Skip to content

Progress Report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)


This report contains college-wide DEI updates since the August 27, 2020 report. The Progress Report is issued quarterly and includes but is not limited to the College’s actions to address specific Demands from the Black Student Union and Indigenous Student Association.


For a PDF version of this progress report, click here.


President’s Office


Under the direction of the President, all Cabinet members are currently working on DEI goals for each of their areas with a deadline of the end of this semester. These goals will be reviewed in February 2021 by the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee and made public to the campus community in the annual report in Summer 2021. 


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives:
The DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee met on a bi-weekly basis during the Fall Semester and will continue to meet during the Spring Semester. This semester the Advisory Committee has committed its work to holding Listening Sessions, developing recommendations for Cabinet based on those sessions, reviewing College-wide DEI goals, overseeing the Campus-wide Deliberative Dialogues and Caucusing in conjunction with the Wilson Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (WIDE) Office, and responding to student Demands.


Members of the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee, 2020-2022:
Dr. Daleah Goodwin, Professor of History and Director of DEI Initiatives
Dominique Boone, Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Ashley Costantino, Assistant Director of Student Conduct
Melissa Davis, Writer, Enrollment and Marketing
Zanne Garland, Vice President of Advancement
Dr. Ben Krakauer, Professor of Music
Dr. Siti Kusujiarti, Professor of Sociology
Brianna Martin, Business and History & Political Science Major
Brittany Sings, Biology and Environmental Studies Major
Dr. Julie Wilson, Director of the Writing Studio


Updated Response to the Black Student Union (BSU) Demands:
On September 25, 2020, the College issued an updated Response to the BSU Demands. This Response specifically outlined the major steps that the College is taking toward meeting the BSU Demands. Further updates for the BSU Demands will be contained within the DEI Quarterly Reports. 


Information on Indigenous Student Association (ISA) Demands:
On October 13, 2020, the College issued a Response to the Indigenous Student Association Demands for Educational and Institutional Reform. We are working together with the ISA to consider these Demands and develop an implementation plan.


Deliberative Dialogue:
In response to the BSU Demand “Reframing Campus-Wide Dialogue,” the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee and the Wilson Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (WIDE) Office have been coordinating the Campus-Wide Deliberative Dialogue. This year, due to COVID restrictions, the Deliberative Dialogue will be held virtually on Friday, January 29 from 1:00-5:00 pm. Information on registering for this event will be distributed in January 2021.


The BSU issued a revision to their original Caucusing Demand on September 21, 2020. That revision has been taken into consideration and will be reflected in the Caucusing. Caucusing will take place during Week 8 of the Spring 2021 Semester. The DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee has convened a sub-committee to oversee the planning of this event. Community members interested in facilitating a small group breakout session during the Caucuses should complete this form


Listening Session Feedback and Recommendations:
During September and October 2020, the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee (AC) held Listening Sessions open to all members of the campus community. These sessions were designed to allow for open, honest, critical feedback concerning the wants, needs, expectations, and experiences regarding racial DEI at the College. The AC has processed this data and prepared a report, available HERE, detailing the major themes that participants expressed and AC’s resulting recommendations. 


Next steps:
Both the Deliberative Dialogues and Caucusing sub-committees from the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee will continue planning the Deliberative Dialogues and Caucusing for Spring 2021. We are reaching out to ITS to coordinate the logistics.


The position of Vice President for DEI and Strategy has been posted. The chair of the search committee is Zanne Garland, Vice President for Advancement, who serves on the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee. Committee members will be announced in January, and finalist candidates will visit campus during the Spring Semester.


Academic Affairs


Faculty Development:
Academic Affairs held a faculty conversation in October (with about 55 faculty in attendance) on anti-racist education and inclusive teaching.


Faculty and staff learning communities (FSLCs) formed and have been meeting this semester. FSLCs are peer-led groups of faculty/staff members who engage in an active, collaborative, semester-long program structured to provide encouragement, support, and reflection (Cox, 2004). The FSLCs operates through the Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence (CFIE) with the assistance of the DEI Initiatives. For more information on the goals and structure of the FSLCs, please see this handout. This semester our FSLCs studied and discussed three books: “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad, “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, and “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. The DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee developed a supplemental DEI reading list that was distributed to facilitators as well. In Fall 2020, we had 51 participants. 


