Diversity, equity and inclusion at UW Bothell

Dear UW Bothell Community,

When I arrived on this campus three years ago, what I saw greatly differed from my own undergraduate and graduate experiences. At that time, there were only a few students of Asian descent, and even fewer African American students and other students of color.

Even before I came to work at UW Bothell that first day, I was eager to engage in this rich and diverse campus community. Indeed, it's one of the things that drew me to this university. It’s a commitment that is woven throughout our work inside and outside the classroom, across all three University of Washington campuses and our region. Diversity is one of the pillars set forth by our 21st Century Campus Initiative – to enhance campus commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. Thank you to those who have laid the groundwork for our commitment to the work on our campus and to the UW Race & Equity Initiative.

I remain committed to UW Bothell as a campus where racial equity and inclusiveness are priorities, where such a culture is felt and seen, not simply discussed. The work we have to do goes beyond the surface and beyond numbers. The road to real and lasting change is hard and bumpy, but it provides an opportunity for us to learn from one another. The conversations and processes must be thoughtful and respectful. We must have open minds, open hearts and a willingness to listen to, understand and value each other’s life experiences and beliefs.

Achieving sustainable change through an inclusive process takes a great deal of effort, and progress may often seem slow. But our campus community is working together, and we are moving forward in achieving the goals of our Diversity Action Plan.  I fully endorse the difficult work of our campus Diversity Council and everyone who is taking part in achieving our goals. Here are some of our progress highlights:

  • One of our most important initiatives is the establishment of a UW Bothell diversity center. A Diversity Center Steering Committee composed of students, faculty and staff has been meeting throughout the summer, working with a consultant. This work must be done right. It must be done respectfully and it must be inclusive. As soon as we have a report and recommendation from the steering committee, I will work expeditiously to make this diversity center a reality as the concept has been articulated in the Diversity Action Plan.
  • Our campus Diversity Council, which also includes students, staff and faculty, has developed a diversity statement for UW Bothell. The diversity statement has been vetted through stakeholders, and I am prepared to endorse and adopt it.
  • The Council is also assisting several administrative and academic units in implementing diversity assessments. This is the beginning of a campus-wide effort.
  • A team is working to make it easier to locate single use and all-gender restrooms.
  • An interim bias response team is in place.

In the coming weeks, the campus Diversity Council, the Director of Diversity and the Diversity Center Steering Committee will release more detailed information on our progress toward achieving goals in our Diversity Action Plan and bringing a diversity center to the UW Bothell campus.

I ask that each of you find ways to get connected to this work. If you are a student, contact the Student Diversity Council, our Director of Diversity or the Campus Diversity Council and find out how you can contribute to the mission. Faculty, staff and university leadership should also contribute to the efforts of the Campus Diversity Council or even efforts within your own departments and schools.

This isn’t just a priority for the University. It’s a priority for me because it’s personal. You may remember that I came from South Korea at an early age unable to speak English. I remember the racial issues I dealt with like it was yesterday. Because I’ve lived it and because I want better for all of us as a community, I will continue to listen and I look forward to working together toward a more equitable and inclusive UW Bothell experience.


Bjong Wolf Yeigh, Ph.D., F.ASME
Chancellor and Professor of Engineering