Following delays, officials to select diversity audit firm by end of the month

Media Credit: File Photo by Jack Borowiak

Former Provost Brian Blake said the two proposals, created by two separate firms, have been shared with faculty and other GW community members for feedback.

After delays in the process of selecting a firm to conduct a University-wide diversity audit, officials expect to reach a decision by the end of this month.

Former Provost Brian Blake – who left his position last week to become the president of Georgia State University – said earlier this month that officials are choosing between two proposals submitted by two firms, which have been shared with faculty and other GW community members for feedback. He said the audit, which was slated to wrap up in “late spring” after it was announced in January, was delayed because the firms needed “more information” than officials anticipated.

Officials commissioned the audit in hopes of understanding and improving diversity within areas of the University like faculty hiring and campus police relations, which will culminate in a diversity action plan for the University. Blake said GW community members have provided “positive” and “comprehensive” feedback to the two firms about their proposals.

“It looks like one of those two are going to be adequate for us moving forward and it looks like we’ll get good consensus from all these groups in contact,” he said.

Blake declined to comment on the names and details of the two firms or their proposals.

He said administrators have shared the proposals with all the deans and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement before gathering their feedback and sharing the proposals with the Faculty Senate’s subcommittee on diversity, equity and inclusion. He said officials will share the proposals with student leadership in “diverse backgrounds” over the summer to include student input as the next phase of the diversity audit.

Blake said officials started with five to six firms but narrowed the list down to two because some were more “specialty oriented” and did not meet the “comprehensive” requirements officials aimed for.

“This would have to be an overarching firm that supports us, looking at us at a high-level, and maybe give us a framework for our work,” he said.

Blake said officials also sought to improve diversity at the University through reforms in three areas – faculty hiring, financial aid and the GW Police Department.

He said Chris Bracey, the vice provost for faculty affairs, is assessing ways to hire more diverse faculty and Jay Goff, the vice provost of enrollment and student success, is working to address equity challenges in the financial aid process. He added that GWPD Chief James Tate has been working to improve GWPD’s relationship with the University community.

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