All departments in Academic Affairs submitted a DEI Engagement Form to the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee and Academic Affairs on December 7. The DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee will review, comment, and return with feedback in January 2021 and then each department will submit their finalized plan in May 2021.


The BSU and Alma Shippy Coalition members and the Student Government Association (SGA) met on a monthly basis with Jay Roberts, Vice President for Academic Affairs. Carol Howard, Jay Roberts, Daleah Goodwin, and Tynesha McCullers also held a listening session with members of the ISA in October. Jay Roberts attended a SURJ meeting in November where the topic of discussion was the curriculum.


Next steps:
Faculty/Staff Support:
A Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) faculty/staff listening session will be held in the Spring Semester with members of Cabinet for the purposes of hearing about the lived experience of our faculty and staff of Color both in working at Warren Wilson and in living in the region. From that listening session, specific ideas, plans, and proposals will be developed to address concerns and needs. 


Faculty/Staff Development:
We will have more conversation around DEI, anti-racist education, and inclusive teaching with the faculty during the Spring Semester. It will be a topic during the January Retreat, and we are planning two additional conversations during the Spring Semester. 


Due to the widespread appeal of the Faculty and Staff Learning Communities, the Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence and  DEI Initiatives will offer Learning Communities for faculty and staff again in the Spring Semester.


In response to ISA Demand #1 “Cultural competency training for all teachers at the start of every year to be taught by a team of Indigenous exclusive educators,” Academic Affairs and DEI Initiatives will host an interactive workshop with Sky Sampson, Director of the Cherokee Center at Western Carolina University. This one-hour session on appropriate language, cultural appropriation, and cultural competency of Indigenous culture will take place in February 2021 and is open to all faculty and staff. 


Applied Learning


Work Program:
A working group consisting of Paul Bobbitt, Bry Thompson, Camp Larrick, and Sally Thames have been meeting weekly to develop workplace DEI training sessions for all students participating in the Work Program. These training sessions are in response to the BSU Demand for mandatory workplace training sessions focused on topics such as cultural competency, allyship, implicit biases, and microaggressions. Starting in mid-October, the group brought format concepts and timing to Dr. Goodwin and Tynesha McCullers to consult with them about best practices, development of a common facilitator database, and appropriate timing of training sessions to avoid conflict with the Campus Wide Dialogue and Caucus efforts. Those conversations have informed our path forward.


Next Steps:

  • - Dr. Goodwin sent out a form soliciting facilitators for Work Program Office (WPO) Crew Training sessions.
  • - We will hold training sessions for facilitators during Week 3 of the Spring Semester.
  • - We will divide the WPO into three equal groupings based on affiliated work and work environments and facilitate training sessions for these groupings during crew meeting times of Weeks 4, 5 & 6. Due to COVID restrictions, these sessions will be fully virtual.
  • - The focus of these training sessions will be microaggressions in the workplace, implicit bias in the workplace, and development of a toolkit for allyship.


Community Engagement:
We have continued to develop partnerships with community organizations that are run by and/or serve BIPOC communities and individuals, including the following:

  • - Asheville Writers in the Schools/Word on the Street (AWITS)
  • - My Daddy Taught Me That
  • - Umoja Health and Wellness
  • El Centro


Because of COVID-19, we have been limited in sending students out to community partners, but we have been able to place two Bonner Leaders with Umoja Health and Wellness on Fridays, where they have been helping with mentoring. Additionally, we were able to assist Asheville Writers in the Schools by providing a tutor virtually on Wednesdays from 12-2 p.m. and an in-person tutor on Thursdays from 12-2 p.m. For the other organizations, we began the process of formalizing our partnerships for the future.


Next steps:
Speaking to the director of each organization, we were able to begin planning our collaboration for the upcoming semester. We will be assisting in programming, community outreach, tutoring, mentoring, and other services that partners have requested. We will continue to strengthen our relationships with these organizations, and hopefully be able to work with a couple of others next semester.


Career Development and Internships:
We have reviewed the Internship Stipend Process and Application and will be implementing changes to both for the Spring 2021 cycle. The changes will allow for more equitable access and include:

  • - Removing questions that are redundant or unnecessary.
  • - Revising the application process to include demographic information in order to measure our success in increasing awards to BIPOC students.
  • - Providing alternative ways to submit materials, allowing students to capitalize on their strengths.
  • - Creating a narrated slide deck to guide students through completing their application.


