WU to launch Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity

| Staff Reporter

Washington University will establish a Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity in fall 2019.

In an announcement during the fifth annual “Day of Discovery, Dialogue & Action,” Chancellor-elect Andrew Martin announced the launch of a university-wide center to promote interdisciplinary research on race and ethnicity.

The center, which will be led by Vice Provost Adrienne Davis, will also facilitate student learning and research on race and ethnicity as well as create infrastructure within university faculty to contribute to public discourse and policy design.

Research efforts will be focused on Asian-American, Latinx and comparative race and ethnicity studies. This research will build upon the efforts of several existing area studies programs in the Latin American Studies, East Asian Studies and South Asian Studies departments, as well as the Department of African & African-American Studies.

Originally devised in April 2017, the center’s establishment comes as a recommendation from a 23-person task force which is part of the University’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. The commission was convened in 2015 by Chancellor Mark Wrighton and Provost Holden Thorp to create a university-wide plan for addressing diversity issues on campus.

In addition to recommending institutional support for research, the task force recommended that the center address curricular needs, recruitment and retention of faculty, infrastructure for visiting scholars and post-doctoral fellows. Furthermore, the task force recommended that the center consider a landmark physical space to house these activities.

The center is one of several commission recommendations to be implemented, following the recent announcement of a start-up grant program for first-year undergraduate students and the launch of the Academy for Diversity and Inclusion in March 2018.

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