Professional Staff Organization

2022 DEI Forum

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum: April 20-21, 2022

After a successful first Tri-Campus DEI Forum in autumn 2021 around the theme of Community, volunteers from the UW Professional Staff Organization (PSO) and departments across UW’s three campuses again joined together to organize and facilitate a virtual 2-half-day Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) Forum, this time focused on Action.

Our goal was to create an intersectional space for those interested in advocating for equity to come together to share ideas, network, and build coalitions to advance anti-racism and social justice efforts across UW and beyond. This includes intersecting aspects of identity such as race, ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion.

This event has passed. check out the presentations, recordings, and other resources below!

Details of the 2022 DEI Forum:

  • Took place on April 20, 12-4pm; and April 21, 9am-1:30pm
  • Held on Zoom – recordings and slides will be posted under each session soon!
  • Check out the Mural Board, where attendees shared ideas and experiences.
  • Did you attend? Please let us know how it went for you–fill out the event survey!


April 20, 2022

view April 20’s recorded sessions!

12:00-12:15pm. Settling Into the Space

Welcome, check-in, how we got here, and where we hope to go.

Speaker: DEI Forum Planning Group

12:15-1pm. Panel: State of Diversity Update

A chance to hear from DEI leadership across the Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses about what work has been done, and what has yet to be done.


  • Chad Allen, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement; Russell F. Stark University Professor, Department of English
  • Jeanette James, Director of Strategy, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity
  • Jimmy McCarty, Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion, UW-Tacoma; Adjunct Faculty, School of Education
  • Caroline Titan, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UW-Bothell


1:00-1:45pm. Workshop: Disability Allyship

Looking to become a better ally to the disability community? This workshop is for you. This workshop will teach you about models of disability, preferred language, intersectionality, strategies to avoid ableism/disability discrimination, and information specific to disability in higher education.

Workshop Lead:

  • Christine Lew (she/her), Disability Resources for Students


1:45-1:50pm BREAK

1:50-3:10pm. Workshop: Strategic Planning: A Process for Engaging in DEI Work in Your Unit

The iSchool has approached affirming and integrating DEI work throughout the school by developing an Office of IDEAS, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, Sovereignty. Led by a team of three, the office addresses engagement across correlated sectors: Students, Staff, and Faculty. The team crafted a mission-oriented statement with a leading charge to develop an IDEAS strategic plan to govern its work. In developing the IDEAS Strategic Plan (SP), the team employed several preparation steps including administering a needs assessment and environmental scan. Thus, creating a diversity plan involves several steps to confirm that the unit is prepared to create a diversity plan that addresses diversity in a meaningful and relevant way.

Workshop Lead:

Annette Anderson (she/her, Black), Office of IDEAS, iSchool


3:10-3:15pm BREAK

3:15-3:30pm. Poster: EarthLab: Exploring ways to inspire equitable UW-community partnerships for people and planet

Research and experience shows that the complexity of environmental issues requires interdisciplinary, community-engaged cooperation, multiple knowledge systems and shared leadership. The EarthLab Innovation Grants Program provides early-stage funding to teams of UW researchers, students and partners from the wider community interested in developing innovative, equitable, actionable science and knowledge at the intersection of climate change and social justice.


  • Ben Packard, with support from Constance McBarron and Jessica P. Nagtalon, EarthLab


3:30-4:15pm. Panel: Sustaining Your DEI Community of Practice

After the initial work of building a community of practice, maintaining its momentum is another challenge — with the nature of DEI conversations and equity work adding another layer of complexity. The UW Information Technology Community of Practice will share their advice for how to build resilience into your community. We will share our lessons learned from building a community in 2019; growing and maintaining it through the pandemic; and strategizing for the years ahead.


  • DAWN CULLERTON (she/her), Senior Technology Specialist, UW Information Technology
  • KAREN MORRILL-MCCLURE (they/them), IT, Accessibility & Inclusion Lead, Washington Sea Grant
  • SHANE MCDOWELL (he/him), Senior Manager, Information Technology Operations, UW Information Technology
  • LAUREN MANES (she/her or they/them), User Experience Designer, UW Information Technology
  • CARA VANDYKE (she/her), Technical Project Manager, UW Bothell Information Technology


4:15-4:30pm. Day One Wrap-Up

Speaker: DEI Forum Planning Group


April 21, 2022

view April 21’s recorded sessions!

