Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

Teaching about Race & Equity


“Societal progress is more of a conversation than a destination. At a university, we tackle difficult conversations every day while teaching the skills to do so. It is with this energy that we challenge ourselves to engage in self-reflection and work to increase our competency around issues of race and equity.”

– Jerry Baldasty, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President

How do we ensure all members of the UW community are educated and informed about the historical and social factors that lead to bias and racism so they are prepared to take action to address them?

It’s not enough to not be actively biased or racist. In order to not perpetuate injustice in our lives, our workplaces and our communities, we must ensure that we understand the complexities of race and equity and actively seek to develop cultural competence. In an institution of higher education, it is our job to foster both the knowledge and the desire to know more.


Students unfamiliar with injustices from the past will not recognize their lingering effects on the people, institutions and communities around us today. Faculty uncomfortable bringing current events related to race and equity into classroom discussions deprive students of the opportunity to engage in thoughtful analysis of difficult issues. Staff involved in hiring or admissions can unknowingly leave out deserving individuals from campus opportunities.


Advancing racial equity involves taking a close look at what goes on in our classrooms, what readings and content we choose to focus on, and teaching in ways that do not exclude students, accidentally or intentionally, from opportunities to learn. It involves making issues of race and equity a significant part of the curriculum, as the UW has done through the diversity requirement. And it means committing, as an institution of higher learning, to a way of learning about the issues so we can both identify and address bias and racism when we encounter them.


Many of you have already begun the work. You’ve organized and participated in teach-ins with our faculty, you’ve held rallies and marches, you’re serving on working groups and task forces addressing issues from wage disparity to barriers to access and so many other factors that lead to racial and societal inequity.


Teaching about Race & Equity Features

Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships

Students learn about diversity in the field of Engineering and gain skills to address equity in college and careers

Faculty Diversity Scholars Support Inclusive Teaching

Faculty Diversity Scholars from the three UW campuses help colleagues tackle issues of race and equity in the classroom