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Director of Diversity-Equity & Inclusion; Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction & Tutoring
University of Iowa College of Nursing-Diversity Resources Office
Adjunct Instructor-Career Leadership Academy Program
A native of Davenport, Iowa, Valerie S. Garr, M.A. is the Director of Diversity-Equity & Inclusion and Coordinator of Supplemental Instruction & Tutoring for the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She also advises the Multicultural Nursing Association and chairs the College’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee. Garr also teaches in the UI Career Leadership Academy Program and guest lectures in various health sciences Colleges and at the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics Nurse Residency Program on health and cultural competence. She is currently the Community Specialist for the UI’s Center for Advancing Multimorbidity Science (CAMS) project. Author of the College’s Seven Pillars of Diversity, Garr has been employed by the University of Iowa for 34 years and has previously worked in the UI Office of Student Financial Aid; UI Office of Support Service Programs; Opportunity at Iowa-Office of the Provost; and UI Office of Undergraduate Admissions as Iowa’s first Director of Diversity Relations & Outreach where she created the diversity and Spanish sections of the admissions website and developed one of the very first UI diversity recruitment brochures.
Garr’s University of Iowa achievements are many. Garr co-chaired the UI Diversity Action Committee (DAC) Minority Recruitment & Retention Sub-Committee, which laid the groundwork for UI Iowa Promise Strategic Plan, which included future diversity initiatives to improve campus climate and services for recruitment and retention. She is a co-creator of the UI Advantage Iowa Award. She co-wrote the proposal to make the UI a campus charter of the National Coalition Building Institute-an international prejudice reduction training program; she co-founded the Iowa Edge Program for newly admitted first year-first generation underrepresented students; she helped establish the UI’s annual Culturally Responsive Healthcare in Iowa Conference; she served as a member of the health sciences grant team to make the UI a Summer Health Professions Education Program campus; she served on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) SBIRT-TIPS (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) Educational Grant Advisory Committee; she has previously served on the UI Women in Science and Engineering Advisory Board, UI Council on the Status of Women Steering Committee, Iowa Women’s Foundation Grant Review Team, UI Council on STEM, and she is a former Vice President of the UI African American Council. She is a recipient of the UI’s prestigious Hancher-Finkbine Medallion (2021); the Iowa Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award (2018); the Iowa Department of Human Rights Unsung Sheroes Award (2018); the UI Distinguished Catalyst Award (2016)—the only woman to be awarded this distinction; the UI Staff Council for Excellence in Service Award (2005); the UI-Multicultural Graduation Distinguished Educator Award for Commitment and Continuing Efforts to Promote Diversity (2003); and the College of Law’s W.H. Knight Award of Distinction (2003). In April 2022, Val was inducted into her high school’s Hall of Fame at Davenport Central High School in honor of her 16 years of community work through the Quad City Minority Partnership, in which Val is the founder and president, collaborating with Quad City area high school, college, and community members who volunteer their time to coordinate an annual Youth Leadership Conference-College & Career Fair for underrepresented and first-generation Iowa and Illinois Quad City high schoolers. In August 2022, Val was recognized by the Iowa State Education Association as a recipient of the Paul Mann Memorial Human Rights Award, which honors an individual or group for exemplary contributions toward advancing human and civil rights. Valerie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in African American World Studies and her Master of Arts degree in Student Development in Postsecondary Education, both from the University of Iowa. She has lived in Iowa City for over 40 years.