BY JESS LYNK
Senior Jackie Heymann spent her 2016 J-Term analyzing the results of a campus-wide survey meant to assess how students felt about the environment at Drake. This survey, the Campus Climate Survey, was meant to change how the Drake campus as a whole views its surroundings.
During her analysis, Heymann noticed that Drake was missing something that several other peer institutions had: a diversity statement. Heymann wrote up a rough draft of what would become the beginning of Drake’s diversity statement.
Six months later, on June 15, President Marty Martin emailed the school announcing that the statement had been finalized.
“I’m excited that students, faculty and staff, and visitors to campus, have something to hold the university accountable to,” Heymann said. “There is a statement that Drake is saying, ‘This is what we stand for, this what we commit to.’”
Heymann is part of the Strategic Diversity Action Team (SDAT), which is made up of students, faculty and staff from all across campus. The SDAT helped finalize the new statement.
SDAT held “World Cafes” where students, faculty and staff could collaborate and help construct a new statement from the draft Heymann created.
UNITY Roundtable, a group of multicultural organizations on campus, took a look at the statement, too. Finally, the statement was available online for several weeks for anyone to comment, if they were not able to make it to the various events that SDAT hosted.
After that, Melissa Sturm- Smith, associate provost for academic excellence and student success, Renee Cramer, associate professor of law, politics, and society, and Michael Couvillon, associate professor of education, sat down with the comments and changes to see which ones were most frequent. From there, they constructed the statement Martin released.
Heymann stressed the importance for Drake to adopt this statement; so students could understand that this is what the university is committed to providing for them.
“We have the mission statement, but it is more focusing on how we become global citizens, rather than how we are really focusing on how all the students, staff and faculty at our university are having the very best experience possible, feeling welcomed in the university setting and feeling like they are included in the community,” Heymann said.
“The statement gives people something tangible to hold on to.” The statement will never be finalized, according to Heymann but should always be a work in progress.
“It’s a jumping off ground for all the work in the future,” she said. “It is a working statement, so there will be changes as anyone sees fit, as the university sees fit, as students see fit.”