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Vision, Mission and Values

aerial campus

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is one of the nation’s most diverse public research universities. As a federally designated Minority Serving Institution, we strive to promote an organizational culture and structure, grounded on the principles of access, equity and inclusion. UIC welcomes students, staff and faculty from a variety of racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities to cultivate a diverse learning community where human differences are embraced and neither difference nor disadvantage stands in the way of intellectual and professional achievement. Furthermore, we believe that by drawing upon these diverse perspectives, we are able to expand frontiers of knowledge as a national leader of innovative scholarship.

The Office of Diversity guides UIC’s strategic efforts to advance access, equity, and inclusion as fundamental institutional values underpinning all aspects of university life. Our office manages UIC’s diversity resources and infrastructure which includes initiating educational programs to promote a supportive university climate, partnering with campus units to formulate systems of accountability, cultivating mutually beneficial partnerships with the community and alumni groups, and advising the Provost for Academic Affairs as well as the Chancellor on critical diversity issues.

  • Vision

    As the nation’s premier urban public research university, UIC will be known as an institution where neither difference nor disadvantage stands in the way of intellectual and professional ambition; where each individual member of its community realizes their full capacity for creativity, innovation and service; and where the promise of equal opportunity is a reality.

  • Mission

    UIC will take advantage of and build upon its diversity to create, share, and apply knowledge that prepares people for citizenship in a changing global society. The diversity of the members of our campus community will be apparent and, moreover, UIC will be known as an institution of higher education where diversity is a cornerstone of intellectual achievement. As a truly diverse institution, UIC will engage citizens from all the communities of Chicago and all the many other communities that comprise the state which we serve.

Values Heading link

Foundational to the UIC Strategic Plan are core values identified as “so essential to UIC that they inform every element of individual and institutional practice.” They include: Knowledge, Openness, Access, Excellence, Collaboration and Caring.

With these values as foundational to our institutional culture, we further state our commitment to diversity, which must extend beyond policies and statements, to ensure our campus climate is such that all our community members feel welcomed and valued. The values articulated below and in the diversity strategic thinking report, Through the Lens of Diversity, emerged from UIC’s diversity strategic planning initiative as essential to a truly diverse university. Our values must be infused in every aspect of the work of the university

Human Dignity

  • UIC has a responsibility to help all our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighboring communities achieve the excellence to which they aspire.
  • UIC has a responsibility to value the potential for excellence of each student, faculty, staff member, alumnus/a and external community we serve.

Affirmative Action

  • UIC has a responsibility to provide opportunities to those from groups that historically have been denied access to universities because of discrimination.
  • UIC has a responsibility to encourage and enable meaningful participation by all who come to UIC to study, teach, create knowledge, and/or work.

Social Action

  • UIC has a responsibility to provide education, health care, and leadership to our diverse internal and external communities.
  • UIC has a responsibility to learn from the diverse communities in which the campus is embedded.

Social Justice

  • UIC has a responsibility to help create an egalitarian society through education, knowledge-making, and employment practices.
  • UIC has a responsibility to continually monitor the demographics and expressed needs and aspirations of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and external communities so we can make educated and informed decisions about recruitment and services consistent with the campus’s commitment to broad and deep diversity.

Creating Knowledge

  • UIC has a responsibility to use every available ethical approach to creating knowledge.
  • UIC has a responsibility to create knowledge that serves our diverse off-campus communities.

Accountable Leadership

  • UIC has a responsibility to create mechanisms that increase access to decision-making and power to all groups that constitute the university.
  • UIC has a responsibility to assure that those in positions of decision-making and power actively advance positive institutional transformation.

Trust

  • UIC has a responsibility to promote and foster a climate of trust based on respect for individual identities, shared values, and our shared vision for the university.
  • UIC has a responsibility to create a safe climate that allows us to honestly and fearlessly discuss building and embracing a stronger, more diverse campus community.

Value Statements Heading link

Challenges and Priorities Heading link

We have focused on two key institutional challenges and priorities:

  1. Institutional culture change regarding the value of inclusive teaching.
    • Members of our leadership team have met with various stakeholders to impact and influence DEI policies and practices at departmental, college, and campus levels. Activities include:
      • Partnering with the Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, and Engagement(DEE), & the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs to support inclusion of DEI activities in our campus level promotion and tenure process by engaging in advocacy efforts across campus to support this new policy.
      • Strategic participation by HHMI Leadership Team members on multiple campus level committees (i.e., Center for Advancement of Teaching Excellence Launch Committee, Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning/CIRTL, Provost’s Diversity Advisory Committee, etc.) to support DEI priorities.
      • Partnering with the Vice Chancellor of DEE to convene faculty from across campus devoted to DEI grant efforts to learn about opportunities and barriers at UIC in pursuing and engaging in these efforts. We thus learned that faculty wanted us to sustain these gatherings and expressed support for a professional learning community for STEM faculty involved in DEI-focused grant work. This would allow them to share best practices and support one another given that they often felt isolated across and within departments that did not necessarily support or recognize, reward, or incentivize the work they were doing.
  2. Supporting STEM departments in ameliorating barriers to inclusiveness in classrooms.
    • HHMI Leadership Team members served as “campus catalysts” by activating curricular reform efforts through direct support and participation with multiple faculty teams across administrative units and colleges. Results include:
      • Development of multiple NSF-funded proposals focused on inclusive teaching, diversity, and equity in STEM.
      • Securing a commitment from the UIC Chancellor for matched funding for an HHMI Driving Change grant.