Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Engagement Heading link
Charu Thakral, PhD
Charu Thakral has been with the UIC Office of Diversity since its founding. She was hired in 2009 to work with campus leadership to drive a bottom-up Diversity Strategic Thinking and Planning process that engaged the entire campus (academic and non-academic units) and resulted in the creation of UIC’s first Diversity Strategic Plan and shaped the initial organizational model for the Office of Diversity. Thakral has served in a number of leadership positions at UIC, including twice as Interim Vice Provost & Associate Chancellor.
In her usual position as UIC’s Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Engagement, Thakral oversees campus-wide diversity education, including the development of evidence-based workshops and trainings for students, faculty, and staff. In 2009, she launched the UIC Dialogue Initiative for which she developed credit-bearing courses and workshops designed to analyze and understand social conflict, intergroup relations, and issues of diversity and social justice. Across the health science colleges, she worked closely for nearly a decade with faculty and leadership from VCHA to apply principles of intergroup relations theory and dialogue to the interprofessional education and collaborative practice program (IPE) for the health professions student forum that is now annually offered to over 1300 students at all six UIC campuses.
Thakral also co-led the oversight, development, and implementation of the Inclusive Education Scholars Certificate Program with CATE. This campus initiative, proposed as part of HLC’s accreditation requirements, supports instructors (both staff and faculty) in building capacity to implement inclusive and equity-minded teaching practices.
Thakral is currently serving as a principal investigator and co-principal investigator on several grant funded projects awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Science Foundation where she is guiding institutional change efforts and implementing professional development programs for faculty focused on inclusive teaching practices.