Training of Peer Career Coaches – We have provided educational materials for use by Peer Career Coaches so that they will better understand issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion in a career development context.


We hosted four Career Conversation Panels this Fall, three of which included BIPOC alumni.


Next steps:
January 2021 – Identify and use marketing strategies around internship stipends and career resources to effectively reach BIPOC students, measuring results related to the goal of increasing participation to assess effectiveness.


Integrated Advising:
The Integrated Advising team developed departmental goals to be submitted to the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee.


A template has been created and provided to Integrated Advising Coaches to use in developing their personal professional development plans focused on understanding identity issues and the impact on their work.  


The Integrated Advising Team has met once to begin discussion of what parts of the program need to be examined more closely using a DEI lens in order to make improvements around equity and access.


Next steps:
In January 2021, Integrated Advising Coaches will review their professional development plans individually for approval. The plans will then be used as part of the staff employee evaluation process in the spring/summer and on an ongoing basis.


The team will develop a clear timeline and assign responsibilities for those aspects of the programming that are identified as needing changes in order to implement adjustments and new elements for as many as possible by Fall 2021.


Student Life


In response to the BSU Demand for access to BIPOC counselors, Student Life, including the Counseling Center and Health Center, have launched Wilson Telehealth with TimelyMD. We picked TimelyMD because 40% of their providers are providers of Color, and they offer access to medical and mental health providers 24 hours a day all 365 days. 


Following up on the BSU Demand to examine the Bias Incident Policy, the Student Government Association (SGA) held two meetings to get feedback on the policy, one specifically with members of the ISA. SGA also ended the semester with a series of meetings that elevated BIPOC student voices. 


The Vice President for Student Life met with BSU about their Demand for a BIPOC student center. Next Step: a meeting with representatives from other student groups to do a more comprehensive needs assessment and brainstorm possible locations. The Vice President for Student Life also met with members of the ISA about the creation and placement of land acknowledgement signs.


The Engaged 2.0 Mentor Program kicked off this year by connecting coaches, mentors, and mentees with one another. They implemented student planned self care nights, and held group gatherings. This program is a partnership between different departments around campus, including Residence Life. 


The WIDE Office underwent a few instances of change in leadership over the course of the fall semester after the departure of Clarissa Harris. Student Life organized a search for an Interim WIDE Director and hired Tynesha McCullers, who joined us mid-October and sought to understand what the WIDE crew had been doing before her arrival. McCullers conducted an assessment of campus and noted varying dynamics that either helped or hindered the process of furthering social justice and equity efforts at the institution. McCullers presented findings from her assessment to the Board of Trustees Student Life Workgroup as well as the larger Board of Trustees. The WIDE Office Crew continued to collaborate with other campus departments to create programming that focused on racial justice, community accountability, and self-care for BIPOC campus constituents. For the upcoming semester, Interim WIDE Director McCullers will be implementing trainings to prepare for Deliberative Dialogue Day and campus Caucuses. She will also be leading the Work Program Office’s efforts in providing Cultural Competency training for all work crews on campus. The WIDE Office will offer events that coincide with MLK Jr. Day of Service, Black History Month, International Women’s Day, and more. Members of the WIDE Crew will serve as liaisons to student organizations which include but are not limited to the Black Student Union, Indigenous Student Association, Latinx Student Collective, Asian Culture Club, Global Council, Alma Shippy Coalition, and Standing Up for Racial Justice. In addition to these responsibilities, the WIDE Office will provide feedback on the VP of Diversity & Inclusion search. 


Counseling Center:
The Counseling Center co-sponsored an online event with WIDE, BSU, and the Center for Student Wellbeing called “Creating a Safer Place and Building Community,”


Next steps:
The Counseling Center is currently working with the Alma Shippy Coalition on a needs assessment for a facilitated support group. 




Funding for DEI work and scholarships for BIPOC Students 
With the Finance Department and Trustees, we established a new George Floyd Memorial Scholarship to award in Spring 2021 to increase a student’s academic year 2021-22 scholarship award. We reported on the Appalachian Colleges Association’s Project Promise grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation that supported our DEI listening session work this Fall 2020. We received funding from the Endeavor Foundation to underwrite DEI initiatives at the College in fiscal year 2020-21. We are researching new funding sources to expand funding for DEI work.


