Officials to organize internal diversity review instead of external audit – The GW Hatchet

In a reversal of the University’s plans to conduct an external audit of campus diversity last year, officials said they would instead review GW’s diversity, inclusion and equity later this fall by through a primarily internal process.

As part of the new process outlined at a faculty Senate meeting last month, administrators said the Provost’s Office will conduct a comprehensive review to assess and improve campus diversity, with recommendations orchestrated within from the University rather than from an external company as previously planned. While the review will replace the diversity audit that former president Brian Blake launched in January, officials will continue to develop a “diversity action plan” to monitor progress in implementing the review. diversity on campus and throughout the DC area.

Blake, who left GW this summer, announced earlier this year that officials would use recommendations from an outside firm to help shape their course of action with reforms in areas such as faculty composition and l ‘financial aid. The University has repeatedly delayed the diversity audit after the deadline originally set last spring, as external consulting firms, whose officials reduced to two in June, requested more information than officials did. had foreseen it.

Acting rector Chris Bracey said officials reviewed proposals submitted by the last two companies earlier this year and instead decided to pursue an internal review similar to regular college program reviews at higher education institutions. He said the companies’ proposals failed to address the “concrete” and “tailor-made” recommendations the University could implement in the short and long term.

“What we’re doing is more of a program review, like a college program review,” Bracey said in an interview. “It’s a more familiar way of looking at the performance of a set of programmatic activities, such as pushing for improved diversity among faculty, students, and staff. “

Bracey, who first announced the cancellation of the diversity audit at the August Senate meeting, said officials will work with campus leaders on diversity, equity and inclusion to collect data on areas of progress and improvement. The data will help officials form a set of recommendations to be implemented into the action plan, he said.

He said officials would invite an “outside reviewer” to visit the campus and assess the observations and recommendations to determine if they are accurate, valid and appropriate. He said the marshal’s office would then review the final report before implementing key recommendations.

Bracey said officials will post their findings on a website once the review process is complete as part of efforts to maintain transparency during the audit. He said officials had not yet finalized the review timeline, but estimated the process would take at least a year.

“It’s quite exciting and ambitious, but we haven’t finalized a timetable yet,” he said. “This is also something that should be discussed and coordinated with [the Faculty Senate’s appointment, salary and promotion policies committee]. These are sort of full review processes, so we want to make sure we’re doing it right. “

Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice-president of diversity, equity and community engagement at the university, said Bracey determined that using local expertise on campus was a “better approach. “to study campus diversity after reviewing proposals from outside companies earlier this year. She said he had developed a proposal with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement to conduct a comprehensive review of the University’s efforts to “make an impact” on diversity and community. inclusion in the GW community.

Laguerre-Brown said those responsible for the review were meeting with “various stakeholders” to receive comments on the draft proposal to ensure they have the support of the University at large behind the effort.

“We are committed to ensuring that this review process is successful and informative and leads to lasting and impactful action,” she said in an email.

She said the draft review proposal includes focus groups and interviews, an assessment of current policies and practices, and an external review by a select committee of academics working on diversity, equity and inclusion. at national scale. She said the draft proposal “prioritizes” the voices and experiences of the GW community and includes “meaningful involvement” from students, faculty, alumni and the board.

“This independent assessment will be essential to inform our efforts going forward,” she said.

Joseph Cordes, professor of economics and co-chair of the Faculty’s Senate Tax and Budget Planning Committee, said Bracey’s diversity review proposal is better than Blake’s plans for the diversity audit because the examination does not prioritize the outpatient first. He said that while professors have supported Blake’s plan, they have also recognized that GW has the resources and talented staff, like Laguerre-Brown, who can guide diversity reform at GW.

“A lot of people were puzzled that the approach was going to be to bring in an outside consulting firm to do the audit rather than looking at the audit that we could do ourselves,” he said. he declares.

Cordes added that many faculty members were happy with Bracey’s overthrow because the current proposal seems more “consistent” with the University’s standard program review process.

“The major change from Provost Bracey is that we’re going to start internally, and then we’re going to bring in the outside eyes, which is a good way to do it,” Cordes said.

Isha Trivedi contributed reporting.

Shirlene J. Manley