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Diversity Action Plan

Linguistics Department Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

Download entire plan here: LINGDiversityPlan

Tactic 1.     UO Language Diversity Ambassador Program

 Creation of a UO Language Diversity Ambassadors Program to raise awareness of linguistic prejudice and stigmatization of underrepresented and marginalized groups who speak non-standard varieties of English (e.g., foreign accents, African American English, Latinx English) or non-English languages. Language Diversity Ambassadors will provide research-based outreach and training programs across campus communities (e.g., interested campus community members and wider community members, admissions sessions, advising, teaching and learning center, etc.) to educate the campus community about linguistic diversity, aimed at increasing individuals’ acceptance of others whose speech might sound different from their own (e.g., the perceived lack of understanding of foreign-accented professors or GEs can be partially addressed through such outreach programs).

(This program is based on one successfully put into practice at North Carolina State University: , , , )

Pertinence to G1S1: This program is aimed at making the campus climate more welcoming, respectful, and inclusive to those who speak marginalized varieties of English, or other languages, by raising awareness campus-wide about the prevalence of linguistic prejudice.

Pertinence to G1S2: This program is designed to ask individuals to examine their own attitudes toward language diversity, as a step toward eliminating discrimination based on language use.

Target: Outreach programs will be created by Linguistics and LTS faculty and graduate students. Teams of Linguistics and LTS faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students will be