Over a dozen students, faculty, and staff implemented six successful projects during the 2013–2014 academic year as part of the Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion (IDI) grants program. IDI supports innovative ideas that advance GW’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
This most recent cohort of IDI grantees included recipients from the Office of Study Abroad, University Writing Program, School of Medicine & Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Gelman Library, the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, and faculty from the Physics, Chemistry, Biology departments of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The projects were awarded a total of almost $40,000 and are titled as follows: Broadening Opportunities and Stimulating Excitement in STEM, Global Initiatives & Diversity Outreach, Inclusive Spaces: Breaking Down Invisible Walls, Mentored Experience to Expand Opportunities in Research, Promoting English for Academic Purposes Online, and the University Archives Diversity Research Fellowships
The IDI grants program was founded in 2012 as part of the university’s efforts to create an educational and work environment that is inclusive, supportive, and rich in diversity. This internal grant program—the first of its kind at GW—is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and units to apply for funding to support capacity-building ideas that have the greatest potential to advance and sustain GW’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Since its inception, the program has funded 18 projects and awarded over $92K in financial support. The inaugural cohort included a broad array of individuals and units, including the Division of Student Affairs and Development and Alumni Relations.
“We have been thrilled with the enthusiastic response to the IDI grants program,” said Associate Provost for Diversity & Inclusion Helen Cannaday, who oversees the program. “The caliber of the projects reflects the importance of harnessing the efforts and passion of our students and colleagues. They address universal challenges by developing replicable strategies and generating new knowledge for fostering inclusive and welcoming environments. This includes eliminating inequities and reducing barriers that prevent all members of our community from thriving.”
IDI is a key strategy in assisting the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in establishing itself as a resource for diversity expertise and helping GW become internationally renowned for inclusive excellence. Previously funded projects focused on developing employment-related resources to enhance the representation of individuals with disabilities in the workplace, using theater to promote multicultural education dialogue and teaching strategies for faculty in the School of Medicine, understanding graduate student perceptions regarding diversity and inclusion, and assessing the role of race in the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign to supplement curricular and research activities in the School of Media and Public Affairs.
In spring 2014, the University Archives Diversity Research Fellowships project invited undergraduate students to propose a significant research project examining the history and experiences of diverse groups at GW. The students then used a host of University Archives collections to examine the “stories” of GW veterans, women, international students, and service workers. The source materials included annals of the GW Hatchet, Office of the President records, Board of Trustees minutes, Office of the Provost records, and other supplementary resources outside of GW. The project culminated in an April presentation at the Gelman Library where students reported their findings.
“We wanted students to find diversity stories in GW’s history, interpret that history and share it with the university community and our project could not have been possible without an IDI grant,” said former University Archivist Bergis Jules. “The IDI grant program offers an opportunity to uniquely tie diversity to all aspects of academic and campus life through innovative projects.”
The students, faculty, and staff of the fourth cohort of IDI grant recipients are preparing to implement their grants for the 2014–2015 academic year. The Office of Diversity & Inclusion will be accepting applications for the fifth cohort through October 15, 2014.