New year, new semester: embracing our values
Dear faculty, staff, and students,
Our university is built on the foundation of a learning environment that celebrates the open exchange of ideas. The richness of our academic experience stems from the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds that converge within our community. It is this diversity that allows us to thrive as a learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff encounter and engage respectfully with others who may have different views. We write today to share our plans to strengthen our community.
Deepening our campus understanding of freedom of expression and academic freedom
Working collaboratively with Faculty Affairs, Student Affairs, Strategic Marketing and Communications, and a campus committee comprising faculty, staff, and student stakeholders, we will evaluate our policies and procedures regarding freedom of expression. In addition, sessions on freedom of expression and academic freedom are being planned for the UIC community. We are also working on creating opportunities for training in civil discourse and for conversations/dialogues across differences.
Review of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs
The interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement will spearhead an assessment of the current diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, with particular attention to antisemitism and Islamophobia. The aim is to identify areas where our initiatives fall short in supporting all members of the UIC community, ensuring that UIC remains inclusive and welcoming to all.
Campus climate assessment
In fall 2024, we will initiate a campuswide climate survey using a standardized University of Illinois System survey format, with additional UIC-specific questions. The Faculty Equity Committee is actively considering these questions and will be asked to include specific questions to assess how campus members are experiencing our community based on their national origin, race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. We anticipate that insights from survey responses will guide evidence-based changes at UIC.
The UIC Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence provides resources to promote inclusive teaching and foster a sense of belonging for students in the classroom. These include scheduled webinars and teaching guides for inclusive and equity-minded teaching. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement has compiled prevention and response resources available to our community to address Islamophobia and antisemitism.
Our values are what make UIC a vibrant and inclusive community. We are at our best when we foster an environment where all voices are heard, respected, and celebrated. We encourage everyone to consider the impacts and consequences, intended or otherwise, that speech can have as we each decide how best to responsibly and compassionately use our rights. We can and must continue to learn from and with each other.
Marie Lynn Miranda
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs