Dr. Terrance Pendleton

Drake University is furthering its commitment to campus equity and inclusion by appointing Dr. Terrance Pendleton to a three-year term as Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion and launching a new program in the fall of 2024 called Bulldogs Belong: Resilient and Thriving.

These efforts come at a time when legislation in Iowa—and across the country—is forcing state universities to drastically cut or eliminate their offices of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) and related programming.

Terrance Pendleton appointed to three-year term

Dr. Pendleton, who also serves as an Associate Professor of Mathematics, has been with the University since 2016. He initially stepped into the role of Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion in an interim capacity in 2023 after the former associate provost, Dr. Jennifer Harvey, accepted a vice president position at another university.

Originally from Alabama, Dr. Pendleton received both his doctorate and master’s in applied mathematics from North Carolina State University. Before joining Drake University, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Iowa State University through the Alliance for Building Faculty Diversity. 

As Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Pendleton oversees a variety of programs and initiatives aimed at creating a culture of inclusion that sees diversity of identities, backgrounds, and ideas as fundamental to the excellence and success of Drake as an institution. To name just a few of these initiatives: Unity Roundtables, faculty and staff affinity groups, the Crew Scholars program, campus incident response, and the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI). His work with the NCBI has been transformative for Drake’s campus, which is the only institution in Iowa to maintain affiliation. His office also works closely to develop initiatives and programming with the Slay Fund for Social Justice.

“A key part of my vision for Drake University is that we will provide increased access to a Drake education, commit to equity, inclusion, and justice, and be a thriving model to the world of what a welcoming and inclusive campus can be,” said Sue Mattison, Drake University provost. “Dr. Pendleton’s role as Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion is critical to achieving that vision. In addition to his outstanding commitment as a faculty member to support student success in mathematics, this past year he developed and implemented initiatives that improved campus climate and created support infrastructures. This was an incredibly challenging year for campuses across the country, and I am proud of the valuable support and guidance he provides Drake students and our entire campus.”

Dr. Pendleton looks forward to continuing his work in promoting DEIJ across Drake’s campus.

“While our office helps to establish and grow DEIJ initiatives, the reality is that DEIJ work is a collective commitment across our institution. It takes all of us, and together we can make a difference,” said Pendleton. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with students, faculty, and staff as we work together in growing an inclusive campus climate, where every member of the Drake community experiences a sense of true belonging.”

Bulldogs Belong: Resilient and Thriving

Drake is launching a new program called Bulldogs Belong: Resilient and Thriving, which aims to improve wellness and well-being for students, faculty, and staff; create a stronger sense of belonging, driven by a well-articulated institutional identity; and implement changes to students’ advising, career readiness programming, and academic and co-curricular experiences, especially for first- and second-year students.

The Bulldogs Belong program will launch initiatives across campus to create a sense of belonging through building community. These initiatives include:

  • Creating a first-generation student mentorship program under the leadership of an AmeriCorps-funded Campus Compact position and supervised by the New Student Programs office at Drake.
  • Revitalizing the First Year Seminar (FYS) Program with an emphasis on coordinating academic and co-curricular experiences, reducing variability across sections, and extending FYS impact into the second year.
  • Developing a sophomore-year experience, building on Drake’s current two-year requirement to live in on-campus housing, through our offices of Student Affairs.
  • Launching a campus-wide community-building event in the fall to create a sense of community that happens sooner in the academic year than the current campus-wide event, the Drake Relays, which occurs in late April.
  • Maintaining an active roster of at least 25 leaders trained in bias incident response through the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), to offer a variety of programming and who would also be recognized campus leaders able to support healthy, relationship-based responses if or when bias incidents transpire.
  • Supporting the work of the American Talent Initiative (ATI) leadership team, which includes developing and implementing a success coaching program for first-generation and limited-income students.

Another core initiative of the program is to transform Drake into a student-ready institution where students can thrive as they are, both academically and personally. The Bulldogs Belong program will also seek to bolster mental wellness across campus by expanding access to mental health resources and programming.