Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

We seek to foster an inclusive and reflexive community by actively working against intentional and unintentional exclusionary practices. Our commitment to diversity and community encompasses intersecting dimensions of difference, including but not limited to gender, class, race, disability, religion and sexual orientation. This commitment values how we do our work as much as what work we do. This page profiles illustrative examples of how we enact these commitments within various department activities and programs.

Values & Goals


We value diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, and class, as well as other identities.  We will continue efforts to manifest human diversity in all its dimensions.


We recognize unequal power relations.  Our goal is to address structural imbalances that privilege some identities and marginalize others.


We value all members of our community, and strive to recognize exclusions and marginalizations when we build community.


We recognize injustices and aim to empower those furthest from power.


As geographers, we practice ethics of care for our world and people in it, both near and distant.

Ongoing Practices

  • We offer a minimum requirement undergraduate major, meaning the major is open to nearly all UW students.
  • We consider diversity in hiring, recruitment, and retention. Visit the Department of Geography Affirmative Action Plan.
  • Racial equity and diversity considerations in pedagogy and research have been central during our recent faculty hires, designed to combat implicit bias.
  • We use a holistic approach to graduate admissions. Grad admissions now reflect the racial equity practices of our affirmative action plan for faculty hiring.
  • We challenge one another to consider absences, erasures, and blindspots that prevent us from achieving more equitable outcomes.
  • Our Geography Advising Office is a place where human rights are respected and where ALL students can come for help and support. Students are here because they belong here. They are welcome here. We will not support harassment, disenfranchisement, or discrimination. We will support all students.
  • Our Geography Colloquium series invites a diverse group of early career scholars to disseminate their scholarship.
  • We have had a Diversity Committee for over a decade.  It facilitates quarterly activities and practices to ensure social justice.
  • Our teaching and research widely explores social exclusions and marginalization. Find more information from Department of Geography Research.
  • We offer a seminar to incoming grads to introduce our facility and affiliates across the university, actively providing underrepresented minority (URM) graduate students with greater access to faculty diversity.
  • We have periodically surveyed our community members to gauge climate and equity.
  • We conduct externally facilitated workshops on departmental climate and equity.
  • We hold quarterly check-in meetings between the Chair, Graduate Program Director, Director of Academic Services and graduate students.
  • Faculty and staff regularly attend the Graduate School’s Equity and Justice Workshops.
  • We invite graduate student representatives from Geography Graduate Students Association (GGSA) participate in faculty meetings.


  • Distinctly for a geography department, our faculty is majority women.
  • We currently offer classes on Black Geographies, Race & Environmental Justice, Racial Capitalism, Feminist Geographies, Poverty, and Social Justice. Visit the Three-Quarter Planner to find the department's planned schedule of courses.
  • We've offered Graduate School GSEE fellowships to admitted graduate students for the past 9 out of 10 years.
  • All our graduate students are guaranteed 2 years of funding for an M.A. and 4 years of funding for the Ph.D. Our Underrepresented Minority (URM) graduate students are usually offered additional funding during recruitment.
  • Recent summer revenues have allowed our graduate students more funding and engagement opportunities.
  • We have developed a Teaching and Learning Racial Equity Assessment that faculty and instructors use to revise their practices, syllabi, and course content to enhance racial equity.
  • We currently sponsor graduate student membership in the American Association of Geographers and some support for attending AAG annual conferences.
  • Faculty and graduate students are presently in leadership roles in race and equity initiatives of the American Association of Geographers, such as the Queer, LatinX, Indigenous, and Black Geographies groups. 
  • We provide access to DEIJ resources digitally and on a bulletin board in Smith Hall.
  • 20 of our 88 undergraduate geography courses fulfill the university’s Diversity Credit requirement.
  • During the COVID pandemic times, the department provided universal access to funds to alleviate COVID disparities and challenges.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Solidarity Statement

The Department of Geography’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at the University of Washington shares the immense pain, grief, and anger over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and Tony McDade. In the Seattle region, we say the names of Charleena Lyles, Shaun Fuhr, Che Taylor, Bennie Branch, Said Joquin, Manuel Ellis, and Eugene Nelson. These killings are but a few of the long list of Black lives brutally stolen by historical and institutionalized white supremacy to which the police system is indispensable. When we say Black Lives Matter, the Department of Geography’s 2019/20 Diversity and Inclusion Committee supports all Black lives in their intersectional wholeness, including Black trans and gender nonconforming people. We also remember the countless lives taken within Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and immigrant communities. Here, we say the names, John T. Williams, Tommy Le, and Isaiah Obet, killed at the hands of Washington state’s police. The Department of Geography's Diversity and Inclusion Committee strongly condemns the continuous threats to dehumanize Black life and the ongoing violence against the lives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color... (June 2020, with thanks to the 2019-20 Geography DEI committee, Kim England, Teddy Davenport, and Soohyung Hur.). View the news story.

University Land Acknowledgement

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations. Visit UW Office of Tribal Relations website.

More on Our DEI Efforts