Diversity Strategic Plan

Executive Summary

Eastern Washington University (EWU) is a regional, comprehensive public  university located in Cheney and Spokane, Washington with satellite programs in Vancouver, Everett and Bellevue, Washington. EWU is dedicated to providing quality education and access to opportunity for all students. Because our diversity makes EWU a stronger community, we aim to foster a culture of respect, integrity and inclusiveness. EWU seeks to achieve our mission to expand opportunities for personal transformation through excellence in learning by providing critical access to first-generation students, underrepresented populations and other students who may not have the opportunity for higher education.

The strategic plan for diversity had its beginnings in an institutional history that comprises various multicultural academic units and diverse initiatives designed to reflect the history of multicultural populations, culturally reaffirm underrepresented students and to provide awareness on issues of difference. Our desire that EWU  reflect the nation’s diversity led to a concerted effort to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for the entire campus community. Eastern Washington  University President, Mary Cullinan, PhD, recognized a need for the addition of a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) at EWU and announced to the campus in early  2016 that a search for a CDO would commence in the fall of 2016. In March 2016,  President Cullinan appointed a diversity and inclusion task force. As a result of their research, it was decided that an executive-level vice president for diversity and inclusion would be hired with a direct reporting line to the president.

The full inclusion and representation of underrepresented faculty, staff and students has been a nationwide dilemma within higher education since the academy’s inception. Historically higher education served to educate the gentry or wealthy landowning males. No other populations were included. The challenge of diversifying the academy continues to plague higher education institutions and ultimately the workforce. Diversity of people, ideas, thoughts and beliefs have become central in the nation’s fabric with demands for equality for all people taking center stage within every facet of the academy.

To remain a viable global institution, it is imperative that higher education reflect the diversity of the nation to remain economically competitive. A lack of diversity results in misperceptions that only the majority faculty hold the keys to academic learning. When students do not see diversity reflected within the university, the results can have a staggeringly negative impact on the overall climate and on the recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff.

The Vision

The Office for Diversity and Inclusion will establish itself as a state and regional resource for diversity expertise and inclusive excellence. Our vision for inclusive excellence includes attracting and retaining the talents of diverse faculty, students and staff to facilitate teaching, learning, scholarship and service in a  welcoming climate.

Timelines and Benchmarks

Goal 1
Outcome: University leadership will provide written statements articulating a commitment to diversity through recruitment and retention strategies, hiring policies, print media, verbal expression and the website stating their overarching commitment to diversity by fall 2019.

University leadership will promote, encourage and communicate a commitment to diversity that strives to cultivate a culture of inclusion. University leadership is essential to building a more diverse and equitable institution.

– Leadership will articulate a bold diversity statement through printed materials, documents, websites and communication.

– Diversity will be defined as a value to Eastern Washington University.

– Leadership will review policies and procedures for disparate impact and assess new policies on underrepresented faculty and staff.

– Leadership will create pathways to advance leadership opportunities for underrepresented faculty and staff.

Goal 2
Outcome: By year five (2023) increase the percentage of underrepresented faculty and staff by 5 percent

Improve campus diversity by prioritizing the recruitment and retention of talented faculty and staff that reflect and support a multicultural community.

– Become an affiliate member with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Program.

– Provide training for academic leadership, faculty and staff on understanding diversity and creating an inclusive campus climate.

– Faculty and administration will participate in workshops on recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from underrepresented backgrounds.

– Create a Multicultural Faculty in Residence Program as an incentive for recruitment and retention of diverse faculty.

Goal 3
Outcome: By year five (2023) increase the percentage of underrepresented students by  5 percent

Enhance the recruitment and retention of historically underrepresented students.

– The Office for Diversity and Inclusion will provide resources and programming to our diverse student body through the Multicultural Center, the Pride Center and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

– Recruit multicultural students of venues frequented by underrepresented populations.

– Monitor demographic trends in student populations to prepare for shifting priorities in outreach and recruitment.

– Increase recruitment of Hispanic/Latino students with the goal of becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution.

– Expand outreach efforts at historically Black colleges and universities, Native American Serving Institutions and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

– Utilize the diversity ambassadors to provide awareness and student leadership opportunities.

– Expand efforts to increase campus accessibility as it relates to access of buildings and access to informational materials for disabled persons.

– Increase overall diversity programming to strengthen and unify the campus community.

Goal 4
Outcome: By fall 2019, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Human Resources will have an active diversity recruitment plan with a focus on innovative methods for increasing the diversity of faculty and staff.

Collaborate with Human Resources to develop and enhance policies that will attract a diverse candidate pool and increase diverse hires.

– Recruit externally and in diverse sources to create adequate and diverse pools

– In developing job descriptions, be clear, but as broad as possible in describing the competencies and experiences needed for the job.

– Recommend all job applicants respond to the following prompt as part of their application packet: As an equal opportunity employer with a multicultural staff and student population, we are interested in how your qualifications prepare you to work with diverse faculty, staff and student populations representing various cultures and backgrounds that may be different from your own.

– Recommend search committee members receive annual training on fair, accessible and equitable search processes.

– Review applicant and interview pools to ensure diversity of the candidate pool. Address pools that lack diversity, and work with human resources on strategies such as extending recruitment, adding additional diversity sources, reevaluating the posting language, and/or reposting especially if the pool is underutilized in an area of an affirmative action goal such as women or people of color.

– In selecting an interview team, consider including individuals who will bring diverse outlooks, and who are respectful of different cultures and characteristics. Recognize the potential to bring unintended biases to the process, and address this by having a clear and open discussion among team members before beginning the interview process.

– Use the screening process to include rather than exclude candidates, to avoid missing attractive candidates. In reviewing qualifications, consider how each applicant might enhance diversity in the department and university.

– Through job postings, communicate Eastern Washington University’s commitment to equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion.

Goal 5
Outcome: Establish a Summer Institute for Diversity Education by 2019 that provides multicultural competency learning opportunities for the EWU Spokane-Cheney communities.

Develop and nurture campus and community connections that will promote equity and inclusion, highlighting the diversity of Eastern Washington University and the region.

– Distinguish Eastern Washington University as the leader in the Inland Northwest for inclusive excellence by practicing and promoting diversity, inclusion and social justice.

– Increase the visibility of Eastern Washington University’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, becoming a known resource to the campus and region on issues of equity and inclusion.

– Provide opportunities for education and training to the campus and surrounding communities, which will enhance the competencies of our students, faculty, staff and regional citizens when relating to a multicultural society.

– Establish a partnership with Mark Orbe, PhD, to bring the Summer Institute for Diversity Education (SIDE) to EWU and its regional partners, a 30-hour program that uses intercultural communication techniques to promote cross-cultural leaning, and builds diversity education and facilitation skills.

– Create pathways for diverse students at EWU to connect with community professionals and organizations regarding leadership development, internships, employment and job preparation in an effort to further diversity this community.

– Foster community and campus partnerships to support the sustainability of the division’s emerging initiatives.