Equity and Anti-Racist Initiatives

To Our Students:

The English Department faculty and staff are striving to engage in ongoing work toward more equitable and anti-racist curriculum, classrooms, programs, and university. Our disciplines are not immune to the racist legacies and exclusionary systems that drive the dominant culture. But our disciplines offer us an important vantage point from which to become actively involved in the interrogation and dismantling of those legacies and systems, particularly within academia.

The English Department is engaging to address our own biases and improve. We’re taking positive steps toward the goals outlined in our letter to you in summer 2020.

Here are some actions occurring now and coming your way:

  • Established a standing department Diversity and Equity Committee to coordinate department efforts and hold the department accountable (Fall 2020).
  • Prioritizing the hiring and retention of historically minoritized faculty into the tenure-track and non-tenure track positions (ongoing effort).
  • Lions Rock events is featuring diverse visiting writers, including Jourdan Imani Keith, Dujie Tahat, De’Shawn Charles Winslow, Victoria Chang, Paisley Rekdal (2020-21); Miah Jeffra, Kristen Millares Young, Phinder Dulai, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Chen Chen, Mason Deaver (2021-22).
  • Intersectional Mentors for students with diverse needs (established Fall 2021).
  • Content Warning Conversations and Best Practices Sheet for students and faculty (Winter 2022).
  • Graduate School & Career Preparation Workshops and professionalization events for seniors, including LRVWS presents "From Writer to Professional Author: Literary Agents" Annie Dewitt & Leslie Shipman (Fall 2021) and Graduate School application panel (Winter 2022).
  • Establishment of a Diversity and Equity scholarship for English Majors from diverse backgrounds (first awarded 2021 and ongoing).
  • Faculty workshops via the Gender & Sexuality training series.
  • Removal of standardized test score requirement from MA program application process (beginning Fall 2021).
  • Faculty book group for The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom by Felicia Rose Chavez and Appropriate: A Provocation by Paisley Rekdal (May 2021) and The Racial Imaginary Anthology edited by Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda and Cap Max King (Spring 2022).
  • Creation and addition of student learning outcomes for all creative writing classes (BA and MA) to include anti-racist and inclusive collaborative pedagogy practices (Winter 2022).
  • Establishment of a student advisory council that prioritizes the voices of students from diverse backgrounds (first applications accepted Spring 2023).

We recognize the importance of social action. We commit to making accessible the tools for social change in our classrooms and programs. We also commit to learning how we can best support you, our students. This will be an ongoing effort, and we will remain accountable by reviewing our progress at the end of each academic year.

Your voices are important. And we welcome your suggestions. We are listening. You can always contact the department chair confidentially at Christopher.Schedler@cwu.edu, and you can communicate directly with department’s Diversity and Equity Committee (James.Seth@cwu.edu, Bobby.Cummings@cwu.edu, Sarah.Sillin@cwu.edu, and Cynthia.Pengilly@cwu.edu), as well as the student advisory council in the near future.

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