Neda Barrett, Diversity Officer

Iowa Law hires diversity officer to advance DEI initiatives

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The University of Iowa College of Law recently announced the hiring of Neda Barrett as its first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Global Engagement. Prior to this hire, Barrett was a Senior Human Resources Leadership Fellow at the University of Iowa with joint appointments in the College of Law and Dentistry, respectively. In addition to her DEI and Global Engagement responsibilities, she will also be the College of Law’s Senior Human Resources director.

Barrett has served the College of Law in a part-time role as its Senior Human Resources fellow since April 2019 during which time she actively participated in the College of Law’s DEI Committee, strategic planning group, and this past summer was a member of the Iowa Law Anti-Racism Action Committee. 

“I am beyond thrilled to join Iowa Law. As an individual who constantly strives to learn and grow, the College of Law has given me the opportunity to do just that,” Neda said. “My previous fellowship with Iowa Law has given me insight into this fast paced and ever-changing field and I am excited to dive into my new role.”

Although Barrett is familiar with the College of Law, this new position will allow both Barrett and the College of Law to make more progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion within Boyd Law Building and beyond. 

“I am grateful to all of the people who suggested that we create such a role. I know that it will make a big difference for our law school,” Dean Washburn said. 

The College of Law has been working to advance DEI initiatives this summer, with, among other things, the appointment of a brand-new faculty fellow, the creation of a College of Law Anti-Racism Action Committee, and the recruitment of a diverse class of new students. 

“The new role of DEI comes at a pivotal time in our country’s history and I’m incredibly grateful and honored to be working together with the Dean and the Law school community to ensure that our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives continue to evolve and progress with the times,” Neda said. “DEI work needs to be a major priority especially in a higher education setting and I am proud that the College of Law has shown their commitment by creating this position. The work we do at the College and the University can’t be separated from the work we do to enhance DEI efforts; it needs to become integrated in how we recruit and prepare our students for the world.”

The death of George Floyd sparked nationwide attention to longstanding issues of racism and police brutality, and Iowa Law knows it has a responsibility to engage, provide a space for constructive dialogue, and to serve as a space for intellectual advancement of these issues. With the appointment of Neda Barrett as Director of DEI and Global Engagement, the College of Law will continue to advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that will better prepare our students for the world that awaits.