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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Department Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee Mission Statement

Diversity is central to the pursuit of Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization (NELC)’s academic mission. Our programs entail the study of different languages, literatures, religions, and cultures from across the Near and Middle East, including North Africa and Central Eurasia.  Our area of study explores the contemporary cultural diversity of the region, its ancient and medieval roots, and its relevance to modern civilization.  It is a region which is the birth place of many of today’s major languages, religions, and philosophical movements.  Essential to our studies is an understanding of and an appreciation for the diversity of the region

 The NELC faculty is diverse, though demographically the categorization by race and ethnicity minimalizes this diversity.  Of our 16 professors and lecturers, 8 (50.0%) are White, 7 (43.8%) are Asian; and 1 (6%) is Hispanic and Latinx.  These numbers reflect a department that is not very racially or ethnically diverse, as we do not have any African-American, Native American, or Pacific Islander faculty.  However, using a different metric to view the faculty one will see that our faculty are White (6, 37.5%), Turkish (2, 12.5%), Israeli (2, 12.5%), Asian (1, 6.3%), Iranian (1, 6.3%), Latina (1, 6.3%), Libyan (1, 6%), Pakistani (1, 6.3%), and Yemeni (1, 6.3%).  We regard this as a typical profile for a department comprising the areas and disciplines we teach where experts in the field often come from specific national background from within our region of study. 

 When we examine data more closely, we see that diversity is consistent in both our lecturer cohort (Asian 1, Iranian 1, Israeli 2, Turkish 1, White 2, Yemeni 1) and in the professorial cohort (Latina 1, Libyan 1, Pakistani 1, Turkish 1, White 4).  The distribution of female and male faculty is even across the department.  The percentage of female faculty is slightly higher among lecturers: 3 of 8 (37%) among professors, 5 of 8 (63%) of lecturers.  Among our professional cohort, female faculty are represented in both full professor (2) and assistant professor (1) appointments.  Our most recent tenure-track hire was a female.

 This hire is for a Lecturer Full-Time in Modern Hebrew, and the duties of the position require native or near-native proficiency.  This will tend to produce an applicant pool in which a Jewish or Israeli background will be dominant.  We do not, however, insist on native proficiency, as this would tend to exclude candidates, including members of under-represented minority groups, from consideration.  Indeed, we believe that all candidates have a unique perspective on language learning and can inspire our students with their example.  We do seek candidates who value diversity and who are intellectually engaged with the ways that race, gender identity, sexuality, ability, class, and ethnicity intersect and shape the human experience, both within the educational experience and outside of it.

 The search committee is 100% female (3/3).  They will be working with a list of criteria agreed upon in advance, and will compare candidates on each of the criteria, rather than holistically, in order to avoid bias.  Moreover, interviewees will be asked questions from a common list, agreed upon in advance.  The committee has been charged by the department chair and will receive further advice and guidance from the divisional dean for the humanities and the associate vice provost for faculty advancement.  Candidates will be interviewed by the divisional dean.  We plan to invite candidates to campus for interviews and teaching demonstrations and if a member of an under-represented minority group is included among the finalists, we will take appropriate measures to tailor the visit appropriately to increase the chances that the candidate would find the UW environment welcome and supportive and accept our offer if extended.

 Department Diversity/Equity Committee Members

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