Committed to inclusive excellence
Building our #OneWSU Community, Together

To our Cougar Family,

As leaders in our campus community and as Coug alumni, we are both committed to creating a culture and climate at Washington State University that embraces the ideals of higher learning: encouraging free expression, engaging in civil discourse, adhering to community standards, and creating forums for dialogue about differences in our community.

During the past several years, the University has made strides in offering programs to promote inclusiveness. We have reflected on our practice of equity and expanded our definition of diversity. But we must go further.

As we reviewed the recent concerns expressed and the formal requests made by our students, faculty, and staff to become a more inclusive and welcoming university, we identified areas in which we need to grow to better support our community members. We also identified several issues that prevent us from celebrating our achievements. Many of the issues raised relate to our lack of transparent communication about the progress of our efforts and the limited opportunities for community members to provide feedback, offer ideas, and join our initiatives.

Some of the highest priority concerns identified to date include:

  • The unavailability of annual progress reports from WSU departments and committees that are responsible for enhancing faculty and staff diversity
  • Poor internal communication about progress regarding the recruitment, persistence, and graduation of diverse student populations
  • The need for more frequent and comprehensive cultural competency training for students, faculty, staff, and administration
  • The need for additional training and education about WSU Executive Policy 15, specifically the sections about free speech, discrimination, and harassment, and the section describing available reporting mechanisms when incidents occur
  • The lack of consistent institutional support for student diversity-related events, activities, and programs, including the need to invite contemporary and relevant speakers to all of our campuses
  • The need to examine the courses that qualify for UCORE Diversity general education requirements for all students

Shortly, we will begin to form system-wide committees that will be charged with developing and/or implementing the necessary education and training to address many of these concerns. We also have begun the process of naming senior administrators, students, faculty, and staff to lead our community efforts in these areas, as well as other areas that have been identified as critical to moving us forward. To ensure the full participation of the entire University community, much of the committee work will be undertaken after students return in August.

One of the first realignments of resources relates to our current diversity efforts. In order to provide a central point of contact for faculty, staff, and students, we will reorganize the departments whose primary role focuses on diversity education, training, and student services: Diversity Education; Multicultural Student Services; the Access Center; the Gender Identity, Expression, and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC); and the Women’s Resource Center.

These departments will be aligned under a new associate vice president position to be created that will report to the vice president for student affairs. The position will partner with chancellors, vice presidential units, academic colleges, departments, and faculty. We will conduct a national search for the associate vice president, naming a search committee by June 15 with the expectation of a January 2018 start date. In addition, facility management of the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center will be transferred to the Division of Student Affairs.

Simultaneous with the search process, we will convene an external review team to assess our system-wide diversity efforts and to provide guidance on current scholarship, national best practices, and possible frameworks for a campus culture and climate strategic plan. Campus forums will be held in the fall to gather input directly from our community members.

We will provide regular progress reports to the community through this website. We also need your help. Please share your insights and suggestions about how we should proceed with building our #OneWSU community.

Go Cougs!

Daniel J. Bernardo
Provost and Executive Vice President
Office of the Provost
Campus Culture and Climate Initiative
Mary Jo Gonzales
Vice President for Student Affairs
Division of Student Affairs
Campus Culture and Climate Initiative
Student Affairs, Washington State University
PO Box 641013, Pullman, WA 99164-1013

Washington State University