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New Title IX Regulations effective August 14, 2020

Title IX, Title VII, VAWA, Washington state law, and University of Washington policy collectively prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, pregnant or parenting status, and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) identity.

Anyone may contact the Office of the Title IX Coordinator about sex and gender discrimination, including sexual or gender-based harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other forms of sexual misconduct. Anyone who has experienced these behaviors has the right to make a complaint to the University, report to the police, to both, or not at all.

Please see the Title IX website to learn more about how to report or make a formal complaint of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct. You will also find information about supportive measures and the grievance procedures that are utilized for complaints of sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct. Students and employees have access to support measures and resources, whether or not they choose to make a complaint.

Explore GSEE’s History

This story is part of a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of GSEE. Learn more.

Welcome to the start of the GSEE story! We are so proud of our history, our struggles, our achievements, and, especially, our alumni. 

As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, we produced a timeline that incorporates profiles of our alumni from the past five decades. We hope these profiles give you a sense of the evolution and impact of GSEE more than just the dates and facts would.

Our story officially begins in 1970, when the Office of the Recruitment for Minority Graduate and Professional Students was established. 

But of course, there was so much that led to that office. In 1968, the Black Student Union was created and immediately established itself as a student organization to be taken seriously, issuing a list of demands to President Odegaard, and then staging a sit-in to have those demands met. This prompted a cascade of changes at the University of Washington, including the formation of what is now known as the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D).

Initially a part of the Office of Minority Affairs, the Office of the Recruitment for Minority Graduate and Professional Students’ main activities were recruitment, counseling and providing financial support to students of color. 

Later that year, President Charles E. Odegaard approved the joint administrative title of Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and Special Assistant to the Vice President for Minority Affairs, starting a formal relationship between the two units. 

Establishing this relationship meant that specific attention was now being given to the unique challenges and needs of graduate students of color. You’ll hear alumni’s experiences through the years, how their graduate education experience at UW was, and all the myriad ways that GSEE supported them, and where they are in life now.

This timeline is based on OMA&D’s 50th anniversary timeline. Special thanks to OMA&D and UWAA for their partnerships and support; Jessica Salvador, whose student paper on GSEE’s history was invaluable; Linda Dodson of UW Archives, and to all the alum who generously shared their stories. 

Fostering Inclusive Classrooms as a TA

How do we, as TAs or RAs, work to include all students we work with, given the difficult times the nation is in? — Anonymous 

This week’s answer is courtesy of Gonzalo Guzman, pre-doctoral instructor in American Ethnic Studies and the College of Education. 

To say we live in “difficult times” would be an understatement. This is why it is our duty as TAs, RAs, or Instructors of Record to make sure that our students feel included in our classrooms. By “inclusion” I mean building and fostering a community in your class that validates and respects students. In difficult times, the community you build in your classroom can be a refuge, where students focus on learning and know that their experiences matter to you and their colleagues in the class.

Simply put, inclusion and validation of your students should be central to your philosophy of education/teaching. Students know when TAs/RAs/Instructors care about them, are accessible, and make efforts to include them. This is not content bound, but is a philosophy of work. For instance, a TA can teach content from a discipline or field that focuses on topics such as social history and identity constructions, and still develop a working relationship or classroom where their students don’t necessarily feel included or welcome. Even if the content reflects most of the students’ realities, if the teaching style and the overall classroom environment do not, then students will not feel a part of the learning environment.

Including all the students we work with is relational, continuous work, and it doesn’t need to be a  drastic transformation. It can simply start with check-ins with your students. Other ways to do this are to make assignments more accessible and responsive, adapt student input into your work, and make a collaborative space where your students know you are working together in a shared classroom. How you do this is up to you; it is dependent on the community you make and the relationship you have with your students. How do we include all of our students in these difficult times? We do the work. We teach and work to the benefit and developing lives of our students.

Women’s March

Emily Kalah Gade, Ph.D. candidate in political science, explained in the Washington Post how the Women’s March may lead to social movement.

Self-Reflection and Dialogue

Many of us will be spending the long weekend with loved ones—both biological and chosen.  A time for sharing and holding space with family and friends is much-needed—not only because you have all been working so hard this quarter—but also because the current political climate has been difficult to bear (to say the least).

This time can also serve as a starting point for us to think beyond solely expressing gratitude—and beyond feeling despair—to in fact being self-reflective about initial ways to show up for social justice.  And to put that self-reflection into dialogue with loved ones.  Here are a few examples (not exhaustive by any means):

Learn.  If you’ve been curious or interested in supporting communities most impacted by multiple oppressions—Black and Native communities, Trans and Queer communities, Muslim communities, People with Disabilities, and Undocumented families are just a few examples—an important first step is to learn about their diverse histories of community resistance and resilience in the United States.

Listen.  Attend public events where the voices of marginalized communities are truly centered and amplified.  Listen with humility.  Sit with, rather than respond to, what might feel like a knee-jerk reaction to interrupt or be defensive—and just listen.  Hear from multiple voices within a single community—as no individual can represent the whole.  Here are concrete ways listening can be used to further social justice.

Dialogue.  If we are to end systems of oppression like racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, or xenophobia, conversations about these issues must be initiated within our own communities—amongst our own families and friends.  I know what you’re thinking, “You want me to start a conversation about oppression with family during the holiday?”  Not necessarily, because when and how you chat with family and friends depends on the context.  We do know that ignoring the reality of oppressions will not make these issues go away.  It is through the recognition of this reality that we can begin to move forward. And always remember that you can practice self-care during the holiday.

Take good care this weekend, and we applaud you not only for your commitment to intellectual and professional pursuits but for your community engagement as well.

