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Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE)

Message from the Assistant Provost

Tom Romero

Welcome to the University of Denver Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE).

IRISE is the result of a successful "incubator" proposal in response to the pilot phase of the Provost's Renew DU process in 2013. Upon receiving a call for proposals from the Renew DU Committee, faculty and staff were assembled into teams or incubators to develop pilot programs to "transform the university." The Inclusive Excellence Incubator began reviewing proposals aimed at improving diversity and inclusivity on campus with an eye towards increasing the retention and recruitment of students and faculty from diverse backgrounds. The result was IRISE, the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality, whose primary purpose is to provide opportunities and support for faculty and students to engage in the development of cutting edge interdisciplinary research on issues of inequality, social justice, and inclusivity with a central focus on topics related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status and religion.

By enabling and intensifying DU's ability to develop new ideas, raise novel questions and generate meaningful answers on the vexing questions of inequality, IRISE will work to establish a needed intellectual structure for students and faculty that will (1) facilitate the interdisciplinary teaching and learning, collaboration, research, scholarship, and creative works that seek to promote equality in historically underrepresented communities, and (2) develop, support, and implement academic programs and activities that seek to promote the advancement of historically underrepresented populations in the Academy.

During the past summer and fall quarters at DU, IRISE hit the ground running. A few of our accomplishments and continued work are as follows:

  • After a campus wide RFP for IRISE Post-Doc Fellows was distributed in September, we received 16 proposals, accounting for all academic divisions on campus. Nine proposals were moved into the second phase of process and three have been selected. View the final three Post-Doc announcements here.
  • Research funding requests have been submitted and awarded. Our official process for research and professional development grant requests will roll out for the Winter 2012 term.
  • We have worked with University Libraries to identify Research Guides that implicate interdisciplinary research on inequality.
  • We have completed engaging and informative meetings with the Deans, faculty, the Administrative Council, graduate student government (GSG) as well as the directors from cross-campus and interdisciplinary programs.
  • As a result of these meetings, possible and exciting programmatic opportunities have blossomed, including our partnership with GSG towards promoting and sponsoring an upcoming interdisciplinary research symposium; and the involvement of several academic units to help IRISE host a conference on Critical Race Theory and empirical methodology in summer 2014, bringing many of the top scholars in each field to engage with our faculty and students about quantitative research on race and ethnic studies.

These opportunities are just the beginning as IRISE works to prioritize inequality as a core research area across various disciplines. As we begin this journey, I encourage you to examine all of the exciting research on inequality that DU faculty and graduate students are accomplishing and we collectively look forward to working with all of you to help us achieve our goals.

Tom I. Romero, II J.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Provost of Inclusive Excellence Research and Curricular Initiatives
Associate Professor of Law and Affiliated Faculty Member, Department of History