Skip to content

ADVANCE Leadership Workshop Series

Advancing equity in the unseen work of academia: University of Washington ADVANCE leadership workshop series leads the way

SEATTLE — In a concerted effort to foster equity and inclusivity within academia, the University of Washington’s ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change (UW ADVANCE) has been leading a series of transformative Leadership Workshops. The latest installment, held in collaboration with the Opportunities in Leadership Program, delved into the crucial realm of designing service workload systems for faculty with an equity-minded approach that supports more inclusive evaluation and promotion practices; and encourages mentorship.

The workshop, which drew a diverse array of faculty members from the across the three UW campuses, featured a distinguished panel of academic leaders whose insights illuminated the path forward. Among them were Anis Bawarshi, chair of the Department of English; Jennifer Koski, associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs at the Foster School of Business; and Kristi Morgansen, chair of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

With decades of combined experience in higher education, the panelists provided nuanced perspectives on the challenges and opportunities inherent in restructuring service workload systems to better align with principles of equity and inclusion, particularly considering recent research about women doing more “non-promotable tasks” in the workplace . They emphasized the need for proactive measures to mitigate biases and promote fairness at all stages of faculty evaluation and promotion.

Anis Bawarshi, known for his scholarship in rhetoric and composition, underscored the importance of recognizing and valuing various forms of service work within academic departments. “Too often, the burden of service falls disproportionately on certain individuals or marginalized groups,” remarked Bawarshi. “By implementing equitable workload systems, we can ensure that all faculty members have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the academic community without being overburdened.”

Jennifer Koski, a widely respected expert in business valuation and corporate finance, highlighted the importance of reevaluating traditional metrics of success to ensure that they align with equity-driven goals. She cited research by Dr. Laurie Weingart and others about how women are disproportionately asked to serve, volunteer themselves to serve, and experience backlash when they serve and observed that structural approaches are necessary for creating equity. “Academic evaluation and promotion criteria should reflect the diverse contributions of faculty members, including teaching, research, and service,” asserted Koski. “By establishing clear service guidelines, we can create a more inclusive rubric that is essential to more equitable evaluations and promotions.”

Kristi Morgansen, a pioneer in the field of autonomous systems, emphasized the role of mentorship in fostering a supportive environment for faculty members from underrepresented backgrounds. “Mentorship is not just about guiding junior faculty through the tenure process; it’s about providing them with the resources and support they need to thrive in academia,” said Morgansen. “By investing in mentorship programs, institutions can cultivate a culture of inclusivity and empowerment.”

A vibrant Q&A session followed the panel presentations, during which attendees engaged in thought-provoking discussions about practical strategies for implementing equity-minded practices within their own departments and institutions. Participants then worked in groups on a series of thought exercises drawing from the seminal research led by the University of Maryland’s ADVANCE program and published in partnership with the American Council on Education on Equity Minded Faculty Workloads.

After much thoughtful collaboration and discussion, participants departed, inspired and invigorated by the day’s dialogue, it was evident that the University of Washington’s ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change (UW ADVANCE) housed in the Office of Academic Personnel had once again succeeded in catalyzing meaningful progress toward a more equitable future in academia.

Leadership Development is a key focus of UW ADVANCE. Leadership workshops are offered quarterly for department chairs, deans and other leaders across all UW campuses. Past topics include recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, work-life balance, and preparing faculty for promotion and tenure. With each Leadership Workshop, the University of Washington reaffirms its commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the academic community. Visit UW ADVANCE for more information and resources.