With Respect,

Kelly, Jaye, and Ziyan
Core Programs Team

Thriving in Graduate School 2.0

GSEE invited Core Programs staff to facilitate a power hour event called Thriving in Graduate School.  Graduate students who attended had the opportunity to learn from a panel of experienced graduate students of color currently working on their Masters and Doctoral degrees.  These included Jessica Hernandez (Marine and Environmental Affairs & Environmental and Forest Sciences), Crystal Agoncillo (Evans School of Public Policy and Governance), Lindsey Wilson (Education), and Issa Abdulcadir (Sociology), who shared their wisdom and strategies for surviving and thriving—within and outside of graduate school. We thank them for allowing us to share their pearls of wisdom below.

Self-advocacy.  In order for you to get the support you need, meet goals, and achieve milestones as a graduate student—it is important that you advocate for yourself so you can be–and feel–successful.  If you are in need of emotional, professional, or intellectual mentorship from peers, reach out to students within and outside of your cohort.  Finally, take the initiative to schedule regular meetings with faculty mentors and advisors.  E-mail them a meeting request with a short, realistic list of things you’ll be talking about (e.g. coursework, preparing for a conference, the progress of your thesis or dissertation, job search, or even a set of questions that will help you understand your graduate program better), and a list of dates and times you can meet, especially if you are unable to meet during their office hours. As you need to, negotiate for changing deadlines to ensure you are putting forth your best work.

Community.  Recognize that you are a whole person, with a need for community on and off campus.  It is perfectly okay (and necessary) for you to foster community with students, staff, and faculty across campus, especially if you have similar life experiences based on race, gender, ability, sexuality, economic background, or nationality.  Connecting with individuals who share experiences based on your identities and shared values can help decrease isolation and buffer the effects of campus-based microaggressions.  Connecting with community can also look like making time in your schedule to spend time with, skype, or call loved ones to maintain relationships with family and friends, especially if you moved to Washington for graduate school from another state or country.  This can also look like volunteering with local organizations and social movements in your city, as many of us care deeply about issues of equity and social justice.

Purpose. As above, connecting with people and causes that you care about will keep you fueled for the long road ahead that is graduate school. Remember why you are here and the contributions you want to make.  Your purpose and passion is your North Star and can help to ground you when the deadlines, demands, and noise around you get to be too much. And remember that you belong here. Make the UW Graduate School experience your own, make your graduate student experience work for YOU.  #UWGradSuccess #UWGOMAP


Kelly, Jaye, and Ziyan
Core Programs Team

Thank you again to the grad student panelists and GSEE for co-organizing another successful power hour event and for asking us to collaborate with them!

Making UW Your Own – #UWGradSuccess

Recently, two graduate students from Chemistry, Sarah Vorpahl and Nick Montoni, organized and led a day-long gathering focused on Strengthening STEM through Diversity. The meeting brought together leaders from UW student organizations, as well as faculty, staff, and community partners to collectively discuss issues of equity in STEM and to develop concrete strategies that will promote a climate of inclusivity for multiple underrepresented communities studying, researching, and working in STEM disciplines.

Core Programs attended and gathered several pearls of wisdom from the plenary speaker UW bioengineering faculty Wendy Thomas, and from the student leadership panel, with representatives from Women in Chemical Sciences, oSTEM, SACNAS, AISES, and the student union UAW 4121. We will be sharing highlights and insights, and working on larger institutional guidance, over the next several weeks as the ideas and opportunities identified at the event will contribute to a larger learning environment where all students can thrive at UW. Here is just a start:

Imposter syndrome. “Imposter syndrome” is familiar to many in Graduate School (and beyond): that feeling that you aren’t smart enough or that you might not have what it takes to succeed. Here’s the thing, you are not alone! Surrounded by smart people, many of us may feel we don’t fit in. Some advice has been to “fake it til you make it.” We agree and yet this should not be confused with “suck it up and deal.” That is, if there are things within your grad program or research group that seem odd to you – ask questions, talk to a peer or trusted colleague to check out your observations, seek allies to support you and who can also speak up and ask for changes. Asking for what you need to thrive is a big part of making your graduate experience your own and one in which you can shine. Shifting our academic culture and landscape to a place that encourages human connection and growth will take all of us–from interpersonal changes to institutional, structural level changes.

Develop a growth vs. fixed mindset. Fixed mindset is the belief that “some people just have what it takes,” while others will never have what it takes. It is the thinking that some individuals are automatically good at understanding concepts and theories in their discipline, writing, acquiring research funding, public speaking, and so forth. This is simply not true. Being a graduate student is about developing and honing your skills, knowledge-base, and competencies over time. It is a process. In this regard, we encourage you to shift towards a growth mindset. If you are experiencing a roadblock in graduate school, it is more than likely that a peer or faculty has experienced a similar challenge. If you are part of the 1-in-3 graduate students who are coping with issues related to mental health, utilize campus resources like the DRS. DRS staff can help you draft an accommodation plan that is personal, confidential, and can set you up for success. Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself and give yourself permission to grow.

Find a mentor. There are numerous reasons why you seek out mentors in graduate school. An advisor can give you research direction, but a mentor really invests in you. National guidelines are now pointing to building a mentor team for academic direction, career guidance, and personal support. Mentors can make the difference between surviving and thriving – seek them out and invest time to build your team. As keynote speaker Dr. Thomas shared, when she finally had a mentor who was equally excited to talk to her about her research results, as well her feelings about the research, she knew she could stay in academia.

We thank the student event organizers, student organizations, and the UW programs that signed on as co-sponsors, for their dedication and hard work in investing in making UW a better place for all of us! Keep it coming. #Together #DiversifySTEM #UWGradSuccess

Best Regards,

Kelly, Jaye, and Ziyan
Core Programs Team