iDEA Project

iSchool Diversity, Equity & Access (iDEA) Project

The iDEA Project is a suite of programming to generate dialogue and engagement across and among iSchool students, faculty and staff and to create a comprehensive and cohesive framework in which issues of race, bias and equity are moved away from event‐based discussions and are integrated into our everyday behaviors, practices and policies. Our goal is not to lessen the interaction of events, but to create events that motivate and fuel students, faculty and staff to embrace and engage in uncomfortable conversations about race, bias and power, while building a community that fosters understanding and action around equity and inclusion.

In order to build cohesive and consistent understandings and to scaffold learning, Greg Taylor, Founder of Community Connections Consulting, will facilitate us through a series of programming throughout 2016‐17. With the theme of “Race, Bias and Dissonance,” focusing on Black Lives Matter and Native American issues, we will challenge ourselves to examine and align what we “know” and what we “believe.” Taylor will engage respective groups of students, faculty and staff, as well facilitate our year‐end 6th Annual Diversity Summit.

iDEA is a combination of multiple projects in collaboration with iSchool students, faculty and staff. These forums, classes, discussions and trainings will have a broad reach through our whole community. As information professionals and gatekeepers of information, we have a responsibility to ensure free and equitable access to information — to make information work — for communities that have been and continue to be underserved and underrepresented.

Programming Descriptions


Student Leadership Workshop
Using the lists of UW Walk Out demands, Greg Taylor will facilitate 20‐35 student leaders of student groups from our four academic programs and other diversity‐related registered student organizations (RSOs) in examining race, bias and equity issues coming from their own UW student colleagues. Do our iSchool values align with our actions? What demands do iSchool students have related to Black Lives Matter? What changes in their own everyday behaviors and practices will they make? As student leaders, how will they be sure to integrate these understandings into their own student groups?

Student Diversity Workshop
Knowledge and skills gained from the Student Leadership Workshop will help the student leaders facilitate iSchool students through Bafa Bafa, a simulation exercise that is intended to improve participants' cross‐cultural competence by helping them understand the impact of culture on the behavior of people and organizations.

MLIS Diversity Professional Development Workshops
In order to ensure that our MLIS students are prepared to serve a wide range of communities and in a wide range of settings, we are creating the beginning of a diversity curriculum for our MLIS program. We will run two MLIS workshops in conjunction with the Chair of our MLIS program, Associate Professor Jin Ha Lee, to get student input on the creation of a one‐credit seminar course: Diversity in Libraries.

Ph.D. Workshops: Embracing diversity and overcoming bias in our research, teaching, and service
The Information School seeks to emphasize diversity in every aspect of the research, teaching, and service‐related activities conducted by the faculty and students at the intersection of information, people, and technology. Our Ph.D. students are offering a series of three workshops/forums:

  1. TA/RA training offered to incoming doctoral students during Welcome Week to introduce them to the iSchool community, set the students up for workplace success by emphasizing best practices, and discuss various diversity‐related topics such as teaching international students, creating inclusive classrooms, and ethical research practices.
  2. Writing session to develop diversity statements for future job applications, for grant applications, and for other situations, that clearly articulate a student’s personal experience with diversity as well as how diversity figures into their life as a scholar.
  3. Lightning research presentations by a few graduate students doing research in various areas of diversity and information, followed by a Q&A in which students can learn from one another about conducting inclusive, thoughtful research.

Additionally, this workshop/forum series will result in the development of a one‐credit seminar to mentor and socialize Ph.D. students around diversity and the professoriate.

Writing Retreats for Faculty & Ph.D. students of color
The purpose of the writing retreats for our faculty and Ph.D. students of color is to build safe space in an arena that is often not “safe” for faculty and students of color, to strengthen scholarly writing skills, and to build an intellectual community around diversity, mentorship and faculty advancement. Mornings will be set aside for writing and afternoons will consist of connecting, community‐building and mentoring.


Student Services Staff Workshop
Given the influence that the iSchool Student Services (SS) staff have on students’ educational experiences, Greg Taylor will engage 10‐15 Student Services staff in self‐reflection and ask them to explore “Where do our thoughts, our biases, come from?” SS staff will examine their personal and professional behaviors and practices regarding race and equity. Using the lists of demands and issues generated through the iSchool student leader workshop, they will ask themselves similar questions: Do iSchool and Student Services values align with their everyday practices, policies and procedures? Where can they make small, but impactful changes to address race and equity, and the demands that the students developed?

iSchool Staff Professional Development Workshops
Greg Taylor will facilitate 20‐35 iSchool staff in three quarterly staff professional development workshops, scaffolding and advancing learning around race, bias, cognitive dissonance and then moving them to action. How can various units across the iSchool challenge and change their everyday practices, policies and procedures to address race and implicit bias?


Faculty Meeting guided discussion: How to have courageous conversations around difficult topics
The first two iSchool faculty meetings of the year will each include one‐hour scaffolded discussions/activities, facilitated by Greg Taylor, to help our faculty learn how to have hard, but critical conversations around difficult topics, which include race, bias and true equity in our curriculum and classrooms.

