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Drake University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
2507 University Ave
Des Moines, Iowa 50311
(515) 271-2011
Email address
School Information
Drake University is a private university in Des Moines, Iowa. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs, including professional programs in business, law, and pharmacy. Drake's law school is among the 25 oldest in the United States.
General Information
In 2015, Drake University commissioned a “campus climate assessment” to determine the status of diversity and inclusion on campus. Spurred by the report’s findings, Drake created the position of Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion and an Office of Equity and Inclusion. The university has undertaken a systematic effort to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism principles. Drake requires all first-year students to complete an equity and inclusion training session; the university is developing a “What is Oppression” training session for faculty. Drake is seeking to increase non-white enrollment and hiring. It recently tripled the size of a race-based scholarship program to help reach this target. The university publishes a variety of anti-racist toolkit resources and encourages professors and students to recognize discrimination and oppression; it is in the process of developing a grievance reporting outlet for violations. Law School faculty unanimously passed a resolution lauding recent efforts to incorporate DEI into mainstream curriculum, require DEI training for students and faculty, and create a new course centered around race and the law. The faculty asked the Dean to provide more financial support for anti-racist events. The law library offers extensive anti-racist books, videos, articles, and explainers. Drake’s School of Education also commits to anti-racism, with its dean promising to use his “white privilege” to promote equity. The School of Education looks to foster teachers who advance DEI in K-12 education. To do this, they hired two new professors explicitly dedicated to anti-racism and required first-year training for students. See below for developments:

Actions Taken

Admissions Policies
  • Drake tripled the size of its "scholarship and mentorship program for students of color." The "Crew Scholars" program is open to first-year non-white students.
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • Drake provides "Self-Guided DEI Learning" through the office of Equity and Inclusion. These "educational tools" include "Understanding Race," "Understanding Allyship," and "Understanding Implicit Bias."
  • Drake University partnered with High Impact to deliver a diversity workshop to first-year students titled “You. Me. We.” in hopes of “[exposing] the often-unintentional ugliness of prejudice, setting the stage for a lively discussion of diversity.” However, this course had quite the opposite effects than intended. According to Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion, Jennifer Harvey, the skits performed throughout the course were far too “aggressive and a huge problem.” Harvey explained that the purpose of this course was to create a “sense of belonging for students of color – whose well-being matters deeply to [her] and other members of the team who planned Welcome Week…”
  • On December 6, 2022, Drake hosted S.T.A.R.T. for Students Who Identify as White. The "educational and activist dialogue" trained white students to grow their anti-racism skills and be in solidarity with communities of color.
  • From March 3-5, 2021, Drake partnered with the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to host a virtual conference on equity and inclusion in higher education.
  • The entire class of 2026 participated in an antiracism dialogue called "BLUEprint for Belonging: Community Conversations" their freshman year. In five different sessions, students talked with one another about their "personal relationship to Drake’s DEIJ mission, the places they have the most to learn, the benefits to growing a campus climate of true belonging," and made personal commitments to continue to grow.
  • As part of Black History Month celebration, Drake hosted a talk on February 1, 2023 titled "Power to the People: Uncover the Black Panther Party's Impact on Des Moines" with guest speaker Ako Abdul-Samad, who was involved in the Black Panther Party movement.
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • Drake hosted an event titled "Let's Talk About It: Critical Race Theory and the Drake Community." It writes, "This inclusive discussion will cover ways we can better understand different reactions to CRT, sort through our own perspectives about it, and get prepared to support students and their families in understanding what CRT does (and doesn’t?) have to do with a Drake education."
  • Professors in the College of Arts and Sciences are asked to include an "Equity and Inclusion Statement" which involves "Discussing the use of sensitive language in the classroom," and "Discussing the possibility of difficult or sensitive course texts." It also seeks to alleviate "biases inherent in the material included in the syllabus."
  • In the School of Education, all first-year education students take an introductory course. "Changes to the curriculum included a focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to emphasize how fundamental and critically important these issues are to being an effective teacher."
  • "Drake is requiring all first year students to complete an online educational program on Equity and Inclusion. Additionally, online trainings for faculty and staff on “What Is Oppression” are in progress of being completed." The training lasts 45 minutes to one hour. Students who do not complete this training are put on academic hold.
  • All students are required to take a course that achieves stated Equity and Inclusion learning outcomes: either by taking an existing AOI course that meets these outcomes, or through a course in their major, minor, or concentration that meets them. Students are expected to analyze the "effects of race, gender, class, LGBTQ+ status, and other identity categories, and the ways in which these categories are perceived and judged, on U.S. socioeconomic and political systems, such as government, law, health care, public education, administration of natural resources, and business." Students are also expected to "reflect critically on their own positions within local, institutional, and national contexts, including the ways in which these positions may be privileged, maligned, or excluded within these systems."
