Mission & History

Between 1993 and 2013, UW Center for Curriculum Transformation promoted and supported curriculum development aimed at teaching about race, gender, ethnicity, nation and nationhood, class, disability, sexuality, religion and their intersections. The Center was created in 1993 through Ford Foundation funding and in-kind support from the Department of American Ethnic Studies and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education. The Center built upon significant expertise in curriculum transformation at the University that had developed as a result of previous Ford Foundation grants and the hiring of faculty members with expertise in the study of the various aspects of diversity.

Curriculum transformation asks faculty members to take a critical stance on power and difference in the classroom, interweave multiple perspectives, and integrate student voices and knowledge into the learning process. When Johnnella Butler and Fred Campbell—then Chair of American Ethnic Studies and Dean of Undergraduate Education, respectively—wrote the first project proposal for curriculum transformation in 1992, they recognized that student collaboration with faculty members would be essential to the process. The primary venue for this collaboration was an annual seminar during which faculty members and students examined new theory and pedagogy, participated in lively and often contentious discussions, and reworked courses to embed new knowledge and pedagogies.

Through 20 years of seminars, institutes, and projects, the Center worked with hundreds of faculty members who developed courses that reached thousands of students annually.  When the University faculty passed a diversity requirement in 2013, these courses, along with those in American Ethnic Studies, Disability Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and other disciplines, provided the necessary base for the requirement.

In 2001, the Center moved to the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, which was expanding its work with faculty on curriculum transformation, diversity research, and institutional change.

Betty Schmitz (Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity) was the Center director. Responsibilities for curriculum transformation have now moved to the Center for Teaching and Learning.

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