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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Discussions on diversity and inclusion

Campus Climate Progress Report – Fall 2018

UW-Madison is committed to creating a welcoming environment that enables all students, faculty and staff to thrive. We continue to work toward this goal. Individuals and groups from across campus have embraced this challenge and devoted significant time and energy to moving the campus forward. These efforts build on the campus Diversity Framework and its implementation plan, R.E.E.L. Change. This page highlights several key initiatives, but is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all campus efforts.

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Here’s some of what we’ve accomplished this spring and summer with our Diversity Framework goals in mind:

  • Native Nations Working Group: In June, 40 faculty and staff members, representing UW–Extension, Admissions, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the School of Education and more, took part in a Native Nations working group meeting in Hayward, Wisconsin. The Office of the Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer sent representatives and supported overall attendance at the event, which was co-hosted by Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, UW–Extension’s Native American Task Force and the Native Nations Working Group, which is sponsored by the provosts of UW–Madison, UW–Extension and UW Colleges. The purpose was to learn about working effectively with tribal communities in Wisconsin.
    Diversity Framework Goal 2: Improve coordination of campus diversity planning and Goal 4: Improve institutional access through effective recruitment of diverse students, faculty, staff and through effective relationship building with the wider
    community and Diversity Framework.
  • Bias Incident Response: The Dean of Students Office, within the Division of Student Life, established the role of bias response coordinator as a permanent position. Staff responsibility includes continuing a partnership with the vice provost for faculty and staff to more effectively address bias incidents in the classroom.
    Diversity Framework Goal 3: Engage the campus leadership for diversity and inclusion.
  • DACA Implications for Students:  After a pilot program in spring 2018, geared at assisting students who may be affected by changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and other policies, the Division of Student Life permanently added that responsibility to the Dean of Students Office. Staff will partner with the Multicultural Student Center and other campus entities to
    provide resources and support to underrepresented students.
    Diversity Framework Goal 1: Promote shared values of diversity and inclusion.
  • Chancellor’s Study Group: An ad hoc study group released a report examining the history of Ku Klux Klan on campus and student organizations in the 1920s that shared the name of or were possibly affiliated with the the Ku Klux Klan and considered the broader implications of this history for underrepresented groups on campus. Chancellor Rebecca Blank formed the group in fall 2017 to provide recommendations on how to effectively acknowledge this history in light of the values the campus currently strives to maintain.
    Out of this report emerged two recommendations: a history project that identifies and gives voice to those who experienced and challenged prejudice on campus, and a further commitment to current programs designed to increase diversity and create a more equitable campus community. Blank agreed to launch a history project in the fall and made several other commitments, including funding a proposal to expand faculty hiring for the ethnic studies programs through joint appointments and increased funding for faculty diversification initiatives in the coming year.
    Diversity Framework Goal 1: Promote shared values of diversity and inclusion and Goal 4: Improve institutional access through effective recruitment of diverse students, faculty, staff and through effective relationship building with the wider community.\
  • Union Council Action on Named Spaces: Building off the work of the study group, the Union Council held forums this summer to solicit campus and community input on the question of changing the names of the Porter Butts Gallery and Fredric March Play Circle. Butts and March were members of a student organization in the 1920s that bore the name Ku Klux Klan, though the study group found no evidence it was affiliated with the national group. In consultation with the family of Porter Butts, the council voted to rename the gallery and to acknowledge Butts’ professional accomplishments through an interactive kiosk in another permanent non-programming location. The play circle will also be renamed with the understanding that more research into Fredric March’s legacy is needed before a possible solution for recognition elsewhere in Memorial Union can be decided.
    Diversity Framework Goal 1: Promote shared values of diversity and inclusion.

A number of initiatives are moving forward over the academic year including:

  • Diversity Forum: The campus diversity forum is scheduled for Oct. 31–Nov. 1, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Talithia Williams. Renowned for making sophisticated numerical concepts understandable to a wide audience, Williams will address the importance of retaining faculty of color and the underrepresentation of marginalized students in STEM programs. The forum will also feature a town hall on key issues of the day and workshops on a wide range of diversity and inclusion topics.
    Diversity Framework Goal 4: Improve institutional access through effective recruitment of diverse students, faculty, staff and through effective relationship building with the wider community and Goal 5: Improve institutional success through improved retention.
  • New cultural center startups: The Division of Student Life is establishing two new cultural centers this fall in the North Mezzanine of the Red Gym: a Latinx Cultural Center and an Asian Pacific Islander Desi Amereican (APIDA) Cultural Center. Like the Black Cultural Center dedicated in 2017, these centers come in response to students’ request for cultural homes for organizing, identity development and opportunities to honor and recognize the contributions these populations have made to the fabric of UW–Madison. The centers, which will be supported by the Multicultural Student Center, are open this fall while remodeling work is underway with an official launch planned for Spring 2019.
    Diversity Framework Goal 1: Promote shared values of diversity and inclusion.
  • Title IX and Sexual Violence Response: The university will once again take part in a national survey on sexual assault and misconduct organized by the Association of American Universities (AAU). The 2015 survey led to a number of actions including mandatory training for all employees on preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment and hiring additional staff in University Health Services. The campus is preparing for the next survey, which will be administered in the spring.
    Diversity Framework Goal 2: Improve coordination of campus diversity planning.
  • UW–Madison Continues HIB Training:  Following passage by the Faculty Senate and Academic Staff Assembly of Hostile and Intimidating Behavior (HIB) legislation, leadership across UW–Madison has been trained on spotting and stopping hostile and intimidating behavior. Sometimes known by the shorthand term bullying, HIB is defined in university policy as “unwelcome behavior pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would find it hostile and/or intimidating and that does not further the university’s academic or operational interests.” All employees of UW–Madison are encouraged to participate in Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Prevention Training offered across campus.
    Diversity Framework Goal 1: Promote shared values of diversity and inclusion.
  • Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI) Breaking the Bias Habit Workshops: This summer a “train the trainer” course was held for new presenters of the College of Engineering’s workshops that incorporates issues of race, ethnicity and gender. In the first two years, 776 faculty, staff and students have attended the workshops on implicit bias. Research is being conducted before and after the trainings with the goal to reduce implicit bias toward students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
    Diversity Framework Goal 2: Improve coordination of campus diversity planning.

These actions build on steps UW–Madison has taken over the past several years that have improved recruitment and retention of students of color and expanded need-based aid. Among the outcomes that have improved:
• Over the last decade, students of color have gone from 12 percent to 16 percent of the student body.
• Faculty of color have increased from 17 percent to 21 percent.
• UW–Madison’s retention rate (freshmen returning for sophomore year) is 94 percent among both historically underrepresented students and all other students, closing the retention gap that used to exist.
• Graduation rates among all students have been increasing, but they are increasing faster among student from historically underrepresented groups, which amounts to substantial
progress on the graduation gap.

As Chancellor Blank has said, becoming a more welcoming and inclusive campus requires long-term engagement in a process of self-evaluation and change. This is not something that happens easily or quickly in some cases, but the depth of commitment throughout the institution provides important momentum to continue us moving forward.