Academic Administration

  • Lena Hill was promoted from Dean of the College to Provost on July 1, 2021.
  • Leslie Wingard Cunningham was named Associate Provost for Faculty Development in December 2022. As Associate Provost, Wingard Cunningham will serve as a member of the provost’s leadership team, working to cultivate a coordinated, intentional and robust effort to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion across Academic Affairs.

Academic Initiatives

  • General Education: W&L’s faculty has undertaken a multi-year effort to evaluate the university’s general education curriculum and propose revisions that ensure the curriculum will prepare students for success as engaged citizens in a global and diverse society. The new curriculum, which was approved by the faculty in 2022, will be phased in over a period of several years.
  • Teaching Evaluations: Bias in teaching evaluations can be a barrier to an equitable tenure and promotion process. Research has demonstrated bias based on gender and race in student evaluations, with variation across departmental instruments also causing inequities. The University Committee on Teaching Evaluations is studying best practices to bring recommendations to the faculty for improving our teaching evaluation processes.
  • The Harte Center for Teaching and Learning: Opened in Fall 2021, the state-of-the-art Harte Center serves two primary functions: supporting faculty development towards becoming ever-better teachers through workshops, experimental classrooms, presentations, practice space, and uses of new technology and techniques in teaching; and supporting an increasingly diverse student body through tutoring expertise, a writing and communication center, executive function support, group and individual learning sessions, and uses of new technologies for learning. Every academic undergraduate department and program has developed a DEI initiative.
  • The Ted DeLaney Postdoctoral Program: Established at W&L in 2020 through the university’s membership in the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, the program attracts several highly qualified faculty to teach courses, conduct research and mentor students each year.

Curricular and Co-Curricular Programs

  • The University launched The DeLaney Center, a new interdisciplinary academic center for teaching and research on Southern race relations, culture, and politics in honor of late professor of history emeritus Theodore “Ted” Carter DeLaney Jr. ’85. Dr. Michael Hill was named the inaugural director of the center in 2022.
  • The School of Law launched a new clinic focusing on Civil Rights and Racial Justice in 2021. Professor Carla Laroche leads the clinic, whose initial focus is on housing and employment cases.
  • Law, Justice, and Society: In 2019, the university created a new program in Law, Justice, and Society, an interdisciplinary approach to legal studies that draws from faculty and resources in all three schools at Washington and Lee. The program offers coursework and an undergraduate minor.
  • Coursework: Diversity in the curriculum is a core commitment of W&L's faculty. Newly added courses include The Politics of Memorials: Making and Shaping History, African American Intellectual History, and Black Radical Women. Other recent courses include Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division; Protest Poetry; Shut up and Play: Black Athletes and Activism; Material Culture and Protest; Early African American Print; After Namibia: Afro-German Poetics, Activism, and Hip Hop; The Economics of Race; and Critical Race Theory.
  • Community-Based Learning: Community-based learning (CBL) is an educational approach that integrates learning and mentorship with community engagement through reciprocal community partnerships and critical reflection. CBL offers an introductory course, Unheard Voices, in which students learn the basics of community-engaged learning through projects and speakers that focus on the history and present-day trajectory of Black Lexington and Rockbridge County. CBL also offers courses at Augusta Correctional Center that combine W&L students and inmates, one of which resulted in a student-sponsored exhibition of art created by the inmates.
  • The Advanced Immersion and Mentoring Program (AIM) provides a fully-funded, five-week research and leadership experience on campus before classes start, exclusively for entering first-year students from widely diverse backgrounds.

Academic Programming

  • Annual Lectures: The university offers several annual lectures honoring pioneers in diversity and inclusion at W&L, including the School of Law's Les Smith Lecture, which honors its first African American graduate, and the Africana Studies Program's DeLaney Lecture, which honors the late professor of history emeritus Ted DeLaney ’85.
  • Professional Development: Incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into the classroom and the workplace is an ongoing priority at W&L. Recent programming at Fall and Winter Academies included sessions on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education; Inclusive Teaching and Mentoring; Leveraging Technology to Cultivate an Inclusive Classroom; Applied Inclusive Pedagogy; Disability, Diversity and Inclusivity; Intentional Mentoring of Diverse Students; Helping Faculty Support Students from Marginalized Communities; Understanding the Challenges that Undocumented Immigrant Students Face; Strategies for Inclusive Pedagogy; Library Challenges and Resources related to Diversity and Inclusivity; and Mentoring Under-Represented Students.
  • Past programs: Recent programs related to DEI have included:

    • “Exploring Anti-Racist Initiatives in Higher Education,” a year-long learning community co-sponsored by the Harte Center, the Office of Inclusion and Engagement, Africana Studies, and Academic Technologies. Working in cohorts, participating faculty and staff sought out resources that address essential anti-racist practices in curricula, course design, pedagogy, academic culture, social culture, institutional culture, individual mindset and positionality, technology, and other topics suggested by participants.
    • Activism and Black Life: Sponsored by W&L's Africana Studies Program, this yearlong series included participants from multiple disciplines and various academic and civic institutions and explores how the struggle for freedom shapes Black identity. Events included lectures, panels, roundtables, debates, and the Looking at Blackness (LAB) initiative, which features film screenings and listening sessions.

Library Initiatives