Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in CLA

RIGS Research Circle

CLA is a destination for curious, compassionate individuals who are committed to making our increasingly interdependent and diverse global community work for everyone. That foundational commitment begins in our CLA Constitution. CLA is committed to increasing enrollment of underrepresented and under-resourced students, diversifying our faculty across all disciplines, recruiting and retaining a diverse staff, and promoting the expression and exploration of diverse perspectives and viewpoints—so that we all gain the background knowledge and analytical skills we need to understand and respect differences.


Learn more about: 
 - Recent Commitments
 - Working in CLA
 - Studying in CLA
 - Resources for Undergraduate Students
 - Resources for Graduate Students
 - Academic Expertise, Outreach, and Engagement in CLA

Recent Commitments

As part of the College’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, here are a few of the initiatives recently underway intended to strengthen that commitment. 

  • The College created a new role of Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. History Associate Professor Malinda Lindquist began a three-year appointment on June 21, 2021.
  • Over 80 CLA staff and faculty members gathered virtually in August 2020 for our first annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Summit. The summit aimed to help connect resources and colleagues, discuss what has been successful in departmental DEI work, what challenges departments face in this space, and what the College could do to assist departmental DEI efforts. A similarly-attended summit was also held for CLA administrative units in October 2020. 
  • Nearly 50 of our faculty participated in the Building Capacity for Engaging Diversity in Undergraduate Education Cohort, offered by the CLA Office of Undergraduate Education and led by Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, a national leader on this topic.
  • CLA’s Office of Institutional Advancement launched the What’s Next? roundtable series, addressing the power of business and philanthropy in the pursuit of racial justice, CLA alumni seeking social change, curriculum and pedagogy in K-12, and policing in Minneapolis.
  • The College is committed to reducing equity gaps in graduation rates.
  • CLA established an equity lens policy review committee in spring 2021.
  • CLA actively participated in the President's Postdoctoral Fellow Program. In FY21, three of the five selected fellows (Christopher Hammerly, Jessica Horvath Williams, and Ron Martin Wilson) reside in CLA departments. Their critical perspectives derive from their non-traditional educational background or understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education, both to their research and to our community of scholars.



Group of people at the Indigenous Staff & Staff of Color Community kickoff event

Working in CLA

"Diverse peoples, perspectives, and viewpoints make us stronger and better as individuals and an institution... . A welcoming environment of inclusion and belonging will be critical to people in CLA thriving, staying, and having the full impact that they can have with their research, teaching, engagement, and service."

John Coleman, CLA Dean

At the University of Minnesota, we value having a diversity of views and experiences that enrich our campus community and foster excellence. We are dedicated to creating a campus culture that respects everyone equally. Learn more about working at the University of Minnesota. Our annual State of the College report also includes a wide variety of demographic information regarding our community of faculty, staff, and students.

Fall 2020

Faculty of Color
Staff of Color
Female Faculty



Indigenous Staff & Staff of Color Community

CLA's Indigenous Staff & Staff of Color Community promotes personal and professional growth through shared experiences, resources, and strategies for staff of color. It launched in December 2017 to help advance the College’s goal of cultivating a welcoming and respectful climate in its diverse intellectual community. It is an active organization that includes members from throughout the College. To learn more about this community, view their On Purpose profile or visit The Neighborhood (CLA's intranet).


Graduate student discussion in a classroom

Studying in CLA

"Nearly a third of CLA’s students are the first in their families to attend college. About a fifth are Pell-grant-eligible. Around 40 percent of our population is made up of transfer students, who are on the whole more ethnically and racially diverse, more low- to lower-middle-income, and more first-generation than students joining us directly from high school... . What all of these students have in common is this: they have worked hard, they have earned their way here, they belong here—and we have an obligation to help them thrive."

John Coleman, CLA Dean

Fall 2020

First Generation Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate Students of Color
Graduate Students of Color



Diversity by gender: Undergraduate students Female 58%, Male 42%; Graduate students Female 55%, Male 45%



Undergraduate Diversity graph 2020


Graduate Diversity graph 2020

Resources for Undergraduate Students

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advising Program

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Program is an academic advising office within the College of Liberal Arts, and it is available to any CLA student who appreciates an environment that embraces and fosters multiculturalism. 

President's Emerging Scholars Advising Program

The President's Emerging Scholars Program offers a number of services that address the needs of students with diverse backgrounds and characteristics, including urban students, first-generation college students, rural students, student parents, students with disabilities, students of color, older students, and non-native speakers of English.

Learn more about the Office of Undergraduate Education's commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Work.

Resources for Graduate Students

Learn more about the different diversity programs, initiatives, and fellowships available to graduate students.


Participants at a Department of Chicano & Latino Studies Dia de los Muertos event

Academic Expertise, Outreach, and Engagement in CLA

"CLA is the campus home for research, teaching, and community engagement in the study of race, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality. Our departments of African American & African Studies; American Indian Studies; Chicano & Latino Studies; American Studies; and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; and the Asian American Studies Program are among the first and most prominent in their respective fields. And our departments across the arts, humanities, and social science address issues of race, justice, dignity, and respect in their research, creative work, and instruction.”

John Coleman, CLA Dean

Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Established in 2015, the Race, Indigeneity, Disability, Gender & Sexuality Initiative (RIDGS) in the College of Liberal Arts was created to support innovative research, teaching, and community-building for scholars engaged with issues of race, indigeneity, disability, gender, and sexuality. RIDGS is dedicated to bringing faculty and students together to pursue lines of inquiry that challenge systems of power and inequality, assert human dignity, and imagine social transformation. Learn more about the Race, Indigeneity, Disability Gender & Sexuality Initiative.

In August 2020, RIDGS launched a collection of online resources about racial justice at the University of Minnesota.

CLA is also a supporter and donor to the CLA-faculty-led Black Midwest Initiative, a "collective of scholars, students, artists, organizers, and community-involved people who are committed to advocating for the lives of people of African descent as they are situated throughout the Midwest and Rust Belt regions of the United States."

Faculty Expertise Around Issues of Race, Justice, Dignity, and Respect

Our faculty, across a wide range of departments, are bringing their insights and expertise to benefit and teach local, national, and international communities. This depth of understanding leads to their being called upon by media for insights and clarity—especially during times of tragedy. 

Departmental Statements of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In addition to our College-wide commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, several departments have shared their commitments on their websites. Read about them in the links below.


The University of Minnesota shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.