  • Drake has an equity and inclusion requirement all students must fulfill. There is a list of 31 approved courses that fulfill this requirement.
Disciplinary Measures
  • Drake is developing a "comprehensive dispute resolution and grievance policy."
Faculty/Staff Requirements
  • Drake commits to "Teaching all faculty, staff, and students to recognize discrimination and oppression, as well as giving each individual tools to address and prevent it."
  • "The Office of Campus Equity and Inclusion is changing the face of the faculty and staff at Drake University."
Program and Research Funding
  • Drake's C.O.R.E. (Community of Racial Equity) for Advancement is a year-long college pathway program for high-achieving high school students from Des Moines area high schools. CORE "challenges inequities in education, provides a community for BIPoC students and allies to discuss issues within their schools and cities, and creates action steps to make long-lasting change." Students come to Drake's campus monthly for various workshops and if they participate for two or more years and maintain a high school GPA of 3.0, they will automatically receive a minimum of $21,000 through the Presidential Scholarship if they choose to apply to Drake.
  • The School of Education recently made two DEI hires. It writes, "Two new faculty hires are committed to anti-racist practices and pedagogy. One of the new faculty member's research centers on working with historically language-minoritized students to provide them with equitable and inclusive learning environments and preparing teachers with culturally and linguistically sustaining orientations. The second faculty member's scholarship focuses on a range of areas, including critical citizenship."
  • The School of Education has a Diversity Statement, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources. One of the recommended books is "Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America."
  • The School of Education launched an "Equity Audit" within the counseling program to "ensure our curriculum reflects racially and culturally diverse authors and perspectives." Drake also started an "equity audit" in its "curriculum library." This audit seeks to "determine growth areas and how to best serve our students and the K-12 students..."
  • Drake publishes a "Social Justice Toolkit" and "Anti Racist Toolkit." These toolkits teach about "how white supremacy impacts the issues you work on." It recommends reading "The New Jim Crow," and "so many other great books and articles that illuminate oppression and structures of white supremacy and white privilege."
  • Drake has a monthly DEIJ Newsletter.
  • Drake has various faculty/staff affinity groups.
  • Drake has an Identity-Based Labor Task Force, which consists of a group of faculty with representatives from every college that convenes under the leadership of the Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion.
  • Drake's Equity Actions Partners are a resource for people who need to talk about their "equity concerns and experiences in an informal, non-judgmental setting"—analogous to the “safe zone” members available to LGBTQ people. Equity Action Partners also assist or facilitate equity and inclusion training on campus.
  • The Cowles Library has a community engaged learning tool kit focused on equity & inclusion.
  • UNITY Roundtable is a group of multicultural student organizations at Drake University working towards inclusion & educational opportunities amongst multicultural student organizations and the Drake community through dialogue and programming.
  • Drake has Cultural and Identity Based Resources for the community, including for Asian/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Latinx, Formerly Incarcerated, LGBTQIA, and Native/Indigenous people.
Symbolic Actions
  • Drake's "commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion acknowledges the role of Drake University can play in redressing historic injustices that result in continued marginalization of members of specific groups, and seeks to understand and response to contemporary calls for inclusivity as necessitated by social justice."
  • Jennifer Harvey, Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion gave a speech in which she called for a way to "figure out how to raise a different generation of white children." She also said, "We don't even have the language we need yet."
  • Dr. Ryan Wise, Dean of the School of Education, wrote, "As a white man in a leadership role at a predominantly white institution that trains future teachers, counselors and administrators, I am obligated to listen, lead and use my privilege for the benefit of others."
  • Drake recommends five equity-minded practices for teaching online: 1) be intrusive, 2) be relational, 3) be culturally relevant and affirming, 4) be community focused, 5) be justice conscious.
  • After four racist notes were found on Drake's campus in February 2023, the university president released a statement condemning the action and saying the community "will continue to grow antiracism and be antiracist on [its] campus and in [its] communities." The notes include messages such as "screw Black History Month" and "screw Black lives matter."
  • In the fall of 2018, students, faculty, and staff broke a campus street painting tradition by painting the street black, as a symbol of solidarity with students of color on Drake’s campus. The goal of the #PaintItBlack movement was to reinforce equity and inclusion initiatives. There is a plaque that commemorates this event.
  • In June 2023, Drake University announced that it was seeking an Area Coordinator-Diversity Equity & Inclusion Specialist (AC) to create and implement DEI education initiatives for approximately 1757 students living on campus in the residence halls.
Last updated September 16th, 2023
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