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Preface – Why Diversity Matters

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Bridging our nation’s political and social divides is a challenge of understanding diversity. The University of Washington’s history, commitment, administrative guidance, faculty and staff expertise, dedicated student involvement, and the support and engagement of the external communities make a tremendous contribution to addressing diversity in higher education. One of these contributions is gaining understanding and practical knowledge of how diversity transforms all of our endeavors and how diversity in the realm of student affairs informs and strengthens diversity in academic affairs.

The term diversity covers an array of differences—race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, religion, nationality—differences that have deep impact on the very ways people construct and assess knowledge. Recognizing and supporting these interconnected differences have supported increased student and faculty success, brought about disciplinary revolutions, encouraged scholarship across disciplines, and has yielded powerful new research. Incorporating and promoting diversity throughout our institution, and at all levels, is paramount in our continued and future success as an institution. Continued transformation of our campuses, admissions, students, staff and faculty experiences, the climate as a whole, and our relationships with our varied communities off the campuses is essential. Institutionalizing the effective ways we have worked with diversity in the various program-level efforts is critical to providing the most rigorous, enlightening and powerful educational environment possible.

The following Diversity Appraisal Report is the first step in a series of opportunities to reflect and build on accomplishments, struggles, and possibilities. Many of our diversity initiatives have met with success, and we are now poised to create the institutional commitment to transformation and innovation that is required to sustain a diverse, rich and rigorous learning environment. Collaboration has been one key to success in our diversity initiatives. We invite students, faculty, staff and community members from Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses and Washington State to work toward achieving the recommendations highlighted in the following report.

I wish to thank members of the Diversity Appraisal Steering Committee who guided the appraisal process from the outset, read and analyzed reports and oversaw the preparation of this report. I especially acknowledge and thank members of the Diversity Appraisal Writing Team: Johnnella Butler, Gail Dubrow, Gabriel Gallardo, Ruth Johnston, Felipe Mendez, Helen Remick and Betty Schmitz. Appreciation is extended as well to colleagues Ana Mari Cauce and Debra Friedman for reading and responding to the final report draft. And lastly, special thanks and appreciation go to Pamela Ralston, report editor, who crafted the present document from many disparate pieces with great talent and

Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barceló
Vice President for Minority Affairs & Vice Provost for Diversity

NextSection I. Steering Committee Observations, Challenges, and Priority Recommendations