Iowa State's former Interim Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Margo Foreman, parted from the university last week. She is moving on to Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Foreman will serve as the Vice President and Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Foreman began her journey at Iowa State in 2016 as the university's Director of Equal Opportunity. Prior, she had worked in the Office of Equal Opportunity in Indiana University-Purdue University after gaining her master's degree.
As the Director of Equal Opportunity, Foreman was responsible for managing the university's compliance to Affirmative Action plans, Title IX regulations and discrimination issues. In 2017 Foreman became the Assistant VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, maintaining some of her previous tasks while taking on other responsibilities.
"I became the assistant vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion under Reg Stewart," Foreman said. "I remained over the compliance area and those duties, as well as the Title IX coordinator but I began to expand and work in DPDI (Diversity Program Development Initiative)."
Foreman explained how she operated as the Assistant VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
"If we saw kind of themes or patterns in a particular area, we would always inform the leadership of that area," Foreman said. "Whether it's a college, a dean or maybe it is at the president level, [we inform] of what we're seeing so that we could kind of strategize with leadership around, what could we do to mitigate that."
Foreman served as the Assistant VP until the former VP, Dr. Reginald (Reg) Chhen Stewart, left Iowa State last summer to fill the same position at Chapman University in Orange County, Calif. Upon Stewart's departure, Foreman became the Interim VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and began fulfilling some of the responsibilities that come with the position.
University HR and the General Counsel Office helped take some of the Equal Opportunity load off Foreman's plate, freeing her up to focus on her Interim VP roles.
"I had the opportunity in the interim role to really focus on initiating an effort that I believed would help the campus, prepare for a new Vice President, as well as helped the campus, kind of culminate their practice around diversity, equity inclusion efforts," Foreman said.
In the short time Foreman served as Interim VP, she started initiatives to push the university towards a more equitable campus.
"So, I launched a diversity, equity inclusion Think Tank," Foreman said. "We actually brought together, upwards of 80 people who do diversity, equity inclusion in some fashion or form in their work, and we talked about how do we develop a community of practice."
Foreman also worked toward creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion logic model, from which later DEI work can be derived. This would allow different groups and bodies from the university to regulate the DEI work being done for a universally tolerant campus.
Foreman bid farewell to Iowa State on Oct. 13 and began work for Clark University virtually from Ames, with plans to move out to Massachusetts later this year. Clark University is a school boasting roughly 3,500 students. According to Foreman, this was one of the more attractive elements of the school.
"So instead of having 40,000 people to be responsible or responsive to… I have a little bit like 3,500, I can now at this private institution I can actually talk to 3,500 people in a year," Foreman said. "I can ask, 'Are we being impactful?' 'What is your needs? What are the things you're experiencing?' and really get to stories, and then target my work instead of like a gunshot splatter. I can target my work for specific needs and specific improvement."
Foreman explained some more about why she chose to leave Iowa State.
"I'm not leaving Iowa State, I'm leaving Iowa and when I say that I mean because doing diversity, equity, inclusion work just became so much more hard and difficult with the way that our state has responded to all sorts of issues around diversity and inclusion," Foreman said. "You want to have energy and stakeholders were pushing with you. And that's not necessarily what we're experiencing right now."