In the Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State, former President Warren outlined five priorities. The work of the Dynamic Education and Engagement of Diverse Students (DEEDS) strategy aligns with Priority 1: Students First – Provide an inclusive and engaged living-learning environment where all students thrive and graduate as informed citizens committed to a life of impact.
In 2015, Beverly Warren, who was the university's 12th president, charged the Division of Academic Affairs, under the leadership of Dr. Todd Diacon, who was, at that time Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, to build on the success of student focused diversity efforts in the College of Education, Health and Human Services (EHHS). These efforts were positioned within University College, under the leadership of Dr. Eboni Pringle, Dean. The Director of Diversity Outreach in EHHS, N. J. Akbar, was named as Assistant Dean and charged with developing a campus-wide strategy. University College embarked on a partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, led by Vice President Alfreda Brown and Dana Lawless-Andric, the Associate Vice President of DEI to create a coordinated process to leverage the strengths of both areas.
From this partnership, the DEEDS strategy was created by N. J. Akbar and Dana Lawless-Andric as a mechanism to garner broad university support and coordination, while focusing on increasing retention, persistence and graduation rates of students who are underrepresented in higher education, students who are first in their families to go to college and are from limited income backgrounds.
In AY16-17, former President Warren named the DEEDS strategy as a University-Level Initiative and charged then Provost Diacon to oversee this effort. Dr. Pringle was named as the strategy implementation lead with
N. J. Akbar and Dana Lawless-Andric leading the workgroup focused on expanding efforts and removing barriers to student success.