CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will soon need to explain their contribution to the diversity, equity and inclusion on campus as a part of the process to apply for promotion and tenure.

The promotion and tenure standard at U of I has recently been modified in many ways. They have added a statement for diversity, equity and inclusion activity (DEI), among other opportunities for faculty members to have different types of their work recognized.

Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Bill Bernhard said the new DEI statement will allow the university to evaluate what faculty have been doing to help make the campus community a more diverse, open and welcoming place. 

It can be the way that faculty members organize their classes, do their community service or do their research.

Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Bill Bernhard.

“As an institution, we have a responsibility to teach students from all walks of life, to equip them with knowledge, skills and curiosity to succeed throughout their adulthood,” said Bernhard.

He added, “We are not requiring faculty members to do a specific activity. We are certainly not requiring them to change their scholarly focus or their research. We are giving them an opportunity to talk about their contribution to this fundamental mission of creating a diverse and welcoming university.”

According to Bernhard, the revision for the entire document of the promotion and tenure standard will go into effect for candidates moving forward next fall. He said the DEI statement will be optional for three years. After three years, starting fall of 2025, applicants for the promotion and tenure process will be required to submit a one-page summary to talk about their contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion at the university.

“We are very excited about these changes. We think that they are going to enhance our ability as an institution. It will help with the recruitment of faculty members who are interested in engaging and participating in this mission. And, I think, it will help us to fulfill our goals in equity, diversity and inclusion,” Bernhard smiled.