Letter to our Colorado Communities: A Statement from the Colorado Department of Higher Education and Colleges and Universities on DACA
Over the years, the University of Denver community has come together with a collective vision. We wanted to redouble our commitment to inclusivity, to strengthen DU as a place where students, from all backgrounds, can receive a world-class education and find a deep sense of belonging.
We have laid the groundwork for meaningful progress. The role of director for inclusive teaching practices in the Office of Teaching and Learning, held by Dr. Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave, was born from earlier conversations. Now, we’re delighted to announce that we have formally adopted an inclusive teaching practices initiative, the Faculty Institute for Inclusive Teaching (FIIT), developed as the result of collaboration between the Faculty Senate, the chancellor, the provost, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI).
FIIT is an asynchronous, interactive, self-paced, online program on inclusive teaching. It is designed to meet DU’s faculty where they are – either building on years of inclusive teaching practices or just beginning to incorporate inclusive teaching into their curricula.
The rollout of the Institute, created by DU’s own experts, Drs. Itrube-LaGrave and Myntha Anythm, will begin on Aug 18. FIIT consists of eight brief content modules, all of which are mandatory for all faculty to establish a baseline and build a shared language. We look forward to ongoing revisions and supplements to these materials based on feedback in consultation with the Faculty Senate, ODEI, the Office of Teaching and Learning and other key stakeholders.
FIIT marks an important moment of shared governance, inclusive approaches to curricula, and inclusive spaces for learning. Initiated jointly by the chancellor, provost, and Faculty Senate, FIIT will include tailored, DU-specific course material followed by optional follow-up opportunities for in-person engagement later in the year.
Let’s not diminish the importance of this moment: Each of us owns this accomplishment. With shared resolve from academic and administrative leadership, we’re positioning DU at the leading edge of pedagogical inclusion in higher education. By making and keeping this commitment, we are promoting equitable, transformational, and lasting educational experiences — indeed, a better life — for every student who joins this community. At the same time, faculty will gain a powerful skill set that’s unique in higher education.
We’re proud to take these steps together, in unity. As we stand together, we also acknowledge there is much more yet to be done. Over the coming months, DU will continue to deepen its commitment to inclusive leadership in higher education through mandatory online trainings for faculty and staff including the EverFi modules Preventing Harassment & Discrimination and Managing Bias and a module designed for students, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
On August 14, the chancellor and the interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion will release a draft Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan for comment. Led by ODEI, DU will be hosting a community-wide town hall on August 18 and soliciting community input on the draft in order to share a final plan in September.
In closing, we want to highlight the debt of gratitude we owe to Dr. Iturbe-LaGrave, who shepherds and energizes this critical work. Her leadership of DU’s new inclusive pedagogy hub is just one example of the passion and dedication she brings to the entire community. We cannot thank her enough.
Nor can we thank you enough for rising as a community for diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of our larger goal for a better society.
We are excited about the changes that we can all make together.
Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor
Mary Clark, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Sarah Pessin, Faculty Senate President