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LIFT SU was developed to enact and realize Goal 4 in Seattle University's Strategic Plan, Reigniting Strategic Directions: Promote Inclusive Excellence.
The Office for Diversity and Direction created LIFT SU to take strategic action to address systemic racism and enhance equitable practices throughout Seattle University. The five priority areas of LIFT SU are:
Working groups were formed to facilitate the work on this action plan. Research on high-impact practices and extensive coordination and discussion, along with input from campus members, informed the recommendations of each working group.
Goal One: Recruitment and Retention of BIPOC students. The Goal One working group, constituted of partners throughout the campus community, engaged in rigorous research and evaluation throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. You can download key elements of their work here:
The Goal Two working group completed a comprehensive assessment and research, and, as a result, instituted the Campus Climate Incident Reporting and Response Protocol, which experienced its first full academic year of operation in 2022-2023. Campus Climate Incidents can now be reported, either anonymously or with attribution, to a response team that handles these reports. Reports can be filed here.
The Campus Climate Reporting and Response Team recently concluded its first annual report. It can be downloaded here: Campus Climate Reporting & Response End-of-Year Report, 2022-2023.
Work on this goal is continuously evolving and expanding; the coming academic years will yield additional programs and collaborations.
Two working groups were formed to engage with this goal: a working group dedicated to the recruitment and retention of BIPOC faculty, and another dedicated the the recruitment and retention of BIPOC staff.
The working group focused on BIPOC faculty concluded its charge related to faculty recruitment at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 academic year. The resulting guidebook for equitable faculty hiring, including concrete, practical toolkit documents, will be released in Fall 2023. Overview materials, along with information about registering for search committee training, can be found here.
The working group focused on BIPOC staff launched its work in Summer, 2023, and have already begun exploring potential avenues for research and exploration.
The Goal Four working group was constituted in Winter 2023.
Under a joint charge from Vice President Natasha Martin and Provost Shane Martin, this working group has begun investigating high-impact practices for inclusive narrative. Existing artistic forms which showcase a breadth of story and experience on the Seattle University Campus will be emphasized, and potential new directions outlined.
A highlight of the work of narrative through art and symbols took place around the installation of an original work of art by artist Hiawatha D. in the Chapel of St. Ignatius. The work, 10:22AM, honors honors Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, the four young girls who were killed in the racially motivated bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.
The capacity of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion expanded significantly during the 2022-2023 with the onboarding of three permanent positions: Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Laura Heider; Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity, Elizabeth Trayner; and Ombudsperson Sue Theiss.
In addition to the staff expansion, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is in the process of expanding capacity through collaboration. An exploratory DEI council was formed in Spring 2023 to bring together some key partners throughout campus to coordinate efforts toward equity and inclusion.