Carver Equity Institute to foster diversity


by Chase Thurston, Staff Writer

The creation of a George Washington Carver Equity Institute at Simpson will provide students with new opportunities to embrace diversity and advocacy.

Spearheaded by former state Rep. Wayne Ford, the Institute will seek to discuss and address inequities faced by many in modern America.

Ford has led other outreach programs in the state of Iowa, including the Urban Dreams organization in Des Moines, which provides various services to “underserved and underrepresented populations.”

“He (Rep. Ford) approached Simpson a couple of years ago and began conversations about this idea of an Equity Institute,” Academic Dean Kent Eaton said at a faculty meeting on Feb. 13.

“It’s an externally funded source of teaching, learning and research,” Eaton said regarding the Institute’s mission.

Eaton also spoke of an advisory board that includes faculty from Drake University, Grand View University, DMACC, as well as members of the NAACP and other organizations.

Another early leader of the institute’s creation is the Director of the John C. Culver Public Policy Center, Seth Andersen.

Andersen provided more details about the opportunities the institute will offer: “Opportunities to participate in an academic exchange with higher education institutional partners, or travel to work within institutional partner organizations. Simpson students will be deeply immersed in diverse learning cultures and exposed to innovative equity research and programming on a much larger scale.”

Andersen and Eaton explained the institute is still in the early stages of its conception and more funding must be located before things will move forward.

Andersen hopes to foster a collaborative relationship between the institute and the Culver Center.

“I fully expect that the Culver Public Policy Center will partner with the Carver Equity Institute on overlapping issues,” he said.

Andersen said the eventual goals of the institute will be to, “implement an academic certificate program for students and working professionals to gain specialized knowledge and skills in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.”