Strategic Guiding Principles

Inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (2015-2018)

The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force convened in May 2014 at the request of the president and the provost. The task force consisted of 16 faculty and staff and was chaired by associate vice-president/director of Athletics Sean Frazier and Professor Laura Vazquez of the Department of Communication. The group was charged with exploring issues that pertain to diversity and inclusion at NIU with the ultimate goal of doing the groundwork for the hiring of NIU's first chief diversity officer.

The task force completed their work and produced a thorough Diversity and Inclusion Task Force report (PDF) released in fall 2014. This report consisted of 13 recommendations, which are the foundation of Edghill-Walden's plan for improving the university commitment to diversity and inclusion. The key initiatives informing the plan to improve NIU center around access, academic equity, inclusion and professional development and training. We continue to engage faculty in curricular transformations to enhance student learning and to improve academic equity at NIU.

Academic Equity

Taskforce recommendation: Add mandatory human diversity requirement to general education curriculum in Progressive Learning in Undergraduate Studies (PLUS) curriculum.

Initiated spring 2016. The human diversity requirement was implemented fall 2017. View a complete list of all courses that meet the human diversity requirement.


  • Develop and define criteria for eligible human diversity courses for new requirement beyond general education courses.
  • Vet courses and experiences in all colleges with deans and faculty.
  • Develop policy and procedure language for catalog for new and transfer students.
  • Seek approval through appropriate university councils.
  • Develop implementation and communication. 

Taskforce recommendation: Create college/department specific diversity strategic plans including accountability and assessment.

Initiated summer 2016 and completed spring 2017.


  • Develop strategic plan template.
  • Form college level equity teams to analyze data and make recommendations for recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color.
  • Designate one person responsible for leading equity team and monitoring metrics.
  • Facilitate college-level focus groups for students of color who are successful and those who may need additional support.
  • Include feedback from focus groups with students of color in strategic plans.

Taskforce recommendation: Create a Diversity and Inclusion Council to enhance lateral diversity relationships, implement organizational diversity socialization and create culturally responsive pedagogy and practice.

Initiated spring 2016 and is on-going.


  • Creating programming to shift mindset from deficit minded to equity-minded.
  • Eliminate Multicultural Curriculum Transformation Institute.
  • Create a reflection space for interfaith communities.
  • Consolidate Academic Diversity Programs Advisory Committee (ADPAC) and Committee on Multicultural Curriculum Transformation (CMCT) into restructured committee to serve as the working group for culturally responsive pedagogy, practice, curriculum transformation as well as closing the student equity achievement gaps.
  • Utilize existing committees and commissions to implement organizational diversity and to create culturally responsive pedagogy through:
    • Presidential commissions.
    • Affirmation Action, Equity and Compliance Committee.
    • Restructure CMCT to the Committee for Academic Equity and Inclusive Excellence (CAEIE).
  • CAEIE will be responsible for:
    • Directing the execution of an equity action plan.
    • Ensuring equity action plan goals are being monitored and met.
    • Overseeing the implementation of the human diversity degree requirement.
    • Promoting faculty/student research opportunities on topics that impact diverse communities and transform curricula.
    • Providing incentives for faculty/student research opportunities.

Chief diversity officer recommendation: Address academic equity gaps for students of color.

Initiated spring 2016 and on-going.


  • Utilize American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACandU) Equity Academy plan as a blueprint to address academic equity gap Equity Academy.
  • Review academic equity gaps among underserved NIU students by college and strategic plans for all undergraduate colleges.


  • Scale and support effective programs as well as sustainable and measurable intervention strategies to address academic equity gaps.


Taskforce recommendation: Continue curricular transformations to enhance students' cultural competency.

Initiated spring and fall 2016 and is ongoing in partnership with the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications.


  • Reevaluate all diverse resource centers’ role in recruitment efforts.
  • Reevaluate impact of diversity centers’ and student organization’s outreach efforts on NIU enrollment yield and align with overarching enrollment management strategy.