Curriculum Transformation Project (CTP)
CTP brings together 3‐5 faculty/partner pairs/groups (approx. 8‐12 total) to review syllabi of faculty who are teaching core courses or highly enrolled electives in order to integrate diversity into course curriculum content, assignments, pedagogy and the social/power structure of their classrooms. Faculty are invited to participate. Partners are invited alumni, UW colleagues and/or community professionals who have knowledge of our field and expertise in diversity. Greg Taylor will facilitate the faculty and partners through foundational discussions about race, bias, dissonance and equity in curriculum and the classroom, using Black Lives Matter and issues relevant to Native North American Indigenous communities as examples.

Writing Across Borders (WAB): Video Discussion
WAB’s purpose is to help faculty and teaching assistants to support and work more productively with non‐native English speaking students with their writing. The film’s goal is to address some of the most significant challenges these students face when writing for American colleges and universities. In addressing these challenges, it asks the following questions:

  1. How does culture play out in writing, and how are our expectations shaped by cultural preferences?
  2. How do we assess non‐native English speaking student writing alongside the writing of native speakers in a fair and constructive manner?
  3. What types of teaching and testing practices disadvantage non‐native English speaking students and what types help them improve as writers?

iSchool / Institutional

6th Annual Diversity Summit
Greg Taylor’s year with us will culminate at our all‐day Diversity Summit for 90‐100 students, faculty and staff, again with the theme of Race, Bias and Dissonance. Bringing the iSchool conversation together to reflect on our year of learning, (re)visit the student leaders’ demands, and work together to create an iSchool plan of action to address race, equity and power dynamics.

Diversity Climate Survey
We are working with Nana Lowell at the UW Office of Educational Assessment to develop and implement a Diversity Climate Survey to examine and document iSchool students, faculty and staff experiences and perceptions of iSchool diversity issues, needs, concerns, and successes. We seek feedback about iSchool climate for diversity, including: curriculum; experiences of students of color and other underrepresented groups, in and out of the classroom; hiring/admission policies and procedures; student funding; areas of research/access to research for students of color; leadership opportunities and more.

Native North American Indigenous Tribal Sovereignty: All iSchool Faculty and Staff Retreat (required)
Given the iSchool’s new area of visibility, Native North American Indigenous Knowledge, and society’s general lack of awareness and understanding of Native American issues, this half‐day retreat for all iSchool faculty and staff will be designed to educate, build connection, and move us to action in our research, teaching and service. We will be working with Mystique Hurtado, from the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, with support from Ross Braine, UW wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ (Intellectual House) Director and UW OMAD’s tribal liaison.

iDiversity University
Online courses, “Intro to iSchool Diversity or iDiversity 101,” designed to acclimate people new to diversity conversations at the iSchool and what we have been learning, studying, experiencing around race/racism, bias, privilege/power, access/gatekeeping and more. The courses would also be appropriate for other students and faculty, as well as employers. UW faculty with a team of iSchool students will develop several videos that build upon one another which will be supplemented with articles, websites, and other resources. In order to educate a broad audience regarding diversity in academic and professional settings and to be self‐sustaining, we intend to utilize an online medium, such as Coursera or Udemy.


One‐page Outreach Parent Information Brochures
Knowing that in many immigrant communities and communities of color, especially for first‐generation scholars, we are recruiting families/parents, not just undergraduates to our Informatics program. With non‐native English speaking parents in mind, we will work with our undergraduates from various communities to create Informatics parent‐information brochures that explain our field in ways that connect culturally and to community, as well as describe career options, and highlight employers and the salary range of recent iSchool alumni. Our first set of brochures will be developed in: Vietnamese; Spanish; Mandarin; Cantonese; Tagalog, Korean and Somali.

Outreach / Research

Read‐A‐Rama: Dr. Michelle Martin, Beverly Cleary Endowed Chair, PI
Dr. Michelle Martin is bringing her Read‐A‐Rama program from University of South Carolina to the UW. Designed to improve attitudes about reading among children and their parents from underrepresented communities and to eliminate illiteracy altogether. Read‐A‐Rama is a weekend and summer program that utilizes children’s and young adult books as the springboard for program activities to teach kids to love books through fun, themed literacy immersion experiences. University students read books to the participating children, from Cinderella Penguin to Dora's Book of Words and everything in between. The students talk with the kids about the story to get them to start thinking critically.

Brotherhood Project
The iSchool is partnering with the College of Education and Dr. Joe Lott on the Brotherhood Project. This pilot program aims to address barriers to higher education and boost enrollment, retention and graduation rates among young males of color. The project includes a yearlong freshman course focused on introducing students to research and providing guidance in areas like choosing a major and financial literacy. iSchool students will serve as mentors to introduce Brotherhood students to the iSchool and the field of information science through a digital storytelling project.


iSchool Policy initiatives

  • Adding a diversity question to all staff applications. iSchool HR has been working with the CSA 925 Union to develop a question that falls under Union guidelines for Classified Staff.
  • Require a Diversity Statement and/or diversity activity for our faculty tenure and promotion process.