The University of Puget Sound campus has been actively working to meet its diversity, equity and inclusion goals and objectives during the fall 2021. Under the leadership of President Crawford and the Cabinet, and with the initiative and efforts of many members of the campus community, the university is making important changes towards creating a more inclusive and equitable institution. Thank you to each of the people involved in making this progress possible. The efforts listed below are clearly aligned with the university’s Diversity Strategic Plan. The Plan identifies as goal one, recruitment and retention efforts. Many of the initiatives listed below are designed not only to strengthen our effort to increase our structural diversity but to increase persistence to graduation by improving campus climate which is the second goal of the plan. A number of the activities listed here point to the efforts to meet goal three to develop, strengthen, remake and repair relationships with diverse constituencies from Tacoma and the broader region, and goal four to develop opportunities for alumni to contribute in multiple ways to increase access, cultivate a culture of inclusive learning, support systemic transformation, and strengthen relationships with alumni from underrepresented and minoritized groups. In particular several of the initiatives undertaken by the division of finance and administration and the office of university relations are focused on goals three and four.
- A proposal advocating for the inclusion of a DEI component in faculty evaluations was submitted in September 2021 to Faculty Senate.
- The PacRim Program has evolved to advance access and equity, including supporting experiential learning, so that all students can consider participating in this signature program.
- Implemented two workshops for faculty search committee chairs, both focused on inclusive search decision making, in partnership with Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity (VPIED).
- Faculty from Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University are engaged in conversations to explore the possibility of a collaboration on Indigenous Studies. These conversations are expected to continue during the spring semester.
- Individual units, programs, and departments across Academic Affairs also regularly engage with inclusive equity issues and training to enhance understanding and approaches.
- All staff members have been asked to engage in at least two diversity related professional development opportunities during this academic year.
- Communications is also revising the institutional style guide, to ensure the use of inclusive language and appropriate DEI terminology.
- The Vice President for Communications participated in a Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA) 3-hour training on Implicit Biases and best practices for hiring diverse staff. The VP also participated in training provided on DEI best practices in hiring by the Office of Equity and Diversity.
- Continues to collaborate closely with Access programs and the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) to build a stronger relationship with the Tacoma Public Schools and strengthen recruitment strategies.
- The Office for Intercultural Engagement led an implicit bias training with campus visit program leaders in October.
- Staff is engaging this spring in diversity, equity and inclusion training though a DEI consultant, continuing the work that was started last year.
- Through the work with the DEI consultant, the Office of enrollment is equipping the division to be more inclusive in their engagement strategies.
Finance and Administration Division
- Facilities Services is currently updating an accessibility study of major campus buildings and major outdoor pathways to inform prioritization of improvements within available funding. To assist them, Facilities Services engaged an architecture firm with extensive experience with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable guidelines. This effort will be ongoing through the spring semester. When completed, the study will, among other things, include cost estimates that will help inform prioritization and timelines.
- Division staff have been engaged in DEI trainings. Examples of these trainings are as follows: a) the Logger Store staff has engaged in reading and discussing several articles on diversity and inclusion pertinent to their functions, b) Dining and Event Services staff will be participating this spring in a training session facilitated by Tolu Taiwo on the use of pronouns and LGBTQ inclusive language, c) the Facility Services leadership team participated in training such as Blanchard Management Essentials modules and Crucial Conversations, and d) Human Resources staff is working through the Healing of Racism handbook.
- In collaboration with Technology Services, Finance staff are devising a plan within PeopleSoft to better capture additional vendor demographics, including women, minority and veteran-owned businesses, emerging small businesses, and local (Pierce County) businesses. Once populated, this will allow visibility as to where university dollars are spent across supplier demographics, and will facilitate consideration of purchasing guidelines that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
- The Office of Human Resources offered three DEI professional development opportunities for staff members in the fall semester through and in collaboration with the OIED. All workshops were facilitated by the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity and were designed to help faculty and staff develop skills in inclusive communication.
- Human Resources is collaborating with the OIED to design training for search committees to help diversify the pool of applicants and utilize an equity lens in hiring decision-making.
- The Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Chief People Officer had an initial conversation with the Vice President of Institutional Equity and Diversity to explore how we might best include a DEI component in staff yearly performance evaluations. They will be working on this issue during the spring semester and engaging different constituencies across the university in the process.
- Human Resources offered two training sessions covering the University’s policy and procedure prohibiting sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct, and continues to offer two online courses through Everfi: a) Managing Bias and b) Diversity: Inclusion in the Modern Workplace.
- Human Resources' Training Specialist participated in a DEI certification program through the University of South Florida. She been sharing this newly gained knowledge with her colleagues.
- Technology Services sees technology as a great equalizer enabling people to have access to resources they might not otherwise, and has focused its DEI efforts on the accessibility of education and the distribution of tools and technology to those who need greater access. This has included laptop and Chromebook checkout, loaner equipment checkout including USB microphones, cameras, assistive listening, and other technology related equipment. Technology Services has also provided hardware tokens as checkout equipment to students who don’t have access to cellphones so they can use the multi-factor authentication system.
Office of the President
- Supported the onboarding and work of the new Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity.
- Provided resources for several book groups to read and discuss the book Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson in collaboration with the Tacoma READS program.
- Office staff have been engaged in reading and discussing several books focusing on anti-racism.
- Revised the Office of the President’s mission statement to center social justice.
