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Action items from task force reports

Each of William & Mary’s five schools created task forces earlier this year to research and report on the best practices in diversity, equity and inclusion within their fields.

The task forces created reports and recommendations that were submitted to the university’s president, provost and chief diversity officer this summer before being shared with the schools’ respective communities earlier this fall.

Some of the actions being taken by the schools as a result of that work include:

Arts & Sciences
  • Planning by the Faculty Affairs Committee for the creation of a new standing committee on diversity, equity and inclusion. This committee will combine elected faculty with appointed undergraduate and graduate students and the new A&S director for diversity and inclusion, who will serve in an ex officio capacity.
  • Preparing a new handout for fundraising explicitly for diversity and inclusion to be distributed to alumni donors.
  • Initiating a motion in the Faculty Affairs Committee for a vote that will add a statement about faculty commitment to diversity and inclusion in the Arts & Sciences bylaws.
  • Sharing last year’s successful Boswell Initiative talk with the W&M Washington Center. In September, Cheryl Dickter, associate professor of psychological sciences, and Jerry Watkins, visiting assistant professor of history, presented their research on “Inside Out: Neural Pathways + social Expressions of ‘Otherness.’”
  • “Re-inventing” the existing Mason School’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee to expand the number of people, as well as more fully empowering the committee for diversity and inclusion activities within the school. 
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive integrated training program for diversity and inclusion to address knowledge and skills shortfalls within the Mason community.
  • Consolidating the approximately 400 suggestions collected from task force activities into a single document for ease of access and reference for the future.
  • Developing and implementing a Diversity & Inclusion Communication Plan for the Mason School of Business.
  • Developing a shared definition of diversity, equity and inclusion, which will be evidenced in practices and communication.
  • Conducting focus groups with internal and external stakeholders to determine perceptions, successes and barriers to access, excellence, retention and institutional receptivity.
  • Conducting equity audits across programs and/or within courses and reviewing and selecting course materials that reflect diverse perspectives, attitudes and beliefs.
  • Conducting anonymous voting to provide a safe environment and encourage participation.
  • Reviewing current and future portraiture, statues and other physical and virtual displays to be more reflective of the diversity of the law school community.
  • Considering inclusion and accessibility when making decisions about renovation or refurbishment of physical spaces and signage. The school has established multi-stall, gender-neutral bathrooms in the North Wing Hall and the library, in addition to the single gender-neutral bathrooms already designated. A lactation room is being created, and spaces are being considered for quiet meditation/prayer and wellness.
  • Creating a formal peer-mentoring program for each incoming J.D. and LL.M. student or cohort of students. Mentors will include full-time faculty, administrators and librarians.
  • Encouraging faculty to address, at the start of each course, the expectations for respectful classroom interactions, including the faculty member’s role in such interactions.
  • Expanding communication about Title IX resources.
  • Coordinating with diversity and inclusion leaders within each W&M school to highlight educational opportunities that will benefit members within the VIMS community.
  • Working with the W&M Office of Human Resources to provide training on the search committee process for all position levels.
  • Exploring the possibility of adding diversity-related supplemental questions and/or ability to provide separate diversity statements in PeopleAdmin for positions at all levels.