BVU Accepted to Prestigious Diversity, Civility, and Liberal Arts Institute

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has named Buena Vista University to its 2019 Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts Institute which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in June. About 25 independent colleges and universities from across the country were selected to attend. 

The Institute, which is held annually, was designed to assist faculty members and academic and student affairs administrators in addressing issues of conflict, activism, and inclusion on America’s college campuses. During the four-day Institute, teams of faculty members and administrators from CIC member institutions will come together with peers from other colleges and universities and a group of distinguished scholars to: 

• Explore significant trends. 

• Engage both classic and cutting-edge scholarship. 

• Develop realistic plans to enable their institutions to strengthen diversity and civility on campus. 

BVU representatives attending the institute are: Dr. Brian Lenzmeier, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Ms. Ebony King, director of multicultural engagement; Dr. Bethany Larson, professor of theatre; and Dr. Gwen Hart, associate professor of English. “BVU is honored to have been selected to participate in this Institute,” says Lenzmeier. “The four of us look forward to contributing to the greater national dialogue on issues related to diversity and civil discourse, and bringing back tools which will help our students learn how to engage effectively and respectfully with others on controversial and emotionally-charged issues affecting our campus, northwest Iowa, and the nation.” 

The Institute offers an approach which deepens students’ cognitive understanding of issues by engaging with scholars and their work in the humanities and social sciences. At the conclusion of the Institute, a final report will be prepared for BVU which describes the impact of the Institute and the outcomes of the action plan to promote diversity and civility on campus. According to its website, the Institute draws on the most precious resources that independent colleges and universities have to understand human behavior: teaching, learning, and research in the liberal arts. 

King said, “We are excited to continue providing conversations and programming on campus pertaining to diversity and inclusion. This institute will allow us to further examine strategic efforts to invite the campus community in cultural competency, civility, inclusiveness, and identity development. We are always working to provide an increased number of resources such as the many events we’ve planned in celebration of Black History Month in February.”

Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College directs the Institute, and it is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. There is no cost to attend, and the CIC provides each institution with lodging, books and materials, and a stipend of up to $1,000 for travel costs.