Next steps:
With the WIDE office, we will establish a decision-making process for the new George Floyd scholarship as well as other existing named scholarships for Students of Color by February 2021. We will find new sources of DEI funding through grants and comprehensive campaign efforts.


Community relations:
We held webinars for the campus community and broader community on anti-racist topics. Mariah Parker ’13 spoke about her role as a County Commissioner and activist in Georgia at Homecoming in October. Dr. Rima Veseley-Flad spoke about challenging white supremacy and decolonizing work and research in October. Namita Gupta Wiggers spoke about who is at the table in researching craft and building the academic field in November.


Next steps: 
We will continue to hold webinars addressing racism and amplifying voices of Color. In January 2021, we are planning to hold a webinar on Jeff Keith and Kevin Kehrberg’s research for their Bitter Southerner article on the racist history of the building of the Swannanoa Tunnel. In April 2021, Nia Evans, owner of the Ujima Business Alliance in Boston, will launch our Green Entrepreneurship speaker series.


Department and individual DEI goals:
We created and shared our Advancement Department DEI goals document with the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee in November and got feedback on our division’s DEI work plans. Each Advancement staff member created a fiscal year 2021 DEI goal in August and has had one quarterly check in on their progress toward reaching that goal to date.


Next steps:
We will complete the revision of our DEI goals for further review by the DEI Initiatives Advisory Committee by January 2021.


Alma Mater
We launched a process in December 2020 to form a committee of students, alumni, Alumni Board, Trustees, faculty, and staff to remove and rewrite colonizing language in the Alma Mater — something brought up by students in the past and highlighted in Dr. Rima Veseley-Flad’s webinar.


Next step:
We will complete a rewrite removing colonizing language in the Alma Mater by Commencement in May 2021.


Team training
The Advancement team is holding monthly DEI discussions at all-staff meetings. Since August, we have all read or watched and then discussed: “Stages of Racial Identity Development,” “Making Inclusivity the Norm,” “Community Centric Fundraising,” Nina Jablonsky’s Leakey Foundation talk,” as well as attending the above hosted webinars. Members of the team also attended Jefferson Ellison’s Asheville-area marketing webinar “Don’t Ask Your Black Friend.” 


Next step:
We will continue to do monthly Advancement team readings and discussions on anti-racism and anti-racist fundraising throughout Spring 2021 and as part of our ongoing established practices in our department.


Relationship-building and leadership
In order to increase diversity in leadership bodies such as the Trustees, Alumni Board, and Families of Wilson Council, we are proactively reaching out to constituents of Color to build relationships toward increasing diversity and inclusion in those volunteer leadership groups.


Next steps:
Identify and address our own systems and biases that limit and prevent inclusion, engagement, and leadership of constituents of Color and continue to build relationships toward increasing diversity and inclusion within the Advancement staff and volunteer leadership groups by October 2021.


Enrollment and Marketing


In the Enrollment & Marketing Division, the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Admissions (IDEA) working group has met every two weeks since July. IDEA has finished their inventory and assessment of previous Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the division, conducted research into bringing anti-racist practices to our Admissions and Marketing work, and drafted an extensive list of division DEI Goals for the 2020-2021 academic year based on that research. 


IDEA has also facilitated several monthly division-wide DEI learning sessions on various DEI topics, each with significant readings in preparation for facilitated discussions. The division held two trainings in implicit bias and inclusive communication in December. The Marketing team also all attended Jefferson Ellison’s Asheville-area antiracist marketing webinar training “Don’t Ask Your Black Friend” in November. Admissions has written a new training handbook for employees to improve our inclusivity and make our division more accessible to new employees coming in from outside higher education and admissions. In our two recent hiring searches, we required DEI statements from candidates, and we improved our division interview process to mitigate bias and make our process more inclusive.


We are still working on rewriting our external website for inclusion and accessibility, an extensive project that will stretch through 2021. Our current focus is on Academic Program pages, Student Life and student support pages, and external-facing Financial Aid and scholarship pages. We have implemented our new Admissions Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Slate, over the summer and fall, and we are currently streamlining all of our processes in it to create a more seamless and transparent user experience. We are particularly excited about the first-generation college student database designation that we have created, and we are using it to create more tailored advising and support for first-generation students, which will be implemented throughout spring and summer 2021.


