Students on the Washington State University Pullman campus are invited to participate in a pilot program for a new diversity training series called Equity 360.
Through a combination of coursework tied to University Common Requirements (UCORE), experiential workshops, and service-learning opportunities, Equity 360 immerses students in the work of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and social justice.
WSU is one of the first universities in the nation to provide students with such a comprehensive training program, said Allen Sutton, executive director for outreach and education in the Division of Student Affairs.
“It provides students a full 360-degree view of what DEI is and the role it plays in personal and professional lives,” Sutton said. “This series will put WSU at the cutting edge of helping to prepare students for the workforce.”
Students interested in participating in the pilot program can email Sutton.
Designed to be flexible
When the Equity 360 series officially launches in the spring, students will be able to choose from several different training tracks depending on their level of interest and availability.
The gray track provides foundational DEI information and requires students to take one diversity course and several workshops. The crimson track delves deeper into DEI topics and requires one additional course and several more workshops; it also includes a capstone project that will be presented at WSU’s Annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities. The Cougar track lets students customize their trainings. Each track includes a service-learning component.
Other specialized tracks are being developed for graduate students, international students, health sciences, and business majors.
Sutton said Equity 360 is designed to be flexible and students can work on the requirements throughout their time at WSU. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate recognizing their accomplishment.
‘All of us working together’
Sutton is excited to partner with Clif Stratton, director of UCORE and associate professor of history, on Equity 360. Including academic courses in the Equity 360 series, he said, adds a degree of credibility and important perspectives to the training.
Stratton said the partnership dovetails nicely with the UCORE committee’s initiative to establish a “Pursuing Equity and Justice” requirement for all students. The initiative calls for students to take a 3-credit course that addresses equity and justice, in addition to the university’s existing 3-credit diversity course requirement.
“I’m excited about our partnership with Outreach and Education because it shows we are addressing this topic from different angles and it is all of us working together, inside and outside of the classroom, to educate students in this critical area,” he said.
Engaging in the community
One of the key aspects of the out-of-the classroom training is getting students into the community to see DEI work in action. Sutton is collaborating with the Division of Student Affairs’ Center for Civic Engagement to provide participants with impactful service-learning opportunities.
“It’s one thing to learn about DEI theories in the classroom, but it’s a completely different experience when you actually engage in this type of work,” Sutton said.
Mikayla Beckley, a 2021 WSU graduate who is working as a research technician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, participated in the first Equity 360 pilot program online in spring 2021 and lauds the training for how well it connected DEI to her daily life.
“We had many deep and meaningful conversations, which allowed us to get comfortable talking about diversity issues,” Beckley said. “All students will benefit immensely from Equity 360.”