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Diversity

A diverse student body is an essential educational resource offered by the University of Washington.  Students and faculty educate each other, in the classroom and in many informal settings; they challenge one another's assumptions, they broaden one another's range of experience, and they teach one another to see the world from varied perspectives.

As you learn from others who are different from you, whether in terms of race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, ability, age, nationality and ethnicity, you’ll develop a stronger understanding of your own history, beliefs and values, and you’ll be better prepared to understand and work with others.

The diversity requirement

The University asks you to take no fewer than 3 credits of courses, approved by the appropriate school or college, which focus on the sociocultural, political, and economic diversity of human experience at local, regional, or global scales. This requirement is meant to help you develop an understanding of the complexities of living in increasingly diverse and interconnected societies. Courses focus on cross-cultural analysis and communication; and historical and contemporary inequities such as those associated with race, ethnicity, class, sex and gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, religion, creed, age, or socioeconomic status. Course activities should encourage thinking critically on topics such as power, inequality, marginality, and social movements, and effective communication across cultural differences.

These three credits will simultaneously satisfy other Area of Knowledge requirements and do not add to the total number of credits you need to graduate. Only students entering the University in Autumn of 2014 (or later) must meet the requirement.

Diversity majors and minors

Majors in American Ethnic Studies, American Indian Studies, International Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies provide opportunities for in-depth study of race, ethnicity, gender, class and other aspects of diversity. Programs of study in Anthropology, Geography, and Law, Societies & Justice also include significant attention to culture, power and difference in society. Majors and minors are offered in many of these areas. In addition, students may choose a minor in Human Rights or Disability Studies to further their knowledge of diversity. Speak with your adviser and investigate the many ways that you can incorporate the study of diversity into your education. Plan studies around areas that interest and excite you as you imagine entering a diverse world.

The Diversity minor is a 25-credit, interdisciplinary program that strengthens students’ knowledge and understandings of critical aspects of diversity. Areas of emphasis include foundations of diversity; arts and culture; historical, global, and contemporary perspectives; and an applied experience, such as service learning or an internship.

Topics and example courses

Histories, cultures, & experiences of people of diverse backgrounds in the US

Learning about different cultural traditions within the U.S.; how people of diverse backgrounds have shaped their communities and have used political movements, art, and literature, to express their views and visions for change.

Courses in American Ethnic Studies, American Indian Studies; History of the Americas (HSTAA); ANTH 307; GWSS 200

The study of race, class, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexuality, nationality, and religion

Learning how race, class, gender and other categories of difference are socially constructed, flexible, and overlapping; how identities and their representations change over time; how different identities intersect with one another and are shaped by power and privilege.

All foundations courses in the diversity minor; LSJ 332; ENGL 466; ANTH 207, 228, 428; JSIS B 324; many literature courses

The study of peoples in other countries, their histories, cultures, politics, economic status, and religions

Understanding how historical legacies such as colonialism have shaped contemporary global realities; the ways migration, immigration, and citizenship affect different populations; definitions of diversity and priorities for change that differ from country to country.

ENGL 316; GEOG 123/JSIS 123), GEOG 230, 310; HIST 260; SOC 355, JSIS C 325, JSIS B 333; many courses in history, international studies, comparative religions

Critical thinking and analytical skills

Analyzing the impact of decisions on different groups of people; exploring controversial issues related to diversity; solving complex problems and creating innovative solutions.

AFRAM 334, LSJ 327, POL S 327; PHIL 206; LSJ 420

Study of the effects of institutions—government, education, science, politics—on diverse individuals and groups

Analyzing and critiquing public policies that affect various groups of people in different ways; understanding how social trends affect institutions and the lives of individuals; developing conceptual tools for analyzing bias, prejudice, and discrimination in society.

AIS 335; CHID 260; COM 306, 473, 489; GEOG 342, 377, 439, 476, 479; PHYS 451/ GWSS 485; ANTH 150, 437, 474; most LSJ courses

Communicating and working collaboratively across differences

Listening to others, especially to those whose ideas and beliefs challenge your own; analyzing situations to understand the ways in which individual or group differences affect interactions; identifying sources of tension and negotiating conflicts effectively.

JSIS 202, JSIS A 302; COM 478; PSYCH 380