Washington University in St. Louis welcomes difference on our campus in the form of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, geography, socioeconomic status, age, politics, religion, philosophy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and veteran status.  We seek to bring these different backgrounds and perspectives together to address the great problems facing the world.

Faculty Diversity Goals

  1. Increase the proportion of women and underrepresented faculty at all ranks through hiring, retention and promotion.
  2. Increase the number of women and underrepresented faculty in leadership positions at Washington University.
  3. 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.
  4. Foster an intellectual and administrative climate where all faculty have opportunities to contribute to the direction of the university.

Specific Initiatives

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, 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Develop target of opportunity recruitment policies (where they do not exist).
  • 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.
  • 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 School of Medicine 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.


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.