In 2010, President Steven Knapp created the Council on Diversity and Inclusion. The charge given to the Council states:
Diversity and inclusion are at the core of institutions of higher education. These are multi-faceted and complex issues that require thoughtful discourse, unwavering commitment and a plan of action in order to achieve desired outcomes. The University recognizes the need to engage all members of the GW community in order to foster a true learning environment, on and off campus. Toward that end, in late spring of 2010 President Knapp created the Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Comprised of various members of the George Washington University community, the President’s Council will seek out ideas, recommendations and feedback to be presented to the newly appointed associate provost for diversity and inclusion. Through collaboration, research and action, the Council will propose a series of best practices that benefit all members of the GW community, enhance the experience of traditionally underrepresented populations and cultivate a more inclusive climate for students, staff, faculty and the broader community of which George Washington is an integral part.
Initially, the Council and each working group began meeting in the spring of 2010, and on average, met twice a month from October 2010 to May 2011. Two public forums were held — one at the Foggy Bottom Campus and one at the Virginia Science and Technology Campus. These forums were attended by more than 300 students, faculty, staff, trustees, and others from the broader D.C. community. A web page was created describing the work of the Council and included a link where the public could submit recommendations. Working groups conducted several fact-finding activities including surveys, focus group discussions, and informal discussions with students, colleagues, and other interested parties. Diversity initiatives at other colleges and universities were also reviewed.
As a result of these varied activities, dozens of suggestions were made that reflected serious, ongoing issues that affect the GW community. Early in the process, the Council recognized the need to prioritize a range of good ideas in order to meaningfully respond to the President’s charge on a timely basis. Twelve specific recommendations were identified that the university could implement quickly and were discussed in the First Report. For each recommendation, the report listed the actions that should be taken, the parties who should take them, and metrics (or a call for the creation of specific metrics) for assessing progress. The ideas contained in the report, along with other issues and proposals that no doubt will arise in the future, should guide GW discussions and initiatives.
View the council's first report, "Diversity: A Key To Academic Excellence" (pdf)