Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

April 27, 2017

New and noteworthy

The president’s new advisory committee to work with campus police

Part of the Division of Student Life, UWPD plays a vital role in establishing and maintaining a safe and welcoming campus environment. UWPD staff have standing partnerships with the Q Center, Housing and Food Services, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Intercollegiate Athletics, Health & Wellness, Health Sciences Administration and ASUW’s Student Safety Advisory Board.

In addition, a new advisory committee on campus policing will advise the president on campus safety, specifically as it relates to policing. The main goal is to support UWPD’s vision as a collaborative partner and leader in innovative campus public safety practices, adhering to values of professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence.

Members of the new committee will be appointed by the president, with consultation from the university governing and advisory entities. Careful consideration will be given to selecting members from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

The committee will begin meeting in spring 2017.

Growing support for minority-owned businesses

Last year, 39 percent of UW funds spent on goods and services went toward diverse businesses, including small, minority and/ or women-owned businesses. That figure eclipsed a previous business equity goal of 15 percent of the annual budget for UW procurement.

Fifteen percent of major capital planning and development projects now contract with small, minority and/or women-owned businesses, up from roughly 1 percent in previous years. This increase is due both to more inclusive business practices and a change in policy that enriches the pool of eligible diverse business contractors and subcontractors.

Through strategic spending, the UW’s three campuses are working to increase the opportunity for diverse businesses within our local communities through our equitable business practices — and ensure the UW contributes toward a more inclusive state economy.

Recent books by UW scholars address race and equity

Recent works by UW faculty address race and equity in the workplace, education, the historical record, medical research, pop culture and more.

Authors from left to right: Sareeta Amrute, Anthropology; Alexes Harris, Sociology; Asao B. Inoue, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Tacoma; Erasmo Gamboa, American Ethnic Studies; Juan C. Guerra, English and American Ethnic Studies; Bettina Judd, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; Suhanthie Motha, English; and LeiLani Nishime, Communication.

A new regents’ committee on equity and inclusion

Equity and inclusion are clear UW priorities, reflected at the highest levels. The Board of Regents — the governing body made up of community members appointed by the governor to supervise and manage the University — hold UW leadership accountable to its values and to the public.

A new diversity, equity and inclusion advisory committee, established in 2016, empowers regents to more directly support and advance the University’s goals on equity: for example, by prioritizing diversity in procurement and contracting.

New events and opportunities at the Center for Communication, Difference and Equity


The Center for Communication, Difference and Equity, run by Director and Associate Professor of Communication Ralina Joseph, has grown into a vital educational, research and community space for students and faculty on campus. In May, the center will produce a conference on racial ecologies, an event that will bring local scholars and activists together with scholars from across the country to exchange ideas, information and support. In addition, the center has organized a StoryCorps event for May to generate conversations on the theme of “the first time” experiencing racial discrimination. The center will make the digital archives available to UW scholars who are interested in issues of race, identity politics, inequity and storytelling.

The center will continue to provide educational, research and activist opportunities for students, faculty and community members to better understand and challenge how difference and equity shapes our world.

Provost SEED Funding for New Programs

UW schools and colleges are working toward their goals for diversity and inclusion with support from the Race & Equity Initiative. The Office of the Provost recently granted funds ranging from community projects to equity trainings, from actions that address implicit bias to workshops on inclusive leadership, and more.

The 12 schools and colleges that received funding to bolster equity-focused programs and events are:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Built Environments
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of the Environment
  • Evans School of Public Policy and Governance
  • Graduate School
  • Information School
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Social Work

Seed-funding has already been put to impactful and innovative use by schools and colleges. Projects include:

College of Built Environments
The Building Common Understanding conversation series is designed to support community among students, faculty and staff.

The iDEA Project takes an integrated approach to research, curriculum transformation, professional development and outreach around themes of

Teaching Resources

Since the 2016 presidential election, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has been providing resources and venues of support for instructors, staff and students.

According to CTL Director Beth Kalikoff, faculty, staff and graduate student instructors are voicing a common concern: how to manage course topics and discussions so that all students feel welcome, respected and safe. In a charged political climate, instructors want to create classroom environments that are inclusive of diverse voices and perspectives — and at the same time protect students against bigotry and hate speech.

In addition, skills common to so many disciplines — such as research, discourse, evidence analysis and critical thinking — take on renewed relevancy. “Helping students to learn these skills has always been part of the instructor’s charge,” Kalikoff says, “but now more than ever.” Of course, how faculty and staff instructors approach these challenges depends on goals and topics, instructor, discipline and student population. To address varying teaching contexts, the CTL has created new venues and resources for support:

  • Web resources: The CTL website now includes a post-election support and resources page, offering information on upcoming events and relevant articles, blog posts, teaching resources from other institutions and campus resources for students.
  • Events: The CTL is hosting peer-facilitated community conversations on “teaching after the election,” “teaching race after the election” and “teaching as a person of color after the election” — each session open to all instructors, but some are geared toward the distinct needs of faculty, teaching assitants or staff educator groups. Supplementary sessions have been added in response to high demand.
  • Departmental sessions: The CTL has designed sessions on discipline-specific questions, concerns and discussions.

While teaching contexts vary, Kalikoff says, “UW teachers are all united in their desire to provide students with the resources they need, and to use approaches that honor the course learning goals and the students in the classroom.”