The University of Iowa

Dean's Message: Diversity, equity, and inclusion

November 1st, 2020
fall scene of Old Capitol

Dear All,

Over the last few months we’ve welcomed new international students to our campus.  These students, along with those who remain in their home countries, are doing well as we reach the midpoint of the semester. We continue to offer many engagement opportunities for students through our Life in Iowa program, whether through information sessions focused on job and internship search strategies or simply “hang-outs” where students can learn a new language or get to know each other better.  

A vibrant international student and scholar community is essential to our success as an inclusive, forward-looking campus.  In addition to China and India, where we have recruited large numbers of students in the past, we have decided to focus on additional areas of the world such as the Middle East (United Arab Emirates), Africa (Ghana, Tanzania), Malaysia, and Brazil.  By sharing UI international student experiences with new communities around the world, we hope others will choose Iowa, further enriching our community.

IP remains fully committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Last month we partnered with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences on a WorldCanvass forum entitled “Pursuing Racial Justice”.  And DEI is our theme during International Education Week, where we look forward to the plenary talk by Andrew Gordon, CEO of Diversity Abroad, on Tuesday, November 17.

I am excited to host Chat from the Old Cap on Wednesday, November 18, with our recent alum and Fulbright awardee Rita Guzmán.  Rita will be sharing how her experience at Iowa and teaching English in Portugal led her to a career in study abroad.

While the Board of Regents has determined that there will be no study abroad or university-sponsored travel outside the U.S. through the end of the spring semester, we continue to be encouraged by student interest in virtual global education opportunities.  We have students taking part in virtual internships this fall and many who will take part in our virtual faculty-led programs this winter. 

Our students are seeing the positive in all this, as evidenced by Eve S. Nicholson who wrote the following in her application to one of our virtual faculty-led programs: “I believed opportunities such as taking a semester abroad were options I’d missed. However, it seems coronavirus may have given me a silver lining. With COVID came the ubiquity of online learning, and an opportunity to take a study abroad course within the confines of my home. It makes me feel like Father Time took the hands of his giant, ever-powerful clock and pushed them back just enough for me to steal a moment I had lost forever.”

Finally, we express solidarity with all our friends as we move into fall and winter during this era of COVID. We urge everyone to get a flu shot and to stay healthy. We will get to the other side of this.

With warmest regards,

Russ Ganim signature


Russell Ganim
Associate Provost and Dean, International Programs