Transformational Change Initiative IDEA grants awarded to seven projects

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Washington State University faculty have been awarded seven 2023 Transformational Change Initiative (TCI) grants for advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) to impact teaching and learning system-wide.

“The selection committee chose to invest in a variety of outstanding projects that advance IDEA initiatives in unique and different ways, and we look forward to seeing the projects implemented soon,” said Erika Offerdahl, TCI director. The grants range from $800 to $5,000.

These awards represent the second round of TCI IDEA grants, the first having been awarded in 2022. The grants join several key WSU priorities and commitments in the provost’s office that promote IDEA.

TCI IDEA 2023 grant recipients

Projects as described in proposals, lead principal investigators, and co-leads and collaborative team members are:


“Building a Foundation for the WSU Intersectional Queer Community Archives Initiative”

The project will support the beginnings of the WSU Intersectional Queer Community Archives Initiative to share untold stories of diverse queer rural life and its interconnections between urban spaces while centering joy, community, and intersectional resistance. Investigators will conduct research visits to learn about queer community-based archiving throughout the Pacific Northwest, examine and build capacity across departments, train students in archival practices, and host a public event in fall toward instilling a culture of responsive community-based archiving in the WSU Libraries. The project objectives include expanding understanding and capacity among library faculty and LGBTQ+ Center staff to support community-based archiving efforts; begin to gather and amplify LGBTQ+ voices and perspectives at WSU and the region while creating employment and education opportunities for LGBTQ+ students; create spaces for learning and conversation across departments and between faculty, staff, students, and community members; and facilitate interdepartmental partnerships that lead to more inclusive and equitable teaching and research opportunities. This project moves beyond representation toward instilling agency and co-creation, resisting the erasure of queer narratives and queer lives.


“Increasing Representation of BIPOC Women Experts in Open Educational Resources for Teaching Multimedia Skills”

  • Lisa Waananen Jones, lead
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman
  • Wendy Raney, co-lead
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman
  • Benjamin Shors, co-lead
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman
  • Tracy Simmons, co-lead
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman
  • Alison Boggs, collaborator
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman
  • Matt Loveless, collaborator
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman
  • Marvin Marcelo, collaborator
    Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, WSU Pullman

The project aims to improve representation of diverse experts in multimedia instructional materials used in the Murrow College’s journalism and media production courses by identifying existing resources and creating new instructional videos. This project will support faculty conversations about representation of experts in current teaching materials, identify new multi-modal resources that benefit students with diverse learning needs, and create instructional videos featuring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) women/non-binary subject experts to use in classes and share with other units. Instructional videos will improve access to course concepts and improve learning outcomes for all students. Including representation of women and people of color in these videos can shape students’ perceptions about who is qualified to be an expert in a field.


“Promoting Inclusive Teaching and Learning Excellence in CAHNRS: Hosting the Swantz Summer Book Club”

  • Holly Henning, lead
    College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), WSU Pullman
  • Joseph Perault, collaborator
    CAHNRS Swantz Teaching and Learning Community, WSU Pullman

The object is to raise awareness about the practices and approaches that contribute to inclusive excellence in teaching and learning throughout CAHNRS while growing an existing community of teachers committed to teaching at all stages of development. The CAHNRS Swantz Teaching and Learning Community was created in summer 2022 to build a community of CAHNRS teaching practitioners that share best practices; promote a culture that values teaching; and provide annual recommendations to CAHNRS leadership to encourage and support teaching excellence. The community will host guest speakers followed by discussions every other week from September through November, and February through April. Thirty copies of the book “What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching” will be acquired for a summer reading program and subsequent books to be provided to each department. Additional goals for introducing this resource include:

  • Identifying specific practices for each faculty members to integrate into their teaching 
  • Collectively identifying departmental and college-wide programs to remove barriers to and support a culture of inclusive teaching, and 
  • Including inclusive strategies in the annual Swantz Learning Community recommendations to CAHNRS leadership 
  • Increasing participation in Swantz to include all CAHNRS departments and engage more faculty across all departments.

“Infrastructural Racism: Latinx, African Americans, and East Pasco, Wash.”

