New committee to help shape diversity and inclusion strategy​​​

Group will recommend next steps to turn ideas into action

​​Members of the university community engage in conversation during "Race & Ethnicity: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue," held on campus Feb. 5 and 6.

​Building largely on the momentum generated by “Race & Ethnicity: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue,”​ held Feb. 5 and 6 at Washington University in St. Louis, a newly formed committee has been created to develop a strategy and action plan to help the university become more diverse, inclusive and welcoming.

Appointed by Provost Holden Thorp, PhD, the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, which will be composed of students, faculty and staff, will be tasked with recommending a two-year plan to turn the ideas presented by the university community into tangible, meaningful steps forward.

“The robust conversations that took place at the ‘Race & Ethnicity’ event made two things clear — that there is a lot of energy and passion around issues of diversity and inclusion on campus, and that we have many great ideas from our community that we need to engage,” Thorp said. “This is an opportunity for us not only to continue that dialogue, but also to make good on our promise to look for ways to ‘do better and be better’ in our day-to-day interactions.

“I’m grateful to the committee members for their commitment to this important work and look forward to hearing their recommendations.”

Committee members are:

  • Amee Azad, undergraduate student in Arts & Sciences;
  • Legail Poole Chandler, vice chancellor for human resources;
  • Rudolph Clay, head of library diversity initiatives and outreach at Olin Library;
  • Adrienne D. Davis, JD, vice provost and the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law;
  • Denise DeCou, diversity and inclusion leader at the School of Medicine;
  • Grant Farmer, PhD, postdoctoral research associate, Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine;
  • Jill D. Friedman, vice chancellor for public affairs;
  • Julia Macias Garcia, associate director of student involvement and leadership and director of the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program;
  • Marissa Hardwrict, social work PhD program manager at the Brown School;
  • Ashley Macrander, doctoral student and Lynne Cooper Harvey Fellow in American Culture Studies in Arts & Sciences
  • Will R. Ross, MD, associate dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine in the School of Medicine;
  • Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering and co-director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine in the School of Engineering & Applied Science;
  • Jennifer R. Smith, PhD, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and associate professor of earth and planetary sciences;
  • Nancy Staudt, JD, PhD, dean of the School of Law and the Howard and Caroline Cayne Professor of Law;
  • William F. Tate, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, vice provost for graduate education and the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences;
  • Molly Tovar, EdD, director of the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies and professor of practice; and
  • Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration and professor of practice.

A five-person executive committee will lead the development of the university strategy, then present the proposal to the steering committee for critique and endorsement.

Once completed, the committee will then develop an action plan recommending specific projects and initiatives to be implemented over the next two years, with many ideas stemming from suggestions presented by participants and delegates at the “Race & Ethnicity” event and subsequent conversations.

The steering committee will begin its work this month, with the goal of having a strategy and action plan adopted by Washington University administration before the start of the 2015-16 academic year.