Black Americans have a long history of being a target of oppression, hate crimes, and violent acts because of their race. The recent deaths of Ahmaud ArberySean ReedBreonna TaylorNina PopTony McDade, and George Floyd highlight the continued violence on Black Americans, and racism towards Black people. We know as a predominately white office at a Predominately White Institution (PWI), it is not enough to be 'not racist' - we must actively and boldly be anti-racist. We have not done enough in this area and are committed to doing better. Black students, staff, and faculty are impacted daily by the racist inequities of higher education, and as a staff committed to excellence and student success, we must work for and with our community to seek justice and equity.

The intent of this post is not performative allyship, but an expression of our values and commitment to our community(ies) to work toward anti-racism and liberation for Black people. Our goal is to align our actions with our values and be held accountable for our work by our community(ies).

Our staff is committed to:

  • Working for and with Black faculty, staff, and students on institutional issues related to belonging, inclusion, and equity in order to improve their overall experiences at the University of Iowa.
  • Engaging in continuous learning and professional development, including, but not limited to, each member: reading books and other literature related to anti-racism; engaging in workshops within our campus community and actively working toward systemic change as a result; and seeking out, listening to, and acting when Black stories are shared.
  • Calling attention to, challenging, and changing inequities within higher education, with intentional focus on strengthening campus-wide efforts surrounding student outreach and support, promoting inclusive strategies for gateway courses, and closing opportunity gaps in persistence and degree attainment.

In Solidarity,

The Academic Support & Retention Staff

  • Dr. Mirra Anson, Director
  • Danielle Martinez, Associate Director
  • Stephanie Preschel, Associate Director
  • Angie Lamb, Assistant Director
  • Stephanie Huntington, Assistant Director
  • Dusty Persinger, Coordinator
  • Amalia Riordan, GEAR UP Coordinator
  • Samantha Flores, Academic Specialist
  • Kristi Norris, Excelling@Iowa Coordinator
  • Lisa Von Muenster, Administrative Services Coordinator
  • Graduate & Student Staff