The University Counseling Service (UCS) of The University of Iowa has made a strong commitment to meeting the needs of culturally diverse people. As a staff, we are addressing issues of diversity in our clinical work, training, outreach, and staff development. We define cultural diversity as personal or social identities based in cultural, individual, group, or role differences including, but not limited to, those based on race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, mental health status, relational and family status, religion, spirituality, language, nationality, citizenship status, social class, economic status, veteran status, disability and ability, gender identity and expression, body type and size, as well as diverse ideas, values, and lifestyles.
In this definition we acknowledge those groups of people and cultures across a wide range of human differences who have traditionally and historically been underrepresented, underserved, and discriminated against in our society.
The UCS is committed to hiring and retaining clinical staff who represent a wide range of cultural diversity, and who are dedicated to the intentional inclusion of multicultural competence in all areas of their work. The staff reflects differences in racial and ethnic background, national origin, sexual identity, religion and spirituality, age, and gender. The entire staff shares our goal of providing sensitive, high quality services to diverse people. In addition, some staff members have developed interest and expertise in working with African-Americans; Latinos/Latinas; Asian and Asian-American individuals; international students; students with disabilities; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer persons; people who are Trans, Gender Variant, Non-Binary; as well as members of other underrepresented groups. The UCS offers psychotherapy in Spanish, Mandarin, and English.
Although the University is situated in a primarily white state, the University has made efforts to increase diversity (Regents' expectation). Students of color represent about 9-10% of UI students. For several years, the UCS has seen a higher proportion of diverse students than has been present in the student population at large. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students receive a range of services at the UCS. Students with mental, learning, and physical disabilities are represented, as well as many other persons with diverse identities and affiliations.
OUR COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL JUSTICE
We acknowledge the various institutionalized and systemic forces that distribute access to power, privilege, influence, and resources quite differently based on historical or current affiliation (or perceived affiliation) with different personal or social identity groups.
We work to empower students to give appropriate attention and care to impact of systems of oppression while working to build meaningful and vital lives that contribute to greater social equity.
We accept that our counseling, training, and outreach work are not values-neutral activities and constantly work to be aware of the values and guiding principles that inform our work and the ways in which these values and principles may be steeped in, contribute to, or otherwise collude with existing systems of oppression and dominance in maintaining the status quo.
We are acutely aware of the privileges we have associated with earning socially legitimated degrees and professional credentials that give us certain power, influence, and resources.
We are committed to using our knowledge of human psychology, our power, and our influence to promote advocacy, activism, and greater social equity in our community and beyond.