Inside Higher Ed | Illinois State University

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Illinois State University

Illinois State University


Founded in 1857, Illinois State University was the first public university in the state and is one of the Midwest’s oldest institutions of higher education. It is a coeducational, residential university. Its 34 academic departments in six colleges offer 77 undergraduate programs in more than 160 fields of study. The Graduate School coordinates 41 master’s, nine specialist, and ten doctoral programs.

The 1,110 acre campus includes more than 60 major buildings with state-of-the-art technology, and Watterson Towers is one of the most unique structures, as this residence hall is the tallest building between Chicago and St. Louis. Other major facilities include a Center for the Performing Arts, a 360-acre farm, Bone Student Center and Braden Auditorium, a University Planetarium, Redbird Arena, and Hancock Stadium. From meeting facilities to cultural opportunities through the arts, and excitement of numerous sporting events each year, ISU is a vital part of the Bloomington-Normal community.


Illinois State University, a first-choice public university, will be increasingly recognized as a national leader for educating high-achieving, motivated students who seek an individualized and transformative experience at an institution that:

  • Offers premier undergraduate and graduate programs that integrate traditional knowledge and methods with emerging ideas and innovations
  • Generates knowledge through high-quality research, scholarship, and creative activities
  • Supports student learning and development inside and outside of the classroom
  • Serves the region, state, nation, and world through its commitments to responsible stewardship, meaningful civic engagement, cultural enrichment, and the development of global citizens


We at Illinois State University work as a diverse community of scholars with a commitment to fostering a small-college atmosphere with large-university opportunities. We promote the highest academic standards in our teaching, scholarship, public service and the connections we build among them. We devote all of our resources and energies to creating the most supportive and productive community possible to serve the citizens of Illinois and beyond.


Pursuit of Learning and Scholarship

Illinois State University works with students as partners in their educational development inside and outside of the classroom so that students come to appreciate learning as an active and lifelong process. The University contributes new knowledge through research, scholarship, and creative activities in which all students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to participate. Faculty members embrace a balanced teacher–scholar model that values their contributions as teachers (facilitators of learning) and scholars (creators and discoverers of knowledge and information). 

Individualized Attention

Illinois State University provides a supportive environment that places all learners at the center of teaching and scholarship. Innovative curricular and cocurricular programs, strong student-faculty-staff connections, and superior student services focus on each student as an individual. The University fosters academic and personal growth, recognizes unique educational aspirations, and acknowledges that each faculty and staff member is integral to student success.


Illinois State University affirms and encourages community and a respect for differences by fostering an inclusive environment characterized by cultural understanding, ethical behavior, and social justice. The University supports a diverse faculty and staff who mentor a diverse student population. The University endeavors to provide opportunities for all students, staff, and faculty to participate in a global society.


Illinois State University promotes an environment defined by the highest ethical standards. Leadership of the University is characterized by stability, adherence to shared values, collaborative decision making, and accountable stewardship of all university resources. Members of the University community work collaboratively through shared governance to ensure the success of the University and are dedicated to making ongoing improvements, always enhancing their contribution to Illinois State University and building on prior accomplishments. Teaching and learning, including research and creative activities, are conducted at the highest level of academic quality and integrity.

Civic Engagement

Illinois State University prepares students to be informed and engaged global citizens who will promote and further the goals of society. The University promotes active learning experiences through which students will gain an awareness and understanding of civic engagement as a lifelong responsibility. The University partners with business, industry, government, and educational entities providing leadership in local, statewide, national, and international initiatives; expanding service and outreach; and enhancing financial support for instructional, scholarly, and service activities.

Illinois State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer​.


Diversity Profile: Illinois State University

At Illinois State University we work as a diverse community with a commitment to fostering a small-college atmosphere with large-university opportunities.  To this end, we devote our resources, energies, and talents to creating a supportive, varied, inclusive, and productive community to prepare students to be fully engaged participants in a global society.  As such, Illinois State University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, or status as a veteran in employment.

Policy and Administration

The Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics & Access is responsible for administering and monitoring the University’s equal opportunity and diversity-related policies and procedures, pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Americans with Disabilities Act and other relevant federal, state and local statutes. The Office of Equal Opportunity collaborates with University administration and staff to ensure that campus operations, programs, and structures comply with these requirements. The Office of Equal Opportunity reports directly to the Office of the President.

