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Diversity Action Plan for
Creative Writing

Create an inclusive and welcome learning environment for all

A, Strategy 1: Create a more welcoming, respectful, and inclusive climate in our classes

I. Tactic 1: Diversify our reading lists, use examples from diverse sources, include references to more women, writers of color, writers in English from all around the world, and translations from other literatures.

II. Tactic 2: Encourage our students to research terms, references, cultures, authors, and individuals referenced in student written material, especially when these derive from non-mainstream sources (e.g., “Adonis” as not a Greek god, but a contemporary Syrian poet)

III. Tactic 3: Familiarize ourselves, as faculty, with contemporary intellectual thought regarding issues of race, gender, identity, cultural diaspora, and immigration

IV. Tactic 4: Be receptive to our students who wish to pursue interests in literature and issues regarding race, gender, identity, cultural diaspora, and immigration

Evaluation tools:

A. Strategy 1: Incorporate practices that eliminate implicit bias and combat racism as well as other forms of discrimination. Be open in our courses to issues regarding race, identity, gender, and cultural difference when they occur in student writing. Inform ourselves with contemporary thought regarding these issues.

B. Strategy 2: Include explicit criteria in tenure, promotion, and course evaluation reviews that value and emphasize contributions toward diversity, inclusion, and equality.

Maintain and/or increase the representation of diverse students, faculty, and community partners

A. Strategy 1: Maintain and incorporate active recruitment strategies, goals, and processes to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias in recruiting students and faculty from underrepresented communities

1. Tactic 1: Feature students, faculty, and reading series authors who come from underrepresented communities on our webpage

2. Tactic 2: Be alert to opportunities for recruitment and support of students from underrepresented communities, particularly in graduate admissions and the Kidd Workshops

3. Tactic 3: Regularly invite authors from underrepresented communities in our reading series

4. Tactic 4: Be alert to self-identified applicants of color in our searches for both visiting positions and permanent hires and find ways to encourage more writers of color to apply.

5. Tactic 5: Consider establishing Visiting Fellow positions in Fiction and Poetry dedicated to the hiring of promising writers of color who would serve on our faculty for limited terms (from one quarter to a full year or two). This would allow us to bring writers from underrepresented groups for longer stays. The appointment could be variable (one term some years; more if one of us is on sabbatical/away). Or we could shape it as a fiction/poet visiting position, alternating as necessary.

6. Tactic 6: Make consistent use of all potential monies offered by the Graduate School for “Promising Scholars Awards” and from the Office of Equity and Inclusion for faculty searches that actively recruit for applicants from underrepresented groups. Note the “Fund for Active Recruitment” that makes available up to $2000 for such purposes.

Evaluation tools:

A. Strategy 1: Include regular evaluations (annual report, curriculum evaluations, faculty merit raises, evaluation of Director, etc.) regarding progress of Strategy 1 in the categories of each of the Tactics mentioned above. Evaluations of progress should be embedded in annual reviews for non-tenured faculty, as well as third year, sixth year, and tenure reviews.

B. Assess over a period of one to three years the number of pro-tem positions that have been filled by persons from underrepresented groups.

Facilitate access to achievement, success, and recognition for underrepresented students, faculty, staff, and alumni:

A. Strategy 1: Continue our established practice of regularly nominating incoming graduate students of color for additional awards recognizing excellence (from Graduate School, etc.)

B. Strategy 2: Invite successful alumni of color to participate in our reading series as visiting authors (as have Major Jackson, Kirsten Valdez Quade, et al). Bring back alums who have published books, acknowledging their achievement and inspiring our current students.

C. Strategy 3: Promote the accomplishments of our faculty of color through our Program website, annual newsletter, etc.

D. Strategy 4: Encourage CAS, Academic Affairs, and other UO entities to establish research awards and other recognitions for faculty of color, especially for projects that encourage our diversity goals and concern matters regarding diversity, inclusion, and cultural difference

E. Create a Program library of materials–books and articles–that could be incorporated into our curricula to encourage more diversity and discussions pertinent to diversity. This could be both a “physical” library, as well as an on-line resource. Professor Hongo’s recent ad hoc “reading list for diversity” could be a start.

Evaluation tools:

A. Strategy 1: Include in our annual Program evaluation mention of our success rate in securing external awards for graduate students of color

B. Strategy 2: Include significant mention in annual Program review of the alumni of color invited back to campus to participate in our reading series

C. Strategy 3: Review annually our efforts to promote accomplishments of faculty of color

D. Strategy 4: Task our Director to encourage CAS, Academic Affairs, and other UO entities to establish research awards and other recognitions for faculty of color

E. Strategy 5: Collect course syllabi and assess the number of texts from the library that have been included, either as course texts or recommended/reserve readings

Leadership will prioritize and incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in plans and actions

A. Strategy 1: The Director and Assistant Director shall look for opportunities to support students and faculty of color in areas of recognition, awards, publication, and professional activity

B. Strategy 2: The Director and Assistant Director shall encourage the incorporation of materials concerning diversity, equity, and inclusion in the curriculum—in particular, reading lists for our undergraduate and graduate courses using texts, reserve readings, etc.

C. Strategy 3: The Director and Assistant Director shall encourage the Director of the Kidd Workshops to feature mention and materials acknowledging the modeling of the Kidd Workshops on the Watts Writers Workshops as an example of African American contributions to our Program culture

D. Strategy 4: The Director and Assistant Director shall lobby and encourage CAS, Academic Affairs, and other UO entities to recruit students and faculty of color and establish significant recognitions for students and faculty of color as well as make specific, written plans for the Program to assist in these efforts, perhaps proposing Target of Opportunity hires for promising and interested writers of color.

E. Assess incoming student’s awareness of diversity and incorporate a discussion of diversity in the classrooms–with regard to curriculum, attentiveness, etc.–during the Week of Welcome trainings for our new grad students.

F. Organize a “conversation” next year in which MFAs and faculty meet to discuss diversity in the program or field of writing–perhaps taking on a particular aspect, idea or problem. Do we write about race? Or, a question that might interest the students: do we see a change in the literary landscape, where a more diverse range of books seems finally to be being published?

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