Race & Equity Initiative Committee Action Plan

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In April of 2015, President Ana Mari Cauce established the Race and Equity Initiative, noting that race and equity are central to the University of Washington’s core mission and personally important to her, as well as to UW faculty, staff, and administrators. During her speech President Cauce reminded us that “societal justice isn’t a destination, a problem that can be solved in a one and done manner, it’s a struggle… you keep working.”

It is in this vein that the Race and Equity Initiative Committee structure our work plan for the future. This is a living document, one that will be continually updated as this committee vows to “keep working.” Within the next year, we hope to facilitate the campus transitioning from a model in which Equality is championed to one which is centered on Equity. This marked difference in approaches means that we as a campus will recognize the historical context that populations of our campus come from and that our programs and initiatives are tailored to suit. 

We understand and are proud to note that across our three campuses — within our schools, colleges and programs — departments, centers, enterprises, programs and groups of individuals have set goals of their own for improving the UW experience of students, faculty and staff of color. We hope that the goals and action steps of the Race and Equity Initiative will support that work and extend it, enabling us together to make the University of Washington more equitable. 


Goal #1: Addressing Institutional Racism 


Effectively address bias & racism in staff and faculty hiring practices; increase the retention and success of faculty, staff, and students of color. Effectively address institutional racism through trainings and collaborative work. 

In support of Goal #1 the following will take place:

Address hiring practices for staff and faculty; examine institutional practices and policies and take concrete action to address acts of racism and to proactively support more diverse hiring practices across campus. Address the lack of support programs to retain faculty, staff and students of color; examine what programs do exist and the need to expand programming.

Action Steps

We recommend:

  1. In 5 years full-time faculty demographics in each department must align with that of our student body. Each year, on average, departments must be 10% closer to that goal, and a committee led by the EVCAA, faculty assembly and other stakeholders will provide oversight.
  2. A new staff position — Director of Faculty Equity & Inclusion, be created that specifically works to recruit and retain diverse (race, gender, nationality and sexual orientation) faculty applicants for positions at UWT.
  3. That Institutional faculty retention programs be instituted using best practices for the retention of Faculty of Color. e.g. mentoring initiatives, funding for research that focuses on diversity and includes UWT students, systemic mechanisms to link with community partners.
  4. A central review process for all faculty and staff applications brought to campus interviews that helps determine if diversity was a priority in the search.
  5. The campus provide incentives to hire faculty of color, e.g. salary, research funds, course release.
  6. Gather information from search committees in the form of rubrics, questions, practices so that an effective toolkit may be created and on-going assessment of such efforts can be done.
  7. Trainings on issues of Race & Equity for faculty/staff that can serve as consultants for search committees.
  8. The addition of students of color on hiring committees for staff as well as more thoughtful and engaged participation in faculty hiring.
  9. Expand on-boarding process for staff and faculty to include issues on Race & Equity.
  10. Report to the university at large how we are addressing institutional bias and racism periodically (annually or biannually), using the assessment data from item #3 above.

Address the retention, recruitment and resources for students of color 

Action Steps

  1. Support Student Success Task Force in student retention efforts.
  2. Give RSOs who do events/programming on issues of Equity more resources.
    1. Funds for events
    2. Space
    3. Acknowledgements
  3. Initiate Chancellor’s Student Diversity Leadership Group.
  4. Increase the support for Bridge Programs (programs available to students during the summer before they attend UWT, so that they may earn credits and become acclimated to the campus) that acknowledge the needs of our student body.
  5. Institute a Bridge program for Transfer Students.
  6. Institute an Orientation Day specifically for Students of Color.
  7. Add learning modules that address microaggressions/implicit racism during orientation for all students.
  8. Student organizations have found it difficult to organize due to the new class schedule therefore we recommend bringing back Husky Hour Monday through Thursday.

Goal #2: Provide Opportunities for Faculty, Staff and Students to Acquire Shared Language and Practices on Race & Equity 


Organize workshops, discussion forums, and institute resources on Race & Equity that engage the entire campus community. Topics should include understanding and addressing white privilege, anti-racism, and equity issues.

In support of Goal #2 the following will take place:

Host continual conversations to deepen our understanding of whiteness, race, equity, social justice, and provide the University of Washington Tacoma community tools and skills for effective dialogue that will help create a more equitable campus.

Action Steps:

  1. Develop open forums to ensure that students, faculty and staff — at various levels of experience — can engage, learn and participate in dialogue about Race and Equity, structural racism, whiteness, privilege, and the practice of anti-racism in our daily positions.
    1. Create a facilitator group to co-lead discussions
    2. Evaluate and measure success via participation levels and feedback.
  2. Form an independent Equity Reporting Committee charged with addressing student, faculty, and staff concerns on acts of discrimination, microaggressions and racism on campus and in the classroom. This committee will be comprised of faculty, students, and staff.
  3. Ensure that all of University of Washington Tacoma’s leadership (e.g. cabinet, deans, directors) have the tools, resources and training to create and support institutional change.
  4. Support and continual funding for implementing systematic pedagogy trainings for all units on campus that will foster more equitable classes and classrooms - e.g. SEED, writing program pedagogy workshops.
    1. Initiate the launch of a Diversity Research and Teaching Institute.
    2. Institute will provide funding to research topics surrounding Race & Equity

Goal #3: Assessment of our Campus Climate and our Ongoing Initiatives


Conduct Campus Climate Assessment to help us better understand the student, staff, and faculty experience with regard to race and equity

In support of Goal #3 the following will take place:

Action Steps

  1. Conduct climate assessment for students, faculty and staff that gathers the voices of key constitutions, using qualitative and quantitative methods.
  2. Assess the experiences for students who attend classes in the evening.
  3. Assess the programs and events already taking place around issues of Equity on campus.
  4. We recommend that a more robust Institutional research unit be supported. One that tracks a more diverse set of data e.g. retention of students with disabilities, underrepresented faculty attrition, a unit that publishes annual public reports for campus.
  5. We recommend that a Visiting Scholar Review of campus surrounding Race & Equity happen yearly. This Scholar can also provide workshops and lectures on relevant topics as well as conduct an independent review of campus progress.