President’s Task Force on Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Quietly Effective

New Committee to Continue Work in the Fall

Following his fall 2012 Opening Convocation address, former Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard appointed a Task Force on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (EID).  The EID was charged with “rigorously reviewing campus climate, recruitment and retention practices, curriculum, and community outreach efforts in order to develop a comprehensive strategic plan and to recommend initiatives, policies, and procedures that will increase equity and inclusion and allow Western to embrace and reflect a truly diverse society.” 

Since then the task force has been an influential force on campus, providing recommendations, best practices and valuable expertise.

In a recent meeting with the task force, Western President Randhawa thanked members for their excellent work, and informed them he would be appointing a new committee in the fall to continue their work, informed by results of a climate survey and the university strategic plan.

“The task force has made important contributions to the health of the University and our community, for which the entire campus community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Randhawa said.

Randhawa also thanked Karen Dade, associate dean of Woodring College of Education and current chair of the task force, for her leadership of the task force, and also recognized the Social Justice and Equity Committee of the Faculty Senate.

Many people on campus are not aware of the consistent work and accomplishments of the task force, said Dade.

“The work of the task force has led to many positive changes on campus,” Dade said, adding it has largely been “behind the scenes but very effective.”

Some of those accomplishments included: creation of a university-wide strategic equity plan proposal; recommendations for diverse recruitment and hiring practices; assistance in writing the multicultural initiative proposal; tribal liaison proposal, and LGBTQ center director proposal. 

Recommendations for next year include: finalizing the development of campus-wide equity, inclusion and diversity resource website; post analyses for quantitative and qualitative data collected to determine areas for improvement; campus-wide civility/civil engagement training; holistic approach for creating a new equity, inclusion, and diversity paradigm; fundraising campaign to support equity initiatives; and addressing specific needs such as greater support for Latino/a/x, the largest growing community on campus, and examining anti-black activities and attitudes on campus.

Assigned work, accomplishments and recommendations of the task force are available at: https://president.wwu.edu/files/EID%20PC%20Final%20Presentation%20.pdf.                 

Dade is concluding the second year as President’s Administrative Leadership Fellow, and said active participation on the task force was among her duties as a fellow.

In addition to Dade and Western Professor Bill Lyne, other past co-chairs of the task force have included Associate Professor Raine Dozier and Nick Sanchez, WWU employment inclusion manager.

Task forces, by their nature, sunset after accomplishing many of their duties. Moving forward, President Randhawa said he is committed to institutionalizing some of the work and recommendations of the task force, ensuring those are integrated into part of the “regular” work of relevant WWU offices and divisions

A new committee will be formed this fall “to continue serving this important role of creating and connecting with the campus community, actively seeking its input, and providing cohesion in our campus activities as we advance a more inclusive future we all aspire to, and deserve,” Randhawa said.

Randhawa said a few activities that immediately rise to the top are:

  • Recruitment of an increasingly diverse student body;
  • Increasing recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, and providing the right tools, incentives and expectations to departments for success in hiring;
  • Implementing the recommendations of the task force on Preventing and Responding to Anti-Semitism
  • Recruitment of tribal liaison and LGBTQ resource positions
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Monday, June 12, 2017 - 1:40pm