Drake University expands DEIJ programs as public universities shrink theirs • Iowa Capital Dispatch

In an era when many public universities are scaling back their diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) initiatives, Drake University is taking strides in the opposite direction. This private institution in Des Moines, Iowa, has recently announced a significant expansion of its DEIJ programs, reinforcing its commitment to fostering a more inclusive and supportive campus environment.

Amid a national landscape where budget constraints and political controversies have led public universities to reduce or eliminate DEIJ efforts, Drake’s decision stands out as a progressive move. The university’s leadership has emphasized that the expansion aligns with their mission to prepare students for success in a diverse world and to cultivate a campus culture where all individuals feel valued and respected.

Drake University’s new initiatives include increased funding for scholarship programs aimed at underrepresented students, enhanced training programs for faculty and staff on issues related to diversity and inclusion, and the creation of new administrative positions tasked with overseeing DEIJ efforts. Additionally, the university plans to host more events and workshops focused on social justice topics, aiming to engage the entire campus community in meaningful dialogue.

The move has garnered praise from students, faculty, and alumni who believe that a robust DEIJ program is essential for creating an equitable educational environment. It also sets an example for other institutions grappling with whether to prioritize or deprioritize such programs amid ongoing socio-political debates about their value and impact.

By expanding its DEIJ programs, Drake University not only aims to support its current student body but also hopes to attract prospective students who prioritize inclusivity as a key factor in their college selection process. This proactive approach signals Drake’s recognition that diversity enriches the learning experience and prepares students for diverse workplaces.

As public universities continue to navigate complex challenges regarding their DEIJ commitments, Drake University’s unwavering dedication serves as a testament to the institution’s forward-thinking vision and moral responsibility to foster equality and justice within higher education.