Newsletter Article

Winter 2021 Updates from the Diversity Steering Committee

This year the Diversity Steering Committee (DSC) pushed forward several new projects and initiatives. Here are some highlights.

DSC Climate Survey

In the past, the DSC has conducted two department-wide surveys of the department’s climate toward different aspects of diversity. This survey was edited in 2020 and released in January 2021 with the goal of administering the climate survey annually. Going forward, each year we will administer the climate survey, present results to faculty, and work with faculty to create a response plan to address the results of the climate survey.

URM Recruitment Efforts

DSC is compiling resources to support underrepresented minority (URM) students in applying to graduate school (e.g., summaries of graduate student manuals, information on graduate admissions). We plan to add these resources to our website. We are also in the process of developing an annual virtual URM recruitment event to encourage these students to apply to the University of Washington and demystify the graduate application process in general.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Syllabus Review

In 2020, DSC created a rubric for creating more inclusive and equitable course syllabi. We are now engaging in a large project now to audit syllabi of graduate (and later undergraduate) classes taught in our department. Syllabi are being evaluated and reworked with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion content to improve classroom environments and support faculty in creating inclusive, and equitable course practices, as well as representative content and material.

Creating a Channel for Reporting Bias

In our commitment to creating inclusive spaces, DSC has worked alongside others in the department to create a channel for reporting bias incidents in the department. Included in these efforts are the creation of a Diversity Advocacy Team, which includes DSC members, faculty, and staff. The reporting form and more information are available on the Bias Reporting tab of the DSC webpage.

Miscellaneous Updates

In 2020, the department began setting aside funds for diversity-related work performed by graduate students through the DSC. Multiple graduate students are now funded for hourly work as DSC RAs. DSC has also updated their webpage, which now includes profiles of faculty and student research.

The DSC looks forward to supporting graduate students in exploring diversity science in their coursework, research, teaching, and other domains of engagement within and outside the UW.  We are always welcoming greater participation from students and faculty. Please contact a member of the leadership team (Dannielle Whiley <>; Kim Bourne <>; Noah Triplett <>) or join us on Slack for more information or to ask how you can be a part of one of our upcoming projects!

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