Academy Origins

In February of 2015, following a semester of campus activism and dialogue, Chancellor Emeritus Mark S. Wrighton and former Provost Holden Thorp established a Steering Committee for Diversity and Inclusion, charged with the creation of a university-wide plan for increased diversity.

In providing context for an Academy, the Commission wrote:

“Washington University in St. Louis has recently made significant improvement in diversifying the numbers of our students, faculty, and senior administrators and still has much work to do. Recent climate surveys of students, faculty members, and staff, alongside anecdotal reports, reveal another challenge — changing the University’s climate and culture to become less tolerant of bias and more equitable, welcoming, and inclusive. The University has created the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to drive climate and culture change for students. The University needs to develop an infrastructure to support its growing, increasingly diverse community of staff and faculty. We propose the Academy for Diversity and Inclusion as the parallel infrastructure and set of resources for staff and faculty members.”

Academy Mission

At its founding, Henry S. Webber, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Administrative Officer, described the charge of the Academy this way:

“The Academy will function as the university’s primary forum for improving climate and culture, with the goal of making Washington University more equitable, welcoming and inclusive. We’ve made much progress in this area, but we have more work to do. While a number of diversity and inclusion resources exist on each campus, present efforts toward supporting an inclusive staff and faculty could benefit from a centralized collaborator and strategic partner.”

To read more about the origins of the Academy and how it is situated with other University resources view our Orientation Document here.