Washington State University Tri-Cities, the only public four-year institution in south central Washington, serves minority and first-generation college students, as well as those who choose to attend college while living close to home. We are a campus increasingly rich in its cultural diversity and actively pursuing Federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).
In March 2008, Chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities, Vicky L. Carwein, appointed a Diversity Plan Committee to:
- Provide guidance for the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty, staff, and student body;
- Provide recommendations for the development of an environment that is nurturing and safe for all individuals including faculty, staff, students and visitors regardless of human differences;
- Develop goals and strategies to create a culture in which diversity is valued; and
- Identify and advocate for policies and services in support of issues related to diversity.
The Diversity Plan committee included campus administrators, faculty, staff, students and members of the community. In the process of developing this draft plan, the committee closely examined the 1998 Campus Diversification Plan which was a second revision of the initial Diversity Plan developed in 1992. The Diversity Plan Committee gratefully acknowledges the groundwork provided by the members of the 1992 WSU Tri-Cities Diversity Committee and the members of the 1993-1997 Multicultural Advisory Committee. The 2010 Diversity Plan represents an integration and summary of the thoughts, ideas and recommendations of a cross-section of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community members. Given the ongoing nature of creating a diverse campus, modification of this plan will be necessary.
While developed with the specific needs of WSU Tri-Cities in mind, the Diversity Plan reflects diversity as an identified value and goal of the 2008-2013 Washington State University Strategic Plan. In regard to the value of diversity and global citizenship, the Strategic plan states, “We embrace a worldview that values diversity and cultural differences and recognizes the importance of global interdependence and sustainability.” Accordingly, one of the primary goals of WSU’s Strategic Plan includes embracing an environment of diversity, integrity, and transparency as well as creating an institutional culture in which diversity is the norm.
Diversity is defined as differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and other human differences. In addition to having a student body, faculty and staff that are more closely aligned with the composition of the region’s population, the emphasis on diversity includes developing a culture and environment in which diversity is valued and utilized.
The Diversity Plan Committee proposes implementing specific strategies to advance the following five goals in parallel:
GOAL 1 Administrative Structure
Provide leadership and administrative structure which promote, coordinate, and monitor diversity efforts in all areas of the university.
With the assistance of a standing diversity council, ensure that administrative bodies of the university are aware of and contribute to diversity goals, strategies and recommendations.
GOAL 2 Work and Learning Environments/Climates
Provide avenues for individual, institutional, and community change that will enhance the academic and employment environments for the well-being and success of all individuals in the community.
Develop and promote a university climate that is supportive of all members of the campus community.
Strategy 2.2: Enhance the academic and employment environments by advocating for the well-being and success of all individuals in the campus community and providing opportunities for diversity training.
Goal 3 – Student Enrollment, Retention, and Degree Completion
Provide structures for increased access to higher education and academic success for a diverse student body, evidenced through recruitment, retention and degree completion rates comparable across all subgroups of the student population.
Enhance student, parent, and community outreach efforts
Make inventory of, and build relationships with, partners within WSU and in the Mid-Columbia region.
Use holistic admissions.
Increase student support.
Enhance student recruitment.
Continue to develop informational materials for diverse students and about diversity services.
Consider use of intern extensions of student ambassadors.
Hire full-time diversity outreach person.
Develop signature annual event with students taking a leadership role.
Identify and overcome barriers to retention as well as develop retention strategies including ones that utilize students.
Goal 4-Faculty, Staff Recruitment, Employment and Retention
Provide structures to recruit, employ, develop, and retain a diversified work force that includes all underrepresented groups but is not limited to those classes protected by federal and state law.
Identify sources to place job postings.
Evaluate employee/development training mechanisms which create a culture that encourages career-long growth and excellence.
Ensure that all applicants are aware of the university’s commitment to diversity.
Identify and overcome barriers to retention and advancement.
Goal 5: Curriculum Diversification
Provide a premier education and transformative experience that prepares student to excel and assume roles of leadership, responsibility and service in a global society.
Utilize styles of pedagogy that engage students and help them realize their highest potential, a curriculum that is inclusive of multiple perspectives, and methods of course delivery that are culturally relevant.