UWHR DEI team
Launched in autumn 2020, this team aims to further DEI work within UWHR and across the University. To create lasting change and equitable and inclusive workplaces here at the UW, the team centers its efforts around developing strategies, identifying sustainable practices, improving existing policies and building community within UWHR and with our stakeholders. We also strive to lay a foundational groundwork by building additional DEI resources and training tools to support professional development and personal growth for all staff.
Project oversight and direction is being provided by Ujima Sands (Donalson), assistant vice president of Total Talent Management and inclusion strategist for UWHR. The team operates within Professional & Organizational Development and receives support with communications and administration from POD.
Accomplishments and projects:
- BIPOC Staff Development Program: Multi-faceted program designed to foster development opportunities for BIPOC staff while also creating a more welcoming and engaging workplace for BIPOC staff, increasing retention of BIPOC staff and advancing a culture of inclusion.
- DEI Rubric: Comprehensive tool designed to self-assess the effectiveness of your department’s DEI efforts, initiatives and strategies as well as existing policies, practices and written materials.
- UW Staff Demographic Baseline Report: Annual report focuses on data points for select staff employment categories and includes contextual information about each unique data set.
- Implicit bias training for hiring managers: Self-paced training designed to heighten awareness around bias, manage and disrupt misconceptions and become part of a collective solution; required for all hiring managers with access to UWHIRES and is strongly encouraged for all staff.
- What’s the Word: Inclusivity in Language: Interactive workshop on inclusive language and evolving standards offered through POD.
The team also does extensive outreach and is available to present at meetings or events.
Stay tuned for more as the team’s work progresses.
About the team
Ujima Sands (Donalson), M.Ed., CPC, NLPP
Assistant Vice President & Inclusion Strategist, Total Talent Management – Human Resources
Ujima provides strategic direction and oversight for the DEI team. She also leads units across UWHR Total Talent Management, including Professional & Organizational Development, Recruiting and UTemp Staffing; facilitates leadership and DEI training; and performs coaching and consulting for executive leaders across the UW.
Equity and Access Development Coordinator
Caitlin helps coordinate logistics and administration for the BIPOC Staff Development Program, which launched in October 2022, and the forthcoming supervisory power skill series. Another key area is working to ensure POD’s online classes are optimized for universal design and accessibility standards. Caitlin works closely with others on the DEI team to support and advance the team’s projects, programs and initiatives and will also have a hand in developing and facilitating presentations, online classes and other offerings.
Caitlin brings five years of POD experience to this role, along with her deep knowledge of POD’s courses, certificate programs and policies; passion for diversity, equity and inclusion; and superior customer service and organizational skills.
Diversity Recruiting Consultant
Lesley partners across UWHR’s Total Talent Management team to share best practices in recruitment, onboarding, retention and belonging. They provide best-practice expertise through coaching and training within and outside of UWHR, actively engage with DEI leads and networks across the institution, develop HR-related tools and resources to help advance DEI efforts, and evaluate demographic data. Lesley is passionate about helping to amplify the voices and experiences of veterans, those with disabilities, and staff who identify as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+.
Lesley has a Master’s in Gender Studies and is excited to apply their strategic planning and systems thinking expertise to fostering more inclusive recruiting and hiring processes at the UW.
Diversity Equity & Inclusion Specialist
Virginia performs outreach across the UW, including facilitating training for POD, presenting at numerous UW events and meeting with DEI teams and BIPOC staff across the institution. Adept at relationship-building and equipped with a deep knowledge of DEI issues and the UW system, Virginia works to advance inclusion and belonging for staff and center the voices of marginalized and underrepresented communities.
Virginia previously served as the assistant to the assistant vice president of Labor Relations in UWHR, and she has a Master’s in Public Administration from Seattle University. She brings her deep commitment to diversity, access and social justice to her role and to UWHR’s Diversity Committee. Prior to joining UW, Virginia worked and volunteered for a number of non-profits in the Seattle area, including El Centro de la Raza, Casa Latina and United Way, as well as working as a program coordinator for the School of Public Health.
DEI Workforce Analyst
Dedicated to social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, Bethany utilizes her human resources experience, policy knowledge and analytical skills to conduct workforce data analysis with a DEI lens. Bethany works to identify gaps, anomalies and trends that might help inform recruiting, hiring, employee engagement and retention, and consults with colleagues throughout UWHR to evaluate data and develop metrics. Bethany also brings her singular expertise to developing and delivering DEI-related courses for POD, both for a general audience and specifically for BIPOC staff, and presenting at the UWHR Community of Practice and other venues.
Bethany has extensive experience as a hiring manager and with human resources at the UW, and she has a Master’s in Public Administration.
Equity and Access Development Coordinator
Catherine helps coordinate logistics and administration for the BIPOC Staff Development Program, which launched in October 2022, and the POD scholarship program. Catherine works closely with others on the DEI team to support and advance the team’s projects, programs and initiatives and will also have a hand in developing and facilitating presentations, online classes and other offerings.
Catherine holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and affairs, and she’s worked in both the private sector and higher ed. Catherine brings a wealth of experience as a DEI practitioner, program coordinator and operations manager to this role.
Assistant Director & Communications Strategist, Total Talent Management – Human Resources
Jamie provides communications support to the DEI team and also assists the team with strategy and program implementation. Jamie interacts with multiple units, assisting with communications, business strategy and special projects across UWHR Total Talent Management.