ISU President Larry Dietz launches new role for diversity and inclusion; tabs Dr. Doris Houston to lead

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz (left) and Dr. Doris Houston (right) spoke with media about the new position. (Photo courtesy: Blake Haas/WJBC)

By Blake Haas

NORMAL – Illinois State University President Larry Dietz announced the creation of a new position to move diversity initiatives forward on campus.

Professor Doris Houston will serve as an interim assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. Houston currently serves as chair of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council as one of the leads of the Steering Committee for the recent Campus Climate Task Force.

President Dietz says Dr. Houston’s role will focus on students, faculty, and staff in possible listening sessions and focus groups.

“We have been in conversations for a long time, just this time last spring we formed an Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion that reports to me,” said ISU President Larry Dietz. “Dr. Houston chairs that, and we have been working for literally all this time, and so I think it’s a natural outgrowth of conversation that has been going on for years to formalize this.”

Working as a liaison to the Diversity and Inclusion Council, Dr. Houston said she’s excited to work with support centers and programs on campus.

“The role is really one of me being a point person if you will to ensure that the current efforts that are underway across our campus are coordinated,” added Dr. Houston. “Perhaps one role might be to utilize an idea that worked well.”

Dr. Houston’s salary will be $112,000 and her position will be evaluated after two-years. Her duties will begin in July.

Blake Haas can be reached at


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…