  • Phil Gruen, lead
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman
  • Robert Franklin, co-lead
    College of Arts and Sciences, WSU Tri‑Cities

This hands-on, design-oriented project will highlight the “racist legacy of infrastructure” in the Tri‑Cities region with a principal focus on the city of Pasco, Wash. Taught jointly between the School of Design and Construction and the Department of History, this community-engaged elective course involves faculty from WSU Tri‑Cities and WSU Pullman and will connect students with locals to learn about the historic spatial inequities and present-day opportunities in Pasco. By offering design ideas ranging from parks to museums to memorials, students may reimagine a marginalized physical landscape that has been manipulated and neglected for more than a century. Beyond reading and classroom discussion, the project is intended to apply student learning to a real-world setting through site visits, community meetings, and on-site public presentations. Planning for the course will take place in summer and fall 2023 and the class will be offered in spring 2024.


“Design Justice: The Inaugural Common Reading for the School of Design and Construction”

  • Kristina Borrman, lead
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman
  • Jaime Rice, co-lead
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman
  • Hongtao Dang, collaborator
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman
  • Phil Gruen, collaborator
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman
  • Jolie Kaytes, collaborator
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman
  • Ayad Rahmani, collaborator
    Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, WSU Pullman

By offering the book “Design Justice: Community Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need” as an inaugural common reading in fall 2023 for second-year students in the School of Design and Construction, the school will promote interdisciplinary dialogue about the role of design in systems of white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, and settler colonialism. Those majors include architecture, construction management, interior design, and landscape architecture. In November, a workshop will help identify ideas for curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities for embodying and practicing principles described in the book. The book will help to establish an annual tradition for the school in which newly declared majors receive common readings written by Design Justice Network (DJN) authors. The 2023 common reading program will culminate in a design justice panel discussion led by the book author and a DJN founder and participatory designer, Sasha Costanza-Chock, for the school’s students, faculty, and staff in October 2023. The common reading program will help to advance the school’s equity, justice, and belonging statement.


“Teaching Academy Faculty Book Club: Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education”

  • Kara Whitman, lead
    WSU Teaching Academy, system-wide
  • Ashley Boyd, co-lead
    WSU Teaching Academy, system-wide

The WSU Teaching Academy will offer a faculty-engaged, system-wide book club in fall 2023 utilizing the text “Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education: Strategies for Teaching,” with editors Rita Kumar and Brenda Refaei. The book club will raise teaching faculty’s awareness of the needs of each student at WSU, foster reflective oriented dialogue to help improve teaching at all levels and in all disciplines, inspire teaching faculty to take steps toward equitable and inclusive teaching, engage faculty and teaching assistants in learning about and practicing equity and inclusion broadly and in their discipline-specific areas, provide access to IDEA resources, and continue to establish the WSU Teaching Academy’s support for equity-oriented practices across campuses. There will be three facilitated book club discussion meetings plus two implementation workshops in fall 2023. Awards will be given to book club participants who demonstrate excellence in the implementation of equity and inclusion in their teaching. The academy plans to invite the editors of the book to be keynote speakers at its TEACHxWSU 2023 on Oct. 20.

“Allying with Tribal Language Teachers for Indigenous Language Reclamation at and Beyond WSU”

  • Anne Marie Guerrettaz, lead
    Dept. of Teaching and Learning, WSU Pullman
  • Ken Lokensgard, co-lead
    Center for Native Research and Collaboration, WSU Pullman

Indigenous languages are a deeply rooted aspect of Native American communities and identities, and Indigenous language loss is a widespread regional crisis. Indigenous language reclamation supports such embattled languages. This TCI IDEA project is an Indigenous language reclamation initiative, centering on university relationships with tribes to address the absence of regional tribal languages in WSU curricula and outreach. Specifically, the project expands a new course, TCH_LRN 435/535 Indigenous Language Reclamation and Learning—which includes the teaching of regional tribal languages. The Nez Perce and Coeur d’Alene tribes have worked ongoingly with WSU project leaders to develop sections of the course in their languages. This grant makes it possible to collaborate with more Indigenous language teachers from additional regional tribes that also have MOUs with WSU. This overarching Indigenous language project will help the university to become a state leader in tertiary-level tribal language education and to satisfy Senate Bill 5433, which encourages WSU’s teacher preparation programs to expand coursework on tribal cultures. This overarching Indigenous language reclamation effort has been described by WSU Native Programs as one of “the finest examples of collaborative work [at WSU] with MOU signatory tribes.”

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