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Second diversity officer candidate emphasizes cohesiveness

BY MITCHELL SCHMIDT | APRIL 15, 2010 7:30 AM

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Striving to increase diversity is nothing new to Eveadean Myers, the second candidate for the University of Iowa’s chief diversity officer position.

Myers, who is the vice president for equity, diversity, and global outreach at North Dakota State University, said on Wednesday one of the biggest factors necessary for successful diversity is change.

“Just because we’ve always done it this way doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it this way,” she said during a public forum Wednesday morning in the IMU.

Myers has been with North Dakota State since 2007 and helped spur several diversity initiatives. She assisted with changes to university policies, including expanding recognition of veterans and moving to condemn gender-identity discrimination.

Kara Gravley-Stack, the director of the Equity and Diversity Center at North Dakota State, said the university’s gender-identity policy was the first of its kind among North Dakota colleges.

She noted Myers played a crucial role in the change.

“That really underscores how foward-thinking she is,” Gravley-Stack said. Diversity is “not just a profession for her; it’s a lifetime commitment,” Gravley-Stack said.

Myers, a native of Sioux City, received degrees from both Iowa State University and the UI College of Law.

The UI’s chief diversity officer has wide-ranging responsibilities, including monitoring equity efforts among students, staff, and faculty members. The chief diversity officer also oversees offices that implement programming for underrepresented populations and mediate discrimination and harassment complaints.

Myers — who also spent 10 years as the associate director of affirmative action and equal opportunity and diversity at ISU — said being open-minded and flexible is required for pursuing diversity.

“You have to think outside the box,” she said, noting that creativity is only effective when all parties work together with a common goal.

Lois Christianson, a colleague at North Dakota State, said Myers urges faculty, staff, and students to step outside their comfort zones in order to advance diversity.

While diversity was less prevalent in Fargo, N.D., upon her arrival in 2007, Myers said, the situation has changed greatly in her three years on the campus. The school is now much more welcoming to all students, she said.

Myers commended the UI’s commitment to diversity, specifically pointing to the Iowa Promise — the UI’s strategic plan.

She noted the UI has many great programs but suggested increasing accessibility of the UI’s online diversity resources by placing them all on the same online site.

“You guys are doing lots of wonderful things,” Myers said to the crowd of UI staff, faculty, and students. “Make one page and bring it all together.”


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