- Dean of the College Lena Hill will begin her new role as Provost on July 1. She will undertake a search for a new dean of the School of Law during the 2021-22 academic year.
- President Dudley announced the creation of a new permanent position, the Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, who will serve as member of the provost’s leadership team, providing vision, coordination, and strategic direction to advancing a culture of diversity and inclusion across Academic Affairs. The associate provost will also support curricular and scholarly opportunities for local, national, and international engagement. Dean Hill will lead a national search this spring with a goal of making an appointment that will begin in Summer 2021.
- 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.
- 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: Scheduled to open in Fall 2021, the state-of-the-art Harte Center will serve 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.
Curricular and Co-Curricular Programs
- The School of Law launched a new clinic focusing on Civil Rights and Racial Justice. Professor Carla Laroche will join the faculty in the fall to lead the clinic, which will initially focus 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.
- “Exploring Anti-Racist Initiatives in Higher Education” is 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 will seek 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 any other topic that participants bring to the table. Some of the questions they’re addressing include:
- What are the best practices?
- Where are the innovations that raise the conversation to the next level?
- How do we make change sustainable and impactful?
- How do we curate these resources and make them accessible to all members of our community?
- How do we engage each other in powerful, positive conversations?
- What are the next steps, and the steps after that, and after that?
Participation will involve initial Learning Community-wide meetings, occasional cohort coordination, and ongoing, at-your-own-pace, individual initiative. Faculty and staff from across campus, regardless of area of specialization, are encouraged to give this essential and rewarding opportunity serious consideration.
- Activism and Black Life: Sponsored by W&L's Africana Studies Program, this yearlong series includes participants from multiple disciplines and various academic and civic institutions and explores how the struggle for freedom shapes Black identity. Events include lectures, panels, roundtables, debates, and the Looking at Blackness (LAB) initiative, which features film screenings and listening sessions. The series shows the complex legacies that created our current racial reality and, by studying the intersection between then and now, equips our community to chart a productive path forward. It is supported by the Rupert H. Johnson Jr. Program in Leadership and Integrity.
- 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.
- The University Library has continued to update the following library guides through directed purchasing and licensing:
- Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism Resources: Black America
- Native American and Indigenous Peoples: Resources and Events (created in partnership with the University's Native American Cohort)