Issues & Accountability

Our goals: To promote shared values of diversity and inclusion, to engage campus leadership in this endeavor, and to improve institutional access and success through effective retention policies. Explore the new and expanded commitments for equity and inclusion. Below we highlight some notable efforts in the past year.

Download the Fall 2021 Campus Climate Report

19.8%

Increase in underrepresented domestic students of color in the 2020 freshman class since one year ago

25%

of all faculty are people of color, up from 18% a decade ago

95.9%

Retention rate for underrepresented domestic students of color

Ongoing Campuswide Commitments

New Chief Diversity Officer Named

LaVar Charleston is UW–Madison’s new chief diversity officer, also holding the titles of deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, vice provost, and Elzie Higginbottom Director of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA). In his new position, Charleston will provide overall leadership for the university’s efforts to create a diverse, inclusive, and successful learning and work environment for all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others who partner with the university. At the School of Education, Charleston provided leadership to faculty, staff, and students in developing and implementing strategic initiatives that promoted university’s mission. His research focuses on diversity, access and inclusion within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. He will partner with schools, colleges and other administrative units across campus while overseeing the units that comprise the DDEEA.

New DEI Professional Development Unit

DDEEA is launching a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Education and Professional Development unit for UW–Madison faculty, staff, and graduate student employees. The new unit will work with campus stakeholders to offer diversity programming on issues such as recognizing and reducing implicit bias, preventing microaggressions, and engaging across difference. The search for a director is underway with an anticipated fall start date, and the unit will also include an Education Specialist who will develop professional development opportunities for graduate students.

Raimey-Noland Campaign raises more than $48M

In spring 2021, the university and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association announced a historic addition to the All Ways Forward campaign. The Raimey-Noland Campaign will provide resources to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across campus. The campaign is named for the first known African American woman and man to graduate from UW–Madison, Mabel Watson Raimey (graduated 1918) and William Smith Noland (graduated 1875). Generous donors have committed more than $48 million so far with the goals of:

  • Increasing the diversity of the student body
  • Increasing faculty and staff diversity
  • Enhancing students’ academic success and career readiness
  • Supporting an inclusive, welcoming campus community
  • Investing in research addressing social and racial injustice

Our Wisconsin Program

Our Wisconsin, an online education program that encourages students to contribute to an inclusive campus community and celebrate each other’s backgrounds and identities, was revamped as a fully virtual experience in fall 2020. Established in 2016, Our Wisconsin joined AlcoholEdu (alcohol awareness and prevention) and U Got This! (sexual assault and dating violence prevention) as a package of online education programs required for all first-year and transfer students. Student Affairs and its Our Wisconsin program team are engaging with schools, colleges and other campus units to provide our entire campus community with a shared inclusion education experience. In fall 2021, 8,150 students have completed the program.

Professional Development

The Campus Committee on Diversity Education and Training formed in fall 2020 with a charge to expand faculty and staff learning around our shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The committee proposed an outline and platform for broader integration and expansion of diversity-related professional development. This fall, the Offices of the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, Provost, and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration will partner to implement foundational and advanced learning opportunities for faculty and staff to deepen personal engagement with diversity and build an inclusive campus community. Through behavioral, affective, and cognitive learning modules, campus faculty and staff will explore inclusive communication, the influence of unconscious bias, and benefits of engaging diversity.

Diversity Forum 2021

The 2021 Diversity Forum, “Rising Above and Reshaping our World in the Image of Justice,” will be held Nov. 2–3 as a hybrid in-person and virtual conference. The Diversity Forum is UW–Madison’s premiere two-day conference focused on updating, educating, and activating attendees on the most pressing issues of the day. Dr. Russell Jeung, a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and co-founder of the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center, will provide the Day 1 keynote address. A highly respected sociologist, Dr. Jeung has emerged as a powerful advocate and voice in the media for revealing and countering racism, xenophobia and hate directed at people of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent curing COVID-19 in the United States. Steven Canals, co-creator and executive producer of the celebrated FX television series “Pose,” will provide the keynote address on Day 2 of the Diversity Forum. His talk will address the importance of centering intersectional stories in the LGBTQ+ community and will be followed by a student panel discussing the show’s significance for Black, Latinx, and other LGBTQ+ students on campus.

Target of Opportunity Program

TOP began in 2018 as a component of the broader Faculty Diversity Initiative, which provides departments with increased financial support from the central administration to pursue and hire outstanding faculty who will enhance a department’s quality and diversity. To date, the Office of the Provost has approved 103 recruitment proposals from colleges and schools across campus and 39 faculty have been hired. We now have TOP hires across most of our schools and colleges and these faculty are doing outstanding work. Funding for this important program continued even with COVID-19 budget constraints.