Provost's Statement on Diversity
Diversity is essential for an excellent University. Competition among the top universities for the best faculty, staff, and students will only be possible with an unwavering commitment to a campus that values difference and is diverse. Improving the environment for all members of the University community, with a special focus on the climate for women and members of underrepresented groups, is critically important to Washington University. We welcome difference on this campus, in the form of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, geography, socioeconomic status, age, politics, religion, philosophy, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Chancellor Wrighton asked me to develop and implement a plan to strengthen the diversity of our University community. Since I assumed the role of Provost in January 2009, this has been, and continues to be, one of my highest priorities. I report regularly to the Board of Trustees on issues of diversity. Concern for this issue is truly University-wide.
In 2009, I sought input from several existing committees as well as a number of individuals who had been thinking seriously about diversity on both the Danforth and Medical campuses. I was impressed with the commitment that exists to this issue and thankful for the honest and open dialogue that resulted. I supplemented these meetings with visits to several universities to learn how they support diversity. All of these discussions confirmed in my mind that Washington University has a real opportunity for progress and leadership in this area. Success depends on mutually supportive actions by the administration, faculty, and staff.
As Provost, I dedicate a significant portion of my time to diversity. In 2010, I appointed a vice provost, Adrienne Davis, whose portfolio is faculty diversity and development. Vice Provost Davis and I, along with the entire Office of the Provost, work together to achieve our diversity goals.
Faculty Diversity Goals
- Increase the proportion of women and underrepresented faculty at all ranks through hiring, retention and promotion. (Gender Pay Equity)
- Increase the number of women and underrepresented faculty in leadership positions at WU.
- Ensure that we continue to pay all faculty equitably. The Provost will work closely with the Senate Council to evaluate faculty pay equity on a regular basis. (Gender Pay Equity)
- Foster an intellectual and administrative climate where all faculty have opportunities to contribute to the direction of the University.
Our Office regularly updates University leaders, Board members, and National Council members on progress and challenges and enlists their help and support in this effort. In particular, we are working with individual school deans to devise plans to:
- Develop initiatives to promote faculty leadership, with an express purpose of involving women and minorities more deeply in University life.
- Recognize women and underrepresented faculty through endowed chairs and internal awards and fellowships.
- Establish ombudspersons for both the Danforth and Medical Campuses who will provide confidential, independent, nonpolitical, and knowledgeable counsel and advocacy for faculty members. (Ombuds)
- Ensure accepted search procedures are followed, particularly those that encourage diversity as an important criterion in searches. This will include supporting annual workshops for search committees. (Diversity Initiatives)
- Develop target of opportunity recruitment policies (where they do not exist). (Target of Opportunity)
- Collect and report data on the representation of women and underrepresented groups in the applicant pools, finalist pools and offers made for all faculty searches.
- Strengthen faculty retention through mentoring and other processes. (Diversity Initiative)
- Initiate third party exit interviews for faculty who leave Washington University.
- Create standards for accountability to evaluate progress within schools, departments or divisions.
Faculty Diversity Benchmarks
Washington University's own faculty diversity data will be benchmarked by school (and within Arts & Sciences, by division) against the proportion of women and underrepresented faculty members at peer private research universities. We will monitor our progress at regular intervals with the goal to be a leader among our peer group.
Financial resources to advance diversity goals will be made available through the Office of the Provost. The University has committed significant resources to enhance the strategic hiring of underrepresented faculty in the Danforth schools. In addition, the Vice Provost administers several programs and initiatives designed to support diversity in faculty hiring, retention, promotion, and development. The Medical School has a separate fund for recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty.
In order to encourage transparency and ownership of this issue we provide data to the Educational Policy committee of the Board of Trustees, to the Faculty Senate, and to the entire University community. These data include numbers of women and underrepresented faculty at Washington University as well as among our peer institutions. In addition, a separate website is dedicated to diversity and related initiatives. (Diversity Initiative)
Outlined above are actions that largely focus on faculty diversity. However, the Washington University plan must be an interdependent effort. We work with other administrators and faculty on diversity issues pertaining to staff and students, as well as faculty.
I look forward to working with all members of our community to meet our diversity goals. Washington University should be known as a place that strongly supports diversity of all kinds and is dedicated to developing innovative ways to improve the environment for all members of our community.
Edward S. Macias
Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor
in Arts & Sciences