The University Diversity Council is the primary advisory committee to the President on matters of diversity and equity at all three UW campuses. Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, Vice President and Vice Provost for Minority Affairs and Diversity, chairs the Council.
The Diversity Council was founded in 2001, in the wake of Washington State Initiative 200 prohibiting "preferential treatment" based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting. Answering a request by UW student groups, the University of Washington Regents, student leaders, and UW administrators signed a Diversity Compact on October 21, 2000. They pledged to improve diversity on the UW campuses through 19 specific initiatives, which are detailed in the Diversity Compact. Several individuals and groups encouraged the formation of a central administrative body focused on recruiting and creating a welcoming environment for underrepresented students, faculty, and staff. In particular, the Multicultural Organization of Students Actively Involved in Change (MOSAIC) and the Multicultural Alumni Partnership (MAP) played a key role in shaping the Council's mission and scope.
Members of the Diversity Council include members of the University administration, staff and faculty members; undergraduate and graduate students representing student groups and student government; and members of the community with an interest in diversity in higher education. The Council consists of two representatives of each major administrative unit, school and college, as well as representatives of affinity groups. The Council currently has three subcommittees: Staff, GBLTQI, and Disability.
Based on the results of the 2005 University Diversity Appraisal that identifies pressing diversity challenges, the Council addresses issues of diversity in the following areas:
- Mission and Goals
- Diversity Leadership and Governance
- Student Recruitment and Admissions
- Student Development and Retention
- Faculty Recruitment, Development and Retention
- Staff Recruitment, Development and Retention
- Community Outreach
Council members share diversity best practices, engage in institutional diversity planning, and make recommendations to University administration about pressing diversity issues. The Diversity Council meets as a full body once per quarter, excluding summer quarter. Meetings of the Council are open to the larger campus community and the public.