College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
2022 ISCORE Champion

Welcome to the 2022 Thomas L. Hill Iowa State University Conference on Race and Ethnicity! On behalf of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), I am honored to officially co-champion this important event.

First, thank you for making diversity, equity and inclusion a priority. It can be difficult to step away from busy schedules, but ISCORE is a critical investment in the university’s commitment to create and maintain a welcoming, inclusive campus environment.

In LAS, we’ve seen the importance of collaboration in this work. When Dr. Monic Behnken accepted the role of the college’s inaugural associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion less than a year ago, she ushered in a new era of collaborative efforts around advancing this work. Through a coordinated, unified approach, we’re coalescing the strengths of individuals and teams across more than 40 departments and programs, advancing our goals of equity and inclusion in ways that are more meaningful and sustainable than ever before.

And that's the power of community.

This conference will expose you to fresh perspectives, complex conversations, and knowledge that will empower you to positively influence our campus environment. I encourage you to apply what you learn during this conference to your everyday work.

We are, indeed, better together. And together we can do better.

Beate Schmittmann, Dean
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Remote video URL

LAS DEI Team Photo

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team

Left to right: Amy Rutenberg, associate professor of history and equity advisor; Corey Welch, director of the STEM Scholars program; Arnold Woods, director of multicultural student success; and Monic Behnken, associate professor of sociology and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Diversity Efforts

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) is honored to be recognized as an NSCORE-ISCORE Champion for this conference. We fully support the goals of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion highlighted in the university and college strategic plans.

Our approach to DEI work has accelerated dramatically with the July 2021 appointment of Dr. Monic Behnken as our inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion for LAS. Her goal is to help LAS become a leader and role model for other colleges on campus in the important work of diversity, equity and inclusion.

"When people think of LAS, I want them to think of DEI excellence,” says Behnken. “And I want them to know that LAS prioritizes academic excellence and a welcoming climate. Our focus is now on collaborative work across our many disciplines that promotes the success of all students, faculty, and staff in our college.” 

Associate Dean Behnken has already transformed an assortment of existing activities and resources in the college into a unified DEI team. With carefully targeted areas of focus, the team takes a unified approach to reach all students, staff and faculty. Associate Dean Behnken focuses on providing leadership, focus, and opportunities for collaboration for the entire college. Dr. Amy Rutenberg, associate professor of history and the college’s newest equity advisor, is the college’s liaison to the Iowa State University ADVANCE program and helps expand professional development and advancement of LAS faculty. Arnold Woods, the team’s director of multicultural student success, is responsible for developing and managing student-focused diversity, equity and inclusion programs, projects and partnerships in LAS and across the campus. As director of the STEM Scholars program, Dr. Corey Welch helps underserved students pursuing STEM degrees through a peer-to-peer network that directly addresses the challenges facing STEM students who hail from traditionally excluded groups.

With Behnken’s leadership, this new coordinated effort gives departments and programs access to broad-based knowledge and strategies that they can apply in their own unique environments. She is also connecting the more than 40 departments and programs by creating best practices and guidelines for their diversity committees and creating a network of support within the college