9-9:10am: Day Two Opening: Settling Into the Space

Settling Into the Space”]

Welcome, check-in, overview of the day.

Speaker: DEI Forum Planning Group

9:10-9:55am. Workshop: What We Owe Each Other: Addressing Harassment through Group Agreements

This session will be oriented around building both knowledge and skills around creating working environments in which minoritized communities can contribute and thrive free from harm. It will begin by providing some conceptual tools for understanding how race, gender, and other forms of identity can overlap to produce vulnerability and privilege. It will also discuss some of the concrete manifestations of these vulnerabilities in workplaces. It will then discuss how tools such as group agreements can assist in giving teams language for committing to standing with and for each other across

Workshop Lead:

  • Paige Sechrest (she/her), SafeCampus


9:55-10:40am. Workshop: How to Make Online and On-site Environments Inclusive for People with Disabilities

Whether in person or online, there are concrete steps that UW staff and faculty can take to ensure that their courses, presentations, meetings, and events are accessible to and inclusive of a diverse audience. This presentation will draw from Universal Design, disability studies, and the voices of people with disabilities to provide tips for creating an accessible culture for all.


  • Sheryl Burgstahler (she/her), Director, UW Accessible Technology & DO-IT, UW-IT; Affiliate Professor, College of Education
  • Kayla Brown (she/her), DO-IT Center (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology)


10:40-10:55am. Poster: The Center for Antiracism in Nursing

Recognizing that nurses play a central role in and hold major responsibility for the health of individuals and communities hit hard by historic racial inequity, the University of Washington School of Nursing is establishing the Center for Antiracism in Nursing. To shape the center and determine its priorities, listening sessions will be held scheduled in the near future to hear the interests of faculty, staff, students, alumni, nurse leaders, healthcare institutions, community organizations and professional associations. Kahlea Williams, Project Operations Manager in the Office of DEI-School of Nursing will present the process and rationale for the listening sessions.


Kahlea Williams (she/her), Project Operations Manager, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, School of Nursing

10:55-11:00am BREAK

11:00-11:15am. Poster: Inclusivity in Language

Inclusive language acknowledges, accepts, and celebrates differences. Through this intentionality, we can help change our own and others’ attitudes and positively impact our workplace culture for systemically underrepresented groups. In this session, participants will be presented an overview of how grammatical conventions have evolved and continue to change over time and discover the value of inclusive language. Participants will also learn why avoiding gendered and biased language is important in fostering inclusivity in the workplace.


Virginia Frausto (she/her), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist, Professional and Organizational Development

Bethany Hamamoto Robinson, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Analyst, Professional and Organizational Development


11:15-12:00pm. Workshop: Returning to the Roots of Care: Collective Care in the Age of COVID

Self-care has been a growing practice over the last several years as we have wrestled with the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, recent racial injustices, and political turmoil. This session takes us back to the origins of self-care, rooted in the Women’s Health and Civil Rights movements, which advocated for not only self-care in hard times but collective, communal care. We will question what “self-care” means during times when we are not in a position to tend to our own wellbeing, and what a more equitable and gentler form of “collective care “might look like within our institutions.

Workshop Lead:

Liann Yamashita (she/her), Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Harborview Medical Center


12:00-12:15pm. Poster: But What Do You Mean Really?: Managing Microaggressions

Unfortunately microaggressions are a common occurrence in daily life for persons of color and those who identify differently. It can be easy for them to ignore the incident as they do not want to escalate the situation into a conflict; however, these daily occurrences can cause long lasting effects on those who experience them. This poster has some tools to help disrupt and inform the individual who is inflicting the injury.


Keondra Rustan (She, Her, Hers) Assistant Director of Simulation, School of Nursing


12:15-1pm. Workshop: Driving Systems Change: A Blueprint for Advancing Inclusive Excellence

Over the past year, we have witnessed a proliferation of public statements and strategic plans from institutions and organizations committing their support to advancing diversity, equity & inclusion. However, many argue that transformative solutions require bold actions that are driven by intentional collaborations and authentic partnerships. This interactive session offers a model for partnership between staff, academic personnel and students by leveraging educational development to provide supportive learning and working environments. We also offer a change management framework for us to consider as we reconceptualize, develop and operationalize our equity-focused work from our own spheres of influence.


