
  • Begin implementing our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) support statement
  • Conduct a student survey for majors, minors, and graduate students on department climate
  • Create an improved, accessible syllabus template and inclusivity statement options for syllabi and website
  • Increase dialogue on inclusive pedagogies via Brown Bag Lecture Series and other optional events
  • Increase diverse course offerings and cross-list where possible with cultural centers on campus
  • Advance NIU’s Land Acknowledgment statement in collaboration with the History department and other units on campus
  • Collaborate with Student Government Association and other units on campus for a DuSable Hall rededication event to highlight the history DuSable Hall’s name, especially drawing attention to collaborations between eighteenth-century Black trader, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable and his wife Kitihawa, a member of the Potawatomi community, in the founding of what would become Chicago, and the history of student activists’ who have emphasized Northern Illinois’s diverse regional history and student demographics.

Anti-Racist and Inclusive Actions

Our First-Year Composition program prioritizes BIPOC students and anti-racist practices by:

  • Contemporary Voices, an anthology of the work of developmental writers (1985-present)
  • Unity in Diversity Essay Contest (1987–2016)
  • Common Reading Experience Essay Contest (2017-present), including Kahn-Cullors and Bandele’s When They Call You a Terrorist (2019–2021) required in all sections of ENGL 103
  • Fall Open Mic, covers identity, race, difference, diversity, discrimination (2002–present)
  • Anti-racist and diversity pedagogy training
  • FYComp Diversity and Inclusion ad hoc subcommittee (2019–present)
  • Equity Gap Initiatives (2017–present)

Prioritizing BIPOC Students

Our undergraduate and graduate programs prioritize BIPOC students and anti-racist practices by:

  • 2020-2021 English curriculum requires diversity course work and makes room for additional diverse and social justice-related course offerings.
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti-Racism ad hoc committee to advance and implement initiatives across the department.
  • Fall 2020 brown bag teaching series on anti-racist and diverse pedagogies.
  • Increase BIPOC recruitment efforts in both undergrad and grad programs;
  • Beyond NIU, continue representing race and ethnicity in the profession, Modern Language Association Delegate Assembly membership.
  • In collaboration with the History department, develop NIU land acknowledgment statement and increase awareness of Native Americans on campus and in the region.
  • Evaluate barriers to graduate admissions,
  • Expand diverse literature offerings in graduate curriculum.