CCAS officials plan to hire a DEI director

Media Credit: Danielle Towers | Assistant Photo Editor

The search for a DEI director follows broader efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the school over the past year, like the Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which officials launched in 2021 to bolster diversity in faculty and curricular offerings.

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences officials said they hope to appoint a diversity, equity and inclusion director for the school this fall.

Kim Gross, the CCAS vice dean for programs and operations, said a search committee of CCAS faculty and staff is working to select finalists for the DEI director position and will invite the finalists for on-campus interviews this fall. The search for a DEI director follows broader efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in CCAS during the past year, like the Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which officials launched in summer 2021 to bolster diversity in the school’s faculty and curricular offerings.

“This search is embedded in our broader commitment to inclusive excellence, which encompasses faculty searches, DEI events and programming, curricular inclusivity and the establishment of the CCAS DEI Council made up of faculty, staff and student representatives charged with advancing DEI initiatives,” Gross said in an email.

A political science professor is no longer teaching a human rights course after he defended racist comments that he made on a phone call with a provost. Students in the class said they filed bias reports after the incident, but feel “frustrated” because of ongoing instances of racism and discrimination across campus.

Gross said the on-campus interviews of the finalists for the DEI director position will include opportunities for “stakeholder groups,” including students, to share feedback on the search.

Gross said the DEI director will develop a strategic plan “grounded” in CCAS’ Inclusive Excellence Initiative. She said the director will also work with CCAS officials, the CCAS DEI council and faculty to provide diverse academic programming and support CCAS officials’ efforts to recruit and retain faculty and staff from marginalized backgrounds.

“This position will further advance the college’s commitment to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for our students, faculty, staff and other members of our community,” she said.

Officials created a team of 26 students, faculty and administrators in February to review GW’s diversity and propose recommendations to improve campus-wide diversity in spring 2023. The team launched a survey to collect data on the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion climate in April and officials will collect and review additional data and complete their reports on diversity at GW in the fall, according to their website.

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