Action Steps

Our stance of anti-racism and desire to cultivate a welcoming and respectful environment require ongoing listening and response. 

walk path leading to downtown seattle

The following actions are being taken in response to the June 2020 listening sessions and as part of SPU’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We will continue to update this website to provide information on ongoing initiatives. We welcome questions, comments, and additions to the existing content on this website. Access our feedback survey here.

Structural Changes and Resource Allocations: Developing an organizational structure to facilitate SPU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

  • In July, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was renamed the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIEX), representing the foundational belief that creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment at SPU is vital to pursuing excellence in all aspects of our institutional mission.
  • OIEX expanded its scope to include two additional areas of focus: faculty life (Faculty Life Office) and campus climate issues related to bias, discrimination, and harassment (Title IX/Section 504 compliance). This reorganization will help facilitate cross-unit collaboration and planning in key areas that will contribute to a more inclusive learning environment.
  • Dr. Raedene Copeland was appointed to a newly configured role within the Faculty Life Office. As the Assistant Provost for Inclusive Faculty Excellence, Dr. Copeland will help lead efforts to more intentionally integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in faculty professional development.
  • The search for a full-time Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator is underway. This position will contribute to establishing and maintaining a firm ethos at SPU that goes beyond compliance and encourages a safe, respectful, and supportive environment for all members of the campus community.
  • February 2018 saw the launch of the Advisory Council on Diversity and Reconciliation (ACDR), which provides input and direction to the design and implementation of universitywide diversity efforts. During the 2020-21 academic year, the group will shift its focus toward specific recommendations from the June listening sessions with the goal of bringing added accountability to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion and anti-racism.
  • In December 2019, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, in partnership with OIEX, developed a data dashboard that visually tracks, analyzes, and displays key metrics and data points to monitor SPU’s diversity progress over time to continue to foster a culture of data-driven assessment and evaluation in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion. To foster transparency, accountability, and shared ownership for achieving results related to racial equity and inclusion, the OIEX has published those metrics on its website.

Curricula & Trainings on Anti-Racism: Providing training and support to diversify the curricula and to develop skills for facilitating dialogues about race and racism.

  • OIEX, in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost, and Faculty Life Office, is implementing a three-part professional development workshop series and yearlong engagement focused on racial equity and pedagogy. Each workshop session will incorporate opportunities for faculty and student support staff to explore how their identities shape racial dynamics in the classroom; to cultivate skills to talk and teach about race and racism more effectively; and to examine how systemic racism shows up in the classroom and in their disciplines in order to reduce its harm.
  • To foster a culture of collegiality and support for anti-racist teaching, faculty and student support staff who participate in the racial equity and pedagogy workshop series will be encouraged to meet in trios or quartets to continue conversations and skills building in between workshop sessions and after the series. 
  • In June and August, a number of SPU faculty participated in a 21-day personal and professional development initiative sponsored by Academics for Black Survival and Wellness – a group of Black counseling psychologist and their colleagues who practice Black allyship.  The initiative was designed for non-Black academics to honor the toll of racial trauma on Black people, resist anti-Blackness and White supremacy, and facilitate accountability and collective action. Faculty also participated in accountability groups organized by the School of Psychology, Family, and Community (SPFC) to encourage and deepen ongoing dialogue and learning.
  • Faculty and staff continue to participate in a variety of options for learning and growth in small groups. A number of Faculty Learning and Growth Groups (FLAGGs) offered through the Faculty Life Office during the fall quarter focus on topics related to race, racial identity, and anti-racism.
  • During the 2020-21 academic year, OIEX will continue to offer the DEI Workshop Series, a three-part professional development plan designed to equip employees with the habits of mind and tools to address diversity-related matters on campus and contribute positively to a culture of belonging at SPU:
    • Diversity 101: Exploring the What, Why, and How of Diversity at SPU
    • Diversity 102: Understanding Our Social Identities in the Context of Christian Community
    • Diversity 103: Becoming a Faith-Formed Inclusive Community
  • Upon completion of the DEI workshop series, participants will be able to apply their learning to real-life situations on campus by working collaboratively towards the development of a department-level diversity action plan. Action plans should outline specific steps for addressing and rooting out institutional bias and racism. 