Tam’ra Kay Francis, PhD (she/her), Department of Chemistry

1:00-1:15pm. Forum Closing

Reflections and next steps

Speaker: DEI Forum Planning Group


Speaker Bios

Chadwick Allen

Chadwick Allen is a Professor of English and Adjunct Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington, where he also serves as the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement.  In his AVP role, Professor Allen also co-chairs the UW Diversity Council. 

Annette Anderson

Annette Anderson is the Program Director for UW Information School’s Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, & Sovereignty, (IDEAS). She works with her team to develop strategic processes that will lead to fostering a “Community of Belonging” in the iSchool.  Current work encompasses research on educational excellence/equity and policy for historically excluded peoples. Other areas of interest are pay equity, and women & leadership.

She has degrees in Political Science from UPENN and moved to the region to attend law school. Previous regional positions before coming to UW are Chief of Staff, Washington State Democrats, and Chief of Operations, Cross Cultural Health Care Program.


Kayla Brown

Kayla Brown is a counselor/coordinator at The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center, where she focuses on equity in higher education for people with disabilities. Her passions are community outreach, research, and disability activism. Kayla works one-on-one with students to work on goal setting, academic planning, and building a support system.

Sheryl Burgstahler

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. is the director of Accessible Technology Services at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the author/editor of several books and many publications and presentations on topics that include the transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary education, accessible online learning design, universal design of all aspects of higher education, and systemic change toward more inclusive campuses.

Dawn Cullerton

Dawn Cullerton is a Senior Technology Specialist in UW Information Technology (UW-IT). Cullerton manages and organizes projects, processes, and people; and provides innovative perspectives and solutions to internal and external customers. She is the At-Large member of the UW-IT Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice (DEI CoP) Governance Board where she ensures DEI CoP has a strategic focus and provides feedback to the Governance Board from across the internal teams.

Tam'ra Kay Francis

Tam’ra-Kay is a fierce advocate for equity and access to high quality STEM learning experiences. She has over 15 years of experience working with academic and research programs designed to provide holistic support for minoritized students. Her two-word mantra, “beyond category,” is the center of her work and research which examines STEM identity and educational development as part of social and cultural contexts both within disciplines and in transdisciplinary environments. Her efforts engage faculty, staff and students in the development of equity-based environments. She was recently named a “rising star” on a list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America.

Through her work, Dr. Francis provides resources and professional development to students, staff, and faculty who are committed to advancing equity-minded instruction and research opportunities. In March, the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) recognized her as the award recipient for Innovative Response, Social Justice for her leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives at UW. In May, she was recognized as the 2021 recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences at the Northwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Additionally, Dr. Francis has been nominated for the UW 2021 Outstanding Public Service Award.

Virginia Frausto

Virginia Frausto brings her deep commitment to diversity, access, and social justice to her role as POD’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Specialist. Her work focuses on improving organizational practices, promoting equity, ensuring our work is inclusive, and creating a safer working environment for BIPOC staff.

Bethany Hamamoto Robinson

Bethany Hamamoto Robinson’s professional focus is on data-driven policy and research and human resources. She is passionate about promoting equity and social justice, supporting underrepresented minority populations, community building, and finding new innovative best practices to implement on a unit- and university-scale. She is particularly passionate about creating spaces and opportunities for learners to grow and develop skills that are in-demand and highly transferrable.

Jeanette James

Jeanette James serves as Senior Director, Strategy & Planning for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) at the University of Washington. In this capacity, she supports DEI efforts university-wide including campus climate assessment and the Race & Equity Initiative. She also supports OMA&D in advancing the goals of its strategic plan and provides staffing support to the Board of Regents Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

Christine Lew

Christine Lew is a queer mad/mentally ill disabled-identifying CODA (child of Deaf adults), and the Program Operations Specialist for UW’s Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office. She is committed to elevating the voices and stories of Deaf and disabled people, and to creating inclusive, accessible environments for all. 

Lauren Manes

Lauren Manes is a User Experience Designer in UW Information Technology (UW-IT). Manes approaches her work to integrate new technologies with old-school library principles like user-centeredness, findability, and reliable information. She is a founding member of the UW-IT Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice where she helps her colleagues explore and tackle equity issues through events and facilitated conversations.

