Lauren Robel

You learn a lot growing up around the world. Few know that better than Provost Lauren Robel.

With a father in the military, Lauren has lived in more states and countries than she can count — an experience that afforded many life lessons. But one of her biggest takeaways was the importance of inclusion and hospitality — principles she's carried throughout her career and worked to instill in her communities.

Lauren earned her bachelor's degree in English from Auburn University in 1978. Life in Bloomington soon followed, and she began studying at the Maurer School of Law. In 1983, she entered the legal profession and noticed the dearth of women acting as mentors and role models. After joining the Maurer faculty two years later, Lauren made it a priority to support many of her students through mentorship.

Description of the video:

My name is Lauren Robel. I'm the provost at Indiana University-Bloomington. I grew up all over the world. My father was in the military, and so we lived in many countries and many states. Growing up in that way, I was always a new person wherever I went. I always had the experience of being the outsider and having the opportunity to learn what the new place was like and what the people who lived there thought. It made me feel very strongly about a definition of hospitality that, that came from Henri Nouwen. And it is this, it is, hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where a stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.


What is it that you do that encourages inclusion here at Indiana University?


I listen. I listen for times when I can make a connection. I listen for places where people are seeing barriers that I think I can knock down. And I listen for those spaces where I think people can find points of intersection. I mean, an inclusive environment is everything because we create a vibrant democracy by bringing all viewpoints to the table. We create vibrant classrooms, vibrant workplaces. It's what makes it possible for us to be better people, to exhibit more understanding, to learn. That's why we're here.

I worked a lot with my students on ways they could open those doors that their mentors—who often weren't like them—didn't think to open.