Dr. James Yizar
The Genesis of the Diversity Resource Center
In the spring semester of 2004, the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Douglass Covey introduced the concept of a resource center dedicated to serving the needs of students of color enrolled at the university and making an impact on their educational journey towards an undergraduate degree. The resource center concept was to give students of color a safe and comfortable location on campus to express, complain, relax, and eventually excel.
After various revisions and complicated discussion sessions, the Diversity Resource Center (DRC) was established and opened in the fall semester of 2004. Under the leadership of Dean Covey, the Associate Dean of Students, Dr. James “Byrd” Yizar was given the charge to develop and implement a center with a mission to connect students of color to ISU and provide a bridge between their cultural norms and perspectives and university values, expectations, behaviors and procedures. The guiding mission of the DRC was to improve the retention of students of color and provide a safe and welcoming environment through mentorship, communication, advising, advocacy, and diversity educational programming. Within the first year of operation, the DRC expanded to include international students and address globalization topics related to retaining students as they move through their academic journey.
The original location of the DRC was in the basement of the POND Student Union building where club presidents’ met monthly and collaboration sessions for diversity projects during the year were held. Toward the end of the spring 2005, the DRC was re-located to the top floor of the student union building above the Early Learning Center. The new location provided a conference room, study cubicles, and office space for the International Program Office, and a large lounge dedicated to relaxation and socializing activities.
In the fall semester of 2007 in a collaboration effort, the DRC dedicated space in the center to assist the university with the Faculty Diversity Initiative (FDI). The two diversity areas assisted each other with inclusion and diversity programming as well as researched and implemented best practices to improve the relationships between students and faculty/staff.
In the fall semester of 2011, the DRC re-located to the Rendezvous building and was placed under Division of Financial and Administration. At that time, it also began reporting to the Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action and Diversity office. In 2014, under the leadership of Mr. Ram Eddings, Diversity Coordinator the DRC went back to its original mission of providing the campus community with programming and activities that provide opportunities for intercultural learning and relationship building.
In the Fall of 2017, the DRC was moved to the leadership of Dr. Henry Evans, Associate Director of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity. Under Dr. Evans leadership, the DRC continues to provide inclusion activities and research based programming sessions addressing current social and international diversity topics.