Leading Edge Masthead
Photograph of Ujima Donalson

A Message from Ujima Donalson, POD Director

It’s become increasingly clear to me that race and equity are complex issues that many people have trepidation about tackling, and I think leaders feel that doubly. You may be grappling with your own comfort level and subject knowledge while also being tasked with supporting your staff equitably, making fair and sound decisions around hiring and performance management, and confronting any bias or discrimination you see in the workplace.

Through the Race & Equity Initiative, I’ve engaged on a completely different level with both new and known people across campus over the past year. I’ve had spontaneous conversations sparked by articles and lectures related to the Initiative, participated as a table facilitator at multiple roundtable discussions offered for students, and worked with colleagues from across the University on a workshop/training team for the Initiative. Along with feeling both personally and professionally enriched, I’ve gotten a much more robust perspective on what’s happening across the University. We all know how easy it is to feel siloed at such a vast institution, and it’s been refreshing to be exposed to our students and to academic areas I hadn’t been in contact with before. Read More

Photograph of Jeanette James

Race & Equity Initiative Spring Workshops
Interview with Jeanette James, Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Projects, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

What can you tell UW leaders about the Race & Equity Initiative workshops that are being piloted this spring?

The Race & Equity Initiative has been active for more than a year now. We’ve engaged a lot of folks in dialogue and have been engaged by various groups, such as Black Lives Matter, all of which has helped inform the work of the Initiative. Up until this point, much of the attention has been focused on students, but now training is being piloted that will lead to the development of an anti-bias leadership program for staff and faculty.

From May through July, we’re presenting multiple sessions of three different, three-hour workshops at all three campuses, for a total of nearly 20 offerings. Our aim has been to have at least 450 staff and faculty attend, and based on how registrations have been going, I believe we’ll exceed that. In fact, many offerings are already full, but people from any campus are welcome to attend sessions at any location as space is available. Read More

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” ~ Audre Lorde

Photograph of Phyllis Fletcher

Ask an Expert: How Progress Begins With Each of Us
Phyllis Fletcher, Managing Editor, Northwest News Network

I used to come out as a black person.

In the 1980s in Wallingford homes, on yellow school buses to Wedgwood and the Central District, in my childhood church in Fremont, and even on the job, I would find ways to let my white friends and neighbors know.

My timing was tight like an ‘80s sitcom. Before someone could say something racist, after it was too late but when I had a quick exit, or when I saw any opening at all, I’d say it almost too fast. But at least it was out of the way and I could move on—to being questioned, avoided, or—on a good day—accepted. Read More

“Social mindbugs can give us both false feelings of faith in people we perhaps shouldn’t trust and the opposite—feelings of distrust towards those whom we should perhaps trust.” ~ Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald, Blindspot

Photograph of Suzallo Library

POD Courses Align With Race & Equity Initiative

The charge of the Race & Equity Initiative to combat racism and inequities within the UW community gets right to the heart of POD’s mission to foster positive change in individuals and organizations. A number of POD’s offerings align with the Initiative’s goals and provide staff with tools to confront individual bias and racism, transform institutional policies and practices, and accelerate systemic change. This year, stalwart offerings like Supervising in a Diverse Workplace and Cultivating Cultural Competence are joined by Cultural Proficiency, introduced this spring, and Race, Bias, and Dissonance, which will debut this fall.

“It’s important at whatever level—faculty, staff, or student—that you grow in competence and are aware of where you and your organization are,” explains POD Director Ujima Donalson. Consequently, each of these POD courses is designed to meet participants where they are on a continuum of cultural understanding in order to build knowledge and skills to advance along that continuum. Read More

“When I teach difference, I present it, like diversity, as an aspirational word, but unlike diversity, I present it as something inseparable from equity. Difference and equity create change and do not simply avoid offense. In fact, suturing difference to equity means that you might just offend. In my definition, difference embraces the qualities of connection and pride for multiculturalism along with the realities of intersectional identities, power, and privilege.” ~ Ralina Joseph

Links for Leaders

  • Race & Equity Leadership Workshops. Space is still available in the afternoon session of Cultural Competence in Bothell (6/15), as well as in the following sessions of Race, Bias, & Dissonance: Tacoma (6/2) and Seattle (6/22—just added).
  • Race & Equity Resources. Check this page regularly for links to topical articles, videos, websites, and the like.
  • What’s the Difference With "Difference"? Watch Dr. Ralina Joseph’s lecture, which was part of the Equity & Difference: Keeping the Conversation Going series co-sponsored by the UW Graduate School and the Alumni Association.
  • Staff Diversity Hiring Toolkit. Consult this resource for help with increasing your outreach efforts and building an inclusive applicant pool.
  • Race Implicit Association Test. To better understand your own biases, take this or other IATs on social attitudes on the Project Implicit website. Project Implicit is a non-profit co-founded by UW psychology professor Anthony G. Greenwald, Ph.D., who also co-authored Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.

SLP Logo

SLP Hits the Road

Level 1 of the Strategic Leadership Program will be held on the Bothell campus this August. We’re excited to be partnering with UW Bothell and hope supervisors who work there or happen to live in the area will take advantage of this special offering. Register for SLP.

LEAD Interview Now Online

Award recipients Ujima Donalson and Susan Templeton, who co-facilitate SLP, were interviewed at the national LEAD2016 conference in February, and you can read and watch interview excerpts in the May issue of Leadership Excellence Essentials. The Strategic Leadership Program received the top Leadership Excellence award for Best Corporate University, a category honoring internal leadership development programs designed for and offered to leaders within an organization. Link to the custom UW edition of Leadership Excellence Essentials or to the video interview.


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