Diversity Appraisal Report: Good news and bad news
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Vol. 22, No. 16
Diversity, like many of the high goals to which organizations
aspire, is as difficult to achieve as it is rich and rewarding
to experience. Its an ever-evolving but fine and necessary
Such sentiments shine through the UW Diversity Appraisal
Report, an in-depth, good news/bad news-style look at where
the University stands on all aspects of diversity. The report
was created last December by the Diversity Appraisal Steering
Committee at the original request of former President Lee
Huntsman in 2003, reinforced by President Mark Emmert.
Put in just a few words, the report states what while the
UW has made great strides in welcoming diversity in education
and the workplace many of the best campus innovations of the
last generation have been motivated by acceptance of diversity
at the UW much more remains to be discussed, and done.
Its an incredible foundation on which to plan for the future,
said Nancy Rusty Barcelo, UW vice president and vice provost
for diversity, who also heads the Diversity Appraisal Steering
Committee. It also has created a conversation on this campus
that is really necessary.
The 60-page report, which is available to all on the Internet
represents departments across all UW campuses reporting their
own progress and remaining challenges on the issue. The reports
are not uniform in their style or content, but that in itself
is symptomatic of how differently people think about this
subject, said Betty Schmitz, director of the Center for Curricular
Transformation and a member of the committee.
We let people tell us from their perspective, Schmitz said.
And there was great variation from the different departments.
She added, For me, what this diversity appraisal did was help
us understand that diversity is everybodys business.
But even as that process continues, Barcelo said, some definitions
will be needed. Indeed, one persons diversity might be another
persons tokenism. What do we mean by diversity? Barcel asked.
We cant even assume that people know. Still, she said, the
self-study process heightened awareness of diversity needs
among its respondents, and made them curious about what their
colleagues were doing both helpful steps, she said.
In a two-page summary, the Diversity Appraisal Report described
the UWs clear strengths as well as its ongoing challenges.
Here are the main points from those synopses.
Several of the Universitys offices, colleges and departments
have shown strength in:
- undertaking work on diversity despite lack of clear rewards
from the institution.
- expanding educational pathways to create a more diverse
undergraduate student population.
- partnering with diverse communities in the state to support
economic development, enhance educational opportunity and
help prepare students for college.
- collaborating to improve diversity in curriculum and
to address the issue in units stated missions, values and
On the other hand, the report also cites several diversity
challenges for the University, including:
- many different understandings and lack of clarity about
terms such as diversity, climate, minority and underrepresented,
hampering inclusive diversity practices.
- uneven implementation of institutional diversity goals
across units due to lack of understanding and agreement
on what practices, policies and behaviors support diversity
as a core value.
- a need to improve the climate to foster diversity throughout
the institution.* the need for agreed-upon benchmarks for
achieving greater campus diversity and evaluating current
- increasing coordination and communication among units
with effective diversity strategies so they suffer less
from isolation, and smoothing the way for good practices
to become institutionalized.
Following its review of the UWs assets and challenges, the
Diversity Appraisal Report listed a dozen suggested reforms
to improve campus diversity. These include:
- set institutional priorities for diversity and review
such policies as hiring, benefits, access, retention, promotion
and tenure in light of those priorities.
- increase outreach to populations now underrepresented
in higher education.
- reward and recognize good work done in student recruitment
and admissions at all levels, and ensure all academic units
support all students in their educational goals.
- continue to build partnerships and work with diverse
outside communities for economic development, cultural vitality
and educational opportunities.
- set high expectations for diversifying the faculty at
all levels, and reward success in recruitment and retention.
- increase attention to diverse climates across the institution,
with recognition of good work done.
- engage the University community on all campuses in discussing
of defining and integrating diversity as an institutional
and unit value and setting objectives for attaining diversity.
Barcel said she would like to see the University complete
its process of defining and increasing diversity on campus
over the next five years, but allowed that the issue is an
ongoing one for which no single answer exists.
The UW is a premiere university and we should become a national
leader in achieving a diverse climate, Barcelo said. And not
only that, The UW should have a leadership role in changing
higher education in general.
Funding available to implement ideas:
Now that the UW has its Diversity Appraisal Report, there
is $400,000 in funding available for ways to promote or implement
ideas, approaches and recommendations discussed in the report.
The Vice President and Vice Provost for Diversity and the
Diversity Appraisal Steering Committee are looking for innovative
proposals from faculty, staff and students at all three campuses
to help achieve the aims stated in the report.
The sponsoring groups are soliciting proposals in the areas
of greatest need as identified by the Appraisal Report. Those
- enhancing student development and improving the educational
experience of students;
- enhancing faculty diversity; and
- improving the campus, workplace and classroom climates.
Its expected about 12 to 15 grants will be funded, each with
a maximum single grant amount of $50,000. Proposals of up
to five pages should include detailed information on how the
project would be conducted, how much it would cost and how
it would impact the campus community.
The deadline to submit proposals to the Office of Minority
Affairs is March 18. For more information, see the Diversity
Appraisal Report Web page or contact the Office of the Vice
President and Vice Provost for Diversity, firstname.lastname@example.org,