Karen Dace is excited for her role as vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion
Oct. 8, 2013
For Karen Dace, serving as IUPUI’s new vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion is all about open doors and opportunities -- for students, faculty and staff, and for the campus’s community partners, as well.
For the veteran diversity official, who started this fall as the head of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, those opportunities are the best path to maximize the contributions of everyone who is a part of IUPUI.
And Dace believes the first step is to develop a strategic plan for diversity that will include voices from across the IUPUI campus: students, staff, faculty, administration and community partners.
Dace came to IUPUI from a similar role at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which until this year shared conference membership with IUPUI in The Summit League athletic conference. The similarities between Indianapolis and Kansas City -- both in challenges and opportunities -- are part of the reason Dace sees a bright future for IU’s urban campus.
Dace is a big believer in the power of communication, based on her time as a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, master’s degree in mass communication) and the University of Iowa (Ph.D. in communication studies).
“Collaborating on a diversity strategic plan that lines up with the IUPUI Strategic plan is exciting,” Dace said. “It gives us the opportunity to ‘survey the land’ and create measurable initiatives that will make IUPUI a leader in the diversity arena.”
The new vice chancellor has been impressed with the early support she has received across the campus. But she pointed to something she considers equally vital: community support.
“Fortunately, IUPUI leadership recognizes the importance of the ‘community voice,’ the perspective, wisdom and knowledge,” Dace said.
She is excited about the possibilities the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has to make a difference in the campus, such as the Multicultural Success Center and the Adaptive Educational Services, just two examples of practical, day-to-day impact on students’ lives.
That’s a big reason that she looks at diversity as an ongoing group effort.
“First and foremost, this work belongs to all of us, the entire campus,” Dace said. “An enthusiastic, collaborative relationship with the various communities served is a key to our success.”
The prospects of progress have Dace energized about the future. “From my perspective, this is an exciting time to be a part of IUPUI,” Dace said. “I believe we can be a leader in this arena and look forward to working across the campus, the city and the state to work toward that goal.”