Initiated fall 2016 and was completed fall 2017.


Taskforce recommendation: Implement strategic campus-wide facilitated diversity dialogues.

Initiated spring 2016 and is on-going.


  • Establish diversity dialogue committee.
  • Partner with colleges and university partners to coordinate diversity dialogues.
  • Expand the dialogues to include DeKalb and Sycamore community residents.

Taskforce recommendation: Enhance NIU’s brand identity regarding diversity to show we embrace our diversity and accessibility proudly.

Initiated spring 2016 and ongoing.


  • Effective fall 2015, marketing/communication liaison assigned to the Office of Academic Diversity to ensure marketing and communications goals align with strategic diversity initiatives and goals.
  • Increase and improve exposure of diversity resources via articles, social media and NIU web presence.
  • Feature stories of successful students and alumni of color.
  • Update presidential commission and all cultural resource center webpages.

Taskforce recommendation: Conduct a campus climate survey addressing diversity needs and follow up with assessments to help keep us on track.

Initiated spring 2016 and ongoing.


  • Administer the spring 2016 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Climate Survey.
  • Surveys would be administered alternating years.
  • Convene a group of representatives from presidential commissions and faculty to develop a campus climate survey instrument for implementation.
  • Establish timeline for campus climate surveys.
    • Campus experience will be distributed 2018.
    • Campus climate to be distributed 2019.

Taskforce recommendation: Make appropriate necessary changes in hiring practices that will diversify NIU’s faculty and staff.

Initiated in fall 2016 and is on-going.


  • Develop a diverse faculty and staff recruitment and retention plan based on the data, policies and budget capacity.
    • Now part of Minority Postdoc (a premier web portal on the minority postdoctoral experience features news, resources and events about jobs, professional development, funding, fellowships and diversity issues).
    • Created implicit bias training program.


Taskforce recommendation: Expand and support diversity programming for students to eliminate silos and improve coordination with student groups.

Initiated fall 2016 and is on-going.


  • Raise awareness of first amendment, free speech and lawful assembly rights.


  • Improve resources for undocumented students.
  • Create bias incident response teams.

Next Steps

  • Add looping devices to classrooms and public auditoriums.
  • Improve program funding for diverse student groups who provide diverse students with programming that supports retention and engagement.
  • Support and collaborate on the Internationalization project to ensure NIU is more welcoming and inclusive for international students.
  • Develop and implement an NIU restorative justice program.

Professional Development and Training

Taskforce recommendation: Educate faculty, staff and students on cultural competency to strengthen hiring practices for faculty and staff diversification and to improve diversity dialogues on campus.

Initiated summer 2016 and is on-going.


  • Create faculty toolkit resource for faculty and staff.
  • Develop online training materials and modules to build awareness of difference and improve cultural competency of faculty and staff.
  • Develop annual diversity training for student leaders (Greek and non-Greek).
  • Develop an expanded Ally (including military community) training for all NIU employees.
  • Develop workshops on building trust between students of color and NIU/City of DeKalb police.

In Progress

  • Develop faculty associates program within the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Develop customized equity and inclusion training for faculty, staff and students.
    • Trainings should be specific to certain staffing groups on campus.
    • Training should be in addition to the ongoing diversity dialogs and the curriculum transformation.


  • Incorporate diversity training in new student (freshman and transfer) orientations.
  • Review and enhance diversity training for Community Advisors (CAs) and students living in all residence halls.
  • Review and enhance diversity training for hall directors.
  • Review and enhance housing curriculum on diversity in the residence halls.


  • Collaborate with Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) and Operating Staff Council (OSC) to develop on-going diversity training for staff.
  • Partner with faculty development center to offer ongoing sustainable workshops on how to have culturally competent discussion in the classroom or office.

Contact Us

Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Health Services 408
DeKalb, IL 60115


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