With the first year of “inclusive excellence” on campus coming to a close, a campus diversity committee intends to lay out a new definition and assessment of diversity within all aspects of UW.
Campus Diversity and Climate Committee member and UW graduate student Raul Leon said CDCC developed a four-step plan to address diversity on campus.
The first step is defining what diversity means on campus, while the second involves re-vamping the makeup of CDCC, Leon said.
The reason the committee wants to adjust its membership, Leon said, is to add more decision-makers so the committee has the power to make recommendations with a greater likelihood they will be implemented.
“It doesn’t fall on the committee to decide what is happening, but if the committee’s made up of people that actually have the power to make decisions and they make the recommendations, it’s likely those decisions will be implemented,” Leon said.
Steven Olikara, a UW sophomore and chair of the Associated Students of Madison Diversity Committee, said he feels modifying the members on the CDCC will help the committee achieve its goals. While Olikara does not sit on CDCC, he works closely with the office of the vice provost for diversity and climate and efforts on campus to promote diversity.
“It’s important for the central Campus Diversity and Climate Committee to evolve … to consider how we’re now defining diversity, different ways of approaching it,” Olikara said.
The third part of the plan is to create a tool to assess diversity on campus; the fourth step is to implement it.
Leon said the tool is not a scorecard, which is the tool of choice for the rest of the UW System, but instead a tool of accountability. It will measure diversity in every department and unit specifically, rather than UW as a whole, to ensure they are making progress with diversity.
“We’re trying to develop a tool that is not only going to measure how many people we have that are people of color, but a tool that will measure what other things integrate diversity as part of the core things the unit does,” Leon said.
The assessment tool will measure four or five different factors within each department and unit, such as campus climate, retention, diversity infrastructure and resources.
Referred to as an “accountability tool,” the tool will give departments and units an initial reference point and then measure the progress they make since the initial assessment.
Leon said he supports the plan because it gives the CDCC something concrete to work toward.
“The assessment thing is something that we could pilot and own as a committee,” Leon said.
The CDCC is still in the process of developing the tool, and Leon said it may be ready in time to test during the summer.
A proposal put before Chancellor Biddy Martin by Damon Williams, chair of the CDCC and vice chancellor for diversity and climate, also came up at a CDCC meeting earlier this week.
Leon would not comment on the proposal except to say Martin asked for ideas regarding how the diversity officer can engage in the diversity process on campus.
Williams could not be reached for comment.