Policies and Procedures Related to Campus Climate: Facilitating an environment of belonging with zero tolerance for bias, discrimination, and harassment through assessment of policy, reporting, and conduct procedures, and the development and implementation of department-level plans designed to encourage collaboration needed to support SPU’s universitywide diversity goals. 

  • As a mechanism to promote an inclusive community, a cross-departmental team has created an online anonymous bias-related incident reporting system. The University seeks to support students, staff, and faculty who have experienced bias-related incidents, educate the campus community about the harmful effects of bias, and hold individuals accountable for violations of University policy.
  • In response to consultant recommendations regarding employee experiences with SPU’s gender discrimination and harassment policy, an advisory committee was convened and moved forward on the implementation of an employee anti-bullying policy and anti-bullying complaint procedure. The new policy and procedure are intended to foster a work environment where the rights and dignity of all employees are respected.
  • The Dean of Students for Community Life is facilitating a review of student accountability data for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years to assess student conduct proceedings and educational engagement across racial and ethnic identities. Findings from the review will be used to inform continuous improvement, staff development, and engagement around anti-racist practices.
  • Our institutional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism requires broad participation across campus. The Departmental Readiness Evaluation (DRE) and Diversity Action Plan (DAP) are two parallel processes designed to encourage department-level planning and coordination needed to support these efforts.
    • By June 2021, all operational departments are required to develop a diversity action plan that outlines specific steps that will be implemented to contribute to SPU’s universitywide diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. The action plan is a critical step in bringing the work of diversity to the core of institutional functions, ensuring that it informs everything we do. A diversity action planning FAQ, department guide, and template are available on the OIEX website
    • By June 2021, all academic departments are required to complete the Departmental Readiness Evaluation (DRE). The DRE provides an avenue for department-level reflection, reporting, and strategic planning for diverse hiring, recruitment and retention, and the curricular integration of DEI and anti-racist work. The Faculty Diversity Committee will continue to provide oversight and guidance for this process. More information is available on the OIEX website.

Hiring, Retaining, and Supporting a Diverse Faculty and Staff: Developing comprehensive plans for promoting diversity and inclusion in faculty and staff hires, establishing retention efforts, and fostering a supportive and welcoming workplace for BIPOC faculty and staff. 

  • SPU continues to take steps to diversify its faculty and staff. Thirty-one percent of the 2020-21 new faculty cohort is comprised of U.S. ethnic minority or international faculty.
  • In August 2020, OIEX launched the Search Advocate Program, a new hiring initiative with the primary goal to promote equity, mitigate bias, and increase diversity in SPU’s faculty and staff searches. The inaugural cohort of search advocates includes 12 faculty and staff who will serve as equity consultants to search committees and hiring teams across campus.
  • During the Fall 2020 Quarter, OIEX will introduce a weekly support and discussion group for BIPOC faculty and staff that centers on Sheila Wise Rowe’s Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience. The conversations will take place once a week over a ten-week period.
  • University Ministries, in partnership with the Faculty Life Office, will continue to facilitate the following community groups, which provide opportunities for faculty and staff to create spiritually formative places and spaces of connection and community: Asian/Asian American Faculty/Staff Affinity Group; Black/African American Faculty/Staff Affinity Group; and the Latinx Faculty/Staff Affinity Group.

Last updated September 14, 2020

“It is our individual and collective responsibility to recognize and address the various ways our procedures, beliefs, values, assumptions, and operations leading to, or have resulted in, racial hierarchies, inequities, and injustices – the presence of any one of these restricts our community’s ability to flourish and inhibits our mission fulfillment. To accomplish this means we are more than a community that commits to not being racist; to one that embodies and operationalizes what it means to be anti-racist – eradicating racism and all of its evil effects.”
Daniel J. Martin, President
2020 State of the University Address
“As a Christian university, we affirm the inherent dignity, beauty, and sanctity of Black lives and take responsibility for addressing patterns of behavior and thought that violate the image of God and dignity of Black personhood. As we continue to listen and learn, and as we lament the ways we have fallen short, we resolve to work across systems to ensure that acts of racism, overt and subtle, have no place at SPU.”
Sandra Mayo, Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence
June 2020 Listening Sessions Message