Next steps:
Now that we have drafted our DEI goals for the year, we are currently hard at work implementing them by our deadline of summer 2021. IDEA has also created an inventory of DEI work still needed in our areas, so we are now reviewing that inventory in the division to prioritize our next steps. After this review is done, we will create a DEI strategic plan for Enrollment & Marketing and establish our goals for next year by the end of Spring Semester 2021.


Finance & Administration and Human Resources


The Finance and Administration team is currently finalizing the division’s DEI goals. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Controller, and Division Directors completed a training and discussion on microaggressions in November 2020 which resulted in very good and open communication.  At every division team meeting, we are discussing DEI and will be doing additional training to continue to raise awareness.


Human Resources (HR):
We purchased a diversity package with for any job postings, expanding our reach and exposure in a diverse market. We became a member of Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC), which reaches diverse markets and is a new avenue for us to attract diverse candidates for any job positions.


Next steps:
We will audit our division’s (and overlapping College-wide) policies and procedures for equitable and consistent application by 6/30/2021. We plan to review all forms of communication that we undertake with respective audiences and create standards of communication ensuring inclusivity and consistency by 6/30/2021. Our staff teams will complete a minimum of seven DEI trainings/discussions in a variety of ways—through guest presenters, webinar(s), and/or readings—with follow up discussions by 6/30/2021. During the Spring Semester, Human Resources will conduct a small series of professional development DEI sessions for faculty and staff to ensure search and hiring practices are equitable.




The Athletics and Adventure Sports Department developed a “Be the Change” campaign. As part of this campaign, and in order to help further support the department’s DEI initiatives, a survey was sent in September to student athletes and coaches. Survey results were assessed in October. A series of actions were developed to support the needs identified in the survey results, and these steps were added to the department’s strategic plan and continued DEI efforts. Furthermore, in partnership with BSN Sports and Under Armour, “Be the Change” shirts were given to all student athletes and coaches to help support the overall campaign. As a first initiative, everyone was encouraged to wear the shirt every Tuesday in October to support voting. All athletic activity was canceled on November 3 to support student athletes voting and participation in other civic activities. Additionally, various athletic staff members have participated in a book club and personal education and readings with a DEI focus. Diversity education tips are now shared with the staff and added to the athletic website monthly.


The Student-Athlete Advisory Group (SAAC) engaged in DEI conversations this semester. Further sharing of information and education was provided through the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on Athletes Using Their Power, which focused on address, activism, allyship, and action (link). As an initiative that came from the survey, SAAC partnered with Intramurals and hosted a kickball event that brought students together in a socially distanced, safe, fun, and engaging way. 


The WWC Outdoor Program set up a 5K walk/run course around campus to support the HBCUs Outside #BlackToTheTrails5K virtual event. Various members from the campus community participated in this event and helped raise funds to support HBCUs. In response to a BSU Demand, the Outdoor Program reached out to the BSU to offer a POC hike and S’mores. Conversations took place, but a date was not solidified. The Outdoor Program intends to continue to reach out to the BSU to offer this program next semester.  


Next steps:

Next semester, the department’s athletics diversity and inclusion designee will be taking an Inclusive Leadership Certificate. This training and the information gathered will then be used to train the athletic and adventure sports staff members on the following topics: diversity, inclusion & belonging foundations, cultural competence and managing relationships, overcoming bias and decoding microaggressions, unpacking racism, anti-racism and privilege, LGBTQIA+ inclusion and gender stereotypes, and inclusive leadership and strategic plan development. Additionally, some staff members will be taking an Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance course sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh (link). 


Survey results were analyzed and changes will be implemented based on the feedback provided. Some recommended changes will include highlighting our diversity on our website with current and former student athletes. Additionally, as part of the department’s action plan, each athletic staff member will engage themselves in a combination of six hours of learning and/or programming towards DEI and five hours of solidarity a semester and find ways to show up and be present within the campus. Furthermore, each head coach will be deliberate with conducting team and individual conversations with student athletes to help create awareness, conversation, and intentionality around DEI one time each semester. 

Back to main screen