Policy and Administration

The Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics & Access is responsible for administering and monitoring the University’s equal opportunity and diversity-related policies and procedures, pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Americans with Disabilities Act and other relevant federal, state and local statutes. The Office of Equal Opportunity collaborates with University administration and staff to ensure that campus operations, programs, and structures comply with these requirements. The Office of Equal Opportunity reports directly to the Office of the President.

M. Shane McCreery, J.D.
Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics, and Access
Title IX Coordinator, ADA Coordinator
Hovey Hall Rm. 208, Campus Box 1280
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-1280
(309) 438-3383
[email protected]

The Diversity Advocacy office is a unit of the Dean of Students’ Office and works to foster civility and raising cultural awareness in students, faculty and staff.           

Diversity Advocacy helps multicultural and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) students find their way at Illinois State University through a variety of resources, programs, activities and advising. Diversity Advocacy also works to facilitate a supportive campus environment in which multicultural and LGBT students can flourish academically and socially.   

Diversity Advocacy is committed to building bridges between groups; developing understanding, appreciation, and respect; as well as celebrating the diversity of the members of the University community. Diversity Advocacy is responsible for initiating and encouraging programs and services that contribute to a broader understanding of diversity at Illinois State University.

Diversity Advocacy
387 Student Services Building
Campus Box 5800
Normal, IL 61790-5800
Phone: (309) 438-8968
[email protected]

Every member of the University is fully engaged in promoting diversity as inspired by the area of diversity they are most passionate about. That passion is the driving force behind many of the programs and initiatives that provide the support necessary for each member of the community to thrive.

Academic and social support

For students:

Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) - The Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC) is a social organization comprised of students who have an interest in Asian culture.

Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) - The Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) is a social organization comprised of students who have an interest in Latin American culture.

Black Student Union (BSU) - Black Student Union aims to coordinate activities that strengthen cultural and political awareness as well as assist in developing skills necessary to become a professionally organized body of students that address issues pertinent to African Americans.

Pride - Pride is a student group on campus which strives to provide a safe social and educational atmosphere for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, curious and allied (GLBTIQQCA) people of Illinois State University.

Black and Latino Male Movement - The Black and Latino Male Movement hosts "The Black and Latino Male Summit", a one-day conference focused on issues and community building of Black and Latino males at Illinois State University.

Fraternities & Sororities – ISU's fraternities and sororities make an important contribution to life on campus by providing leadership opportunities for students and service to the community. Illinois State University’s Greek community includes culturally based fraternities and sororities.

Mentoring and Academic Success Achievement Initiative (MASAI) - The mission of the MASAI mentoring program is to assist in the retention of students who identify as first generation, low income or historically underrepresented at Illinois State University. Through MASAI, first-year and transfer students are paired with upper-class students who serve as mentors and role models. During the fall semester, mentors assist mentees with academic work, help them get involved in the campus community and organizations, assist with their transition into the University culture, and provide information about campus resources.

For employees:

Association of Black Academic Employees - The Association of Black Academic Employees (ABAE) is a medium through which Black employees at Illinois State University participate in shared governance. The Association’s purpose is to serve in an advisory capacity to University administrators, faculty, staff, and students regarding the general welfare of all Black employees at Illinois State University.

AsiaConnect - AsiaConnect is an association of faculty and staff members who work together in the interest of the Asian community.

Organization of Latino Employees - The Illinois State University Organization of Latino Employees (OLE) is a non-profit affinity group for ISU employees who self-identify as Latino/a or Hispanic or who are interested in the issues of Latino/a or Hispanic employees on campus.


University Scholarship - The University Scholarship is awarded to academically-talented, new freshman students from traditionally underrepresented groups or first generation college students who have overcome hardship in achieving their academic goals. University Scholars receive a $6,000 annual award, renewable for up to four years, for a potential value of $24,000. To be considered for this award, you must complete your application for admission during the preferred filing period (September 1-November 15).

More information on diversity related scholarships can be found through the Financial Aid Office’s scholarship finder by using such key words as diversity, minority, etc…


Multi-Ethnic Cultural and Co-Curricular Programming Advisory Committee (MECCPAC) - The Multi-Ethnic Cultural and Co-Curricular Programming Advisory Committee (MECCPAC) is a diversity initiative offered through the Dean of Students Office. The committee reviews applications to provide matching co-sponsorship funds for cultural, educational, and multi-ethnic programs that help build awareness and appreciation within the Illinois State community for African American, Latin American, Native American, and Asian American cultures; women; people with disabilities; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT).

Faculty International Travel Grant - The Faculty International Travel Grant (FITG) seeks to enhance the internationalization efforts of Illinois State University. The FITG will seek to support initiatives and activities that contribute to the mission of the Office of International Studies and Programs and that are consistent with the international teaching, research, and outreach goals of the university.

Awards and recognition

Commitment to Diversity Awards - The Commitment to Diversity Awards recognize students, registered student organizations, faculty, and staff who have demonstrated outstanding curricular and co-curricular programming, service, and research that exemplifies the University's commitment to diversity.

Strand Diversity Achievement Award - Established by President Emeritus David Strand, this award recognizes a current Illinois State University faculty or staff member who is instrumental in extraordinary curricular or program activities that assist the University in responding to its core value of diversity as outlined in Educating Illinois. The award recipient will be announced during the spring semester Founders Day celebration, and will receive individual recognition and a cash award.

Academic support

Julia N. Visor Center - The Julia N. Visor Academic Center is a division of University College that provides services and programs designed to assist students in their pursuit of academic excellence at Illinois State University. Services include tutoring, academic coaching, computer lab and many more…

Student Support Services/Trio: Student Support Services at Illinois State University is a student-oriented program that provides support services to individuals who are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary education.

Signature programs

Illinois State University offers many programs related to diversity. The list below is not exhaustive but gives an insight on the importance of these programs to the community.

Black and Latino Male Summit - The Black and Latino Male Summit is a one-day conference focused on issues and community building of Black and Latino males at ISU. Participants of the Black and Latino Male Summit will create an environment of camaraderie, discuss issues affecting Black and Latino male communities, and maximize opportunities for coalition building, education, and workforce readiness

Cultural Immersion Trips - Cultural Immersion Trips consist of an educational exhibit, museum, or event that immerses students in a day long cultural experience. Discussion and reflection led by an ISU faculty member will follow the experience. This is a great opportunity for students to step outside their comfort zone, explore something new and connect with the ISU community.

iQuest Diversity Retreat - Each fall, Diversity Advocacy coordinates an overnight retreat open to all ISU students. The retreat engages students in critical discussions and team-building activities. The goals of the retreat are to expand students’ understanding of diversity and to increase multi-cultural awareness. Students are led through guided activities, discussion, and reflection on topics such as sexual orientation, race, gender identity, and the concept of privilege. Students learn how to appreciate, celebrate, and participate in the many cultures present at Illinois State University.

Social Justice Institute - This is a free one day conference for students hosted by Diversity Advocacy. The one day event will provide students with an opportunity to explore the identities that make up who they are and help them gain a better understanding of how these identities impact everything they do. Through facilitated activities, exercises, and small group dialogue, participants will engage in conversations that will challenge and support them in their journey toward understanding how they can individually impact our global community.

Safe Zone - Safe Zone provides  students, faculty and staff the opportunity to create safe spaces on campus that are highly visible and easily identifiable to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and ally (LGBT)  persons. These Safe Zones are spaces where support and understanding are readily available and bigotry and discrimination are not tolerated.

Cultural Dinners – Cultural Dinners are programs sponsored by University Housing Services that expose the community to food, music and national figures from a particular culture. Over the years, University Housing Services has celebrated African-American, Latino, Indian, Native American, Disability and Asian cultures, among others.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner – a program sponsored by the Office of the President that brings to campus an acclaimed guest speaker to share insights and inspire the university community in the memory of Dr. King.

International Seminar Series – The International Seminar Series offers the ISU campus and Bloomington-Normal community weekly opportunities to learn about a wide range of international topics. Guest speakers are usually experts in their fields across a range of disciplines who cover a wide array of cultural, historical, political and social topics.

Community Resources

American Civil Liberties Union, Central Illinois Chapter
Expanding Your Horizons
Minority Business Directory
Minority High School Scholars Actuarial Academy for Mathematics
Prairie Pride Coalition
Normal Human Relations Commission
Not in Our Town


AAUP Compensation Survey Data
Illinois State University


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