When Problems are Acknowledged, They can be Addressed

11/15/2022 1:29:59 PM GCOE Communications

Professor Tiffani Williams named Dean’s Fellow in Inclusion, Belonging and Engagement to "develop our strategy for deepening public engagement and broadening participation."

Written by GCOE Communications

In addition to leading the iCAN program, Tiffani Williams is also the The Grainger College of Engineering’s first Dean’s Fellow in Inclusion, Belonging and Engagement.

Illinois CS professor Tiffani Williams headshot.
Tiffani Williams

“In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the civil unrest that followed, we made a strong commitment to social justice and improving the college’s climate for students, faculty and staff from communities that have been historically marginalized – including the establishment of the Institute for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access under Professor Lynford Goddard and the hard work and decisive action of our Anti-Racism Task Force,” said Dean Rashid Bashir.

“With Tiffani in this key role, we will develop our strategy for deepening public engagement and broadening participation between our college and communities in the Champaign-Urbana area,  building off the strengths of ongoing efforts  within our departments and college.”

Most notably, Williams’s early work as Dean’s  Fellow has focused on scaling up the CS CARES program across departments within Grainger Engineering. CS CARES is a resource consisting of members of the CS Department community who are approachable and help people who are concerned about how the department’s values and code of conduct are being upheld. The group also provides advice to the department on next steps to address  the concerns.

The goal is an environment that is safe and welcoming, and delivers a world-class education  to all.

“We’re in the infrastructure-building phase for expanding to other departments. What this will look like, how they will interact with things like the campus Title IX office, OSCAR, and the college’s ombuds office [remains to be determined]. But we’ll be coming up  with a college-level mechanism to have a trusted resource and set of advisors – a mechanism that is consistent, provides training, and is more easily accessible,” Williams said.

“Ultimately, when problems are being shared and people trust that they are being taken seriously, then we can live up to our values. When problems are acknowledged, they can be addressed.”

Read the original story from Grainger Engineering's Limitless magazine.

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This story was published November 15, 2022.