Equity, diversity, and inclusivity are aspirations that can only be achieved by both the critical examination of institutional practices that permit and perpetuate racism, sexism, and heterosexism and the resolve to make changes based on that critical examination.
As a public comprehensive university, we need to educate all students to understand and be able to challenge unequal structures of power and privilege. As an institution, we also need to move from a deficit view to an assets-based view of our students. Each student, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, or sexual orientation comes to our campus with a myriad of experiences, knowledge, and potential. Traditionally, the academy has expected students to conform to a rather narrow understanding of what it means to be prepared for college. We have expected students to demonstrate specific academic behaviors and display certain knowledge as a marker of preparedness and willingness to learn. At a predominately white institution like the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UW-Eau Claire), these expectations have aligned with dominant values and experiences. As we continue to diversify our campus community for the good of all students, faculty, staff, and society, we must take on a perspective of valuing and capitalizing on the diverse assets that all students bring to campus. Finally, to achieve meaningful change toward greater equity, diversity, and inclusivity, we need to set expectations, reward contributions, and provide development opportunities for all faculty, staff, and students.
The Enrollment Management Task Force Report (2014), the Campus Climate Survey (conducted in 2015), the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Plan (2016), and "Creating Our Future: UW-Eau Claire 2020 Strategic Plan" each emphasize the urgent need for progress in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusivity. This Academic Master Plan commits faculty and staff to specific reforms and benchmarks to help us achieve these aspirations.
As we seek to diversify our population for the good of all students, faculty, staff, and society, we must take on a new perspective to value the diverse assets that all students bring to campus, and seek to fulfill our mission as a higher education institution to provide enticing, effective, efficient, and equitable education for all students, beginning with who they currently are as citizens and learners and providing challenging opportunities to learn and grow.
Priorities + Actions
Provide all students with tools for understanding systems of power, privilege, and oppression; for recognizing and overcoming cultural bias; and for appreciating the diversity of our local and global communities.
- Require all students to have two learning experiences to satisfy the Liberal Education Core Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (R1) learning outcome: Use critical and analytical skills to evaluate assumptions and challenge existing structures in ways that respect diversity and foster equity and inclusivity.
- Integrate equity, diversity, and inclusivity core vocabulary and intercultural communication skills into FYE courses and experiences.
Achieve a basic level of cultural competence among all faculty and staff.
- Provide all faculty and staff with professional development to meet the expectation of cultural competence and, for some, to provide leadership in equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
- Include one or more questions related to equity, diversity, and inclusivity on student evaluations of instruction.
- Revise faculty and staff evaluations to include recognition, reward, and expectation of contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
- Provide training for all faculty and staff engaged in search and screen processes on how to attract broad and diverse candidate pools and avoid both overt and hidden biases.
Increase efforts by all programs to recruit, retain, and close opportunity gaps for students of color.
- Use equity scorecards and program review to survey and assess equity, diversity, and inclusivity-related resources, achievements, and challenges in departments and programs.
- Collaborate with Admissions, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Blugold Beginnings to reform practices to improve recruitment and retention of greater numbers of students of color.
- Include equity, diversity, and inclusivity language in policies and personnel documents.
Recruit and retain more faculty and staff of color as outlined in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Plan and "Creating Our Future: UW-Eau Claire 2020 Strategic Plan".
- Develop an equity, diversity, and inclusivity-based multicultural post-doctoral and dissertation fellows program.
- Increase the percentage of faculty and staff of color from 12% to 15% by 2020.
- Establish an annual Excellence in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Award for recognition of faculty or staff who make superior contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
- Recognize interdisciplinary programs such as American Indian Studies, Hmong Studies, Latin American Studies, and Women's Studies for their essential contributions to EDI.
Purposefully and intentionally focusing on developing positive perceptions, critical thinking and supportive feelings allows us to build the campus environment we want. To do this, we need to acknowledge and understand that the campus citizenry represents many different perceptions, thought, and feelings. Doing so will allow us to set the stage so all will grow toward the ideals of EDI concepts.