- The office is engaging a nationally recognized leader and scholar in cultural humility to facilitate a workshop on this topic with the President's Cabinet and other leaders across the university.
- Continues to prioritize outreach to Puget Sound’s minoritized alumni, parents, and friends in an effort to involve them in the life of the university, especially as related to the support of minoritized students and faculty. Is working to develop a more robust volunteer leadership pipeline that more closely represents the desired university population. Staff are focused on the ongoing development of a robust and diverse trustee candidate pipeline of graduates of the 2000s, persons of color, individuals who identify as women, and individuals who live outside of the Pacific Northwest.
- The division has been keenly focused on diversifying the alumni volunteer candidate pipeline and establishing Latinx and Asian/Pacific Islander alumni affinity groups.
- Continues to work on developing an alumnus mentoring program.
- Continues to seek resources, in alignment with university fundraising priorities as defined by the president and the board of trustees, and in response to unique opportunities that may emerge, for diversity-, equity-, and inclusion-related initiatives and programming.
- Participates in, and seeks appropriate leadership opportunities related to, university initiatives to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community. The OUR Management team engaged in a two-hour equity lens professional development training during fall 2021. The entire staff is currently assessing their intercultural competency through the Intercultural Development Inventory, will conduct a 2-Day Intensive DEI training and will follow that training with monthly Deliberate Dialogues on diversity, equity and inclusion during the spring semester 2022.
- Member of OUR participate in regular, continuing conversations and workshops designed to engage campus community members in dialog and actions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- OUR is reviewing and adjusting division policies and procedures (P&Ps) to ensure alignment with university diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- OUR is also reviewing and adjusting university relations goal-setting processes to ensure alignment with university diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
- One of the office’s goals is to review and adjust division hiring, orientation, and staff development, engagement, and retention practices – formal and informal – to ensure that the Office of University Relations builds diverse candidate pools for open positions, eliminates bias during the hiring process, and perpetuates an environment in which persons of all backgrounds can be successful and thrive.
- Members of the division are currently examining and revising division norms – formal and informal – to ensure that University Relations is creating and perpetuating an environment that embraces and supports diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
- The Management team engaged in a two-hour equity lens professional development training during fall 2021. The entire staff is currently assessing their intercultural competency through the Intercultural Development Inventory, will conduct a 2-Day Intensive DEI training and will follow that training with monthly Deliberate Dialogues on diversity, equity and inclusion during the spring semester 2022.
- Review and analyze Puget Sound gift agreements with donors who established named endowed funds and/or named expendable funds to ensure that the purpose of the funds is aligned with the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Review Puget Sound gift agreements with donors who made facility (building, wing, room, and/or space) naming gifts to ensure that the commemoration of the individuals or entities is in alignment with the university’s DEI goals.
- With the guidance of the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity, Residence Life has created a standard response framework to address bias incidents that occur in the residence halls and the perpetrator is not known.
- Student Involvement and Programming staff spent two half days with the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity who helped lead the group through best practices for incorporating equity and inclusion into programs.
- The Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity will provide a session on mitigating bias in hiring processes prior to the start of the Assistant Director search for Security Services.
- The Office of the Chaplaincy partnered with the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity to strategize ongoing responses to antisemitism.
- Counseling, Health & Wellness Services (CHWS) continues to do bi-monthly Diversity Dialogues with pre-doctoral interns and professional staff.
- The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity is collaborating closely with Student Affairs in redesigning the Passages program for fall 2022, focusing on inclusive and diversity practices.
- Senior Leadership Team uses the following questions to frame decisions and conversations as a regular practice
- Were decisions today made with an equity lens? If not, do we need to reconsider?
- Whose voice needs to be added to this conversation?
- How does this decision impact our students? (all students)
- How do these decisions impact our teams?
- How do we communicate this information to the division as a whole?
University Counsel and Board Secretary
- University Counsel staff continue work to assure contract checklists reflect updated and current standards (e.g., insurance coverage expectations, diversity and non-discrimination principles in contracting) and to reinforce opportunities to consider underrepresented contractors, performers, vendors, etc.
- The Vice President and University Counsel and Board Secretary is working with the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity to plan a February workshop for trustees and the President’s Cabinet on diversity, equity and inclusion focusing on keeping an equity lens in decision making.
- University Counsel staff continue to support work of leadership (including the Office of the President and University Relations) and members of the Board of Trustees to build a more diverse and representative Board.
- University Counsel staff actively consider diversity, equity, and inclusion in recommending and appointing faculty, staff, and student representatives to Board of Trustees policy committees to help assure full representation. This is incorporated into the review process upon receiving nominations.
- As part of recognizing Constitution Day, University Counsel staff led a cross-functional team that developed a campus survey about the Constitution and supported faculty-led panel discussion on issues related to free speech and critical race theory in September 2021. Future Constitution Day programming will continue to find opportunities to encompass campus issues of diversity and inclusion.
- University Counsel staff conducted a review of contract authority/delegations for equity across positions. This review is incorporated into the process for approving all new requests.
- University Counsel staff have been engaged in reading and discussing several books focusing on anti-racism.
- The Vice President and University Counsel and Board Secretary and the Paralegal/Assistant Secretary to the Board participated in a training session led by the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity on mitigating bias in hiring processes.
- The Vice President and University Counsel and Board Secretary is participating as a member of a cross-functional group developing a standard land acknowledgment statement for the university.