Jimmy McCarty

James “Jimmy” McCarty, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion. In this role, Jimmy coordinates diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives across UWT and its core constituencies by leading the Center for Equity and Inclusion, collaborating with faculty and staff across the university, and developing relationships with a diverse range of community partners across the Puget Sound region. He is also an Affiliate Instructor in the School of Education where he teaches courses in race, diversity, and social justice education.

Jimmy’s research centers on religious ethics, racial justice, restorative justice, and peacebuilding. He has presented this research at national conferences and has published his research in peer-reviewed journals of religion and law.

In his free time, Jimmy enjoys cooking with his partner (Desiree), walking his dog, reading, and working with others for social justice.

Shane McDowell

Shane McDowell fell in love with the University of Washington’s workplace culture and mission 22 years ago and has enjoyed the professional growth he has experienced here. Today his role in UW Information Technology (UW-IT) involves wearing 5 primary hats: managing the Network Engineering team, Network Operations Center, Network Project Management group and our Change Control board; and setting direction for the DHCP, DNS and IP Administration (DDI) service. McDowell is a member of the UW-IT Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice Partnerships team and enjoys the opportunities to meet other individuals advocating for change.

Karen Morrill-McClure

Karen Morrill-McClure is the IT, Accessibility, and Inclusion Lead at Washington Sea Grant (WSG). They provide IT support for WSG staff, including client computers, servers and networking/collaborative services. Morrill-McClure is passionate about justice, equity, diversity and inclusivity in tech. They support equity initiatives in the WSG Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategy Team, the Sea Grant DEI Community of Practice, and the UW Information Technology DEI Community of Practice Governance Board.

Ben Packard

Ben Packard serves as the Harriet Bullitt Endowed Executive Director of EarthLab, a visionary institute at the University of Washington that pushes boundaries and harnesses the power of collaboration to tackle environmental challenges, with urgency, focus and action on climate and its intersection with social justice. As the inaugural executive director, Ben is responsible for working strategically within and beyond the University to promote new learning and action to address environmental challenges by building relationships between the University and public agencies, tribes, private businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Keondra Rustan

Keondra Rustan is a doctorally prepared registered nurse with over 12 years of experience who is dedicated to DEIA through her works as a clinician, educator, and simulationist.

Paige Sechrest

Paige Sechrest is the Prevention, Education and Communications manager for SafeCampus, the violence prevention and response program for the University of Washington. She received her PhD from the political science department at UW, where she specialized in Black political thought and quantitative methodology.

Caroline Titan

Caroline Titan serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Washington, Bothell. In her current role, Caroline provides strategic vision, implementation, and evaluation of campus-wide DEI effort. Prior to joining UWB, Caroline served as Transformational Equity Leader for the Bellevue School District. In this role, she developed and led district-wide DEI training and coaching strategy for administrators and teachers. Caroline is passionate about understanding systemic equity from multiple vantage points and uses the best of research and practice to provide informed, adaptive, and creative solutions to DEI issues. She has worked for the Brookings Institution, Maryland House Majority Leader Anne Kaiser, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Urban Institute. She also has her Ph.D. and MA in Education Policy with a focus on Racial Equity from the University of Maryland, College Park and her BA in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In her spare time, she loves to read, teach fitness classes, cook Indian food, and explore the outdoors with friends.

Cara VanDyke

Cara VanDyke is a Technical Project Manager at UW Bothell Information Technology. She holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Systems from the UW Michael G. Foster School of Business which informs her understanding of how technology can support and improve business processes. While at the University of Washington, she helps teams execute projects within sustainable, repeatable structures. VanDyke focuses her efforts on the UW Information Technology Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Community of Practice Governance Board toward building partnerships with other organizations across the tri-campus.

Kahlea Williams

Kahlea Williams (she/her) is the Project Operations Manager for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the School of Nursing. She leads and facilitates many DEI projects within the School of Nursing, including facilitating the listening sessions for the Center for Antiracism in Nursing.

Liann Yamashita

Liann Yamashita is the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Trainer for Harborview Medical Center. Her work focuses on providing education to hospital staff so they may learn to meet patients and colleagues where they are, based on their unique cultural and social experiences.


Department of Surgery

Foster School of Business

Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center

Milgard School of Business, UW Tacoma

Professional Staff Organization

UW Bothell Information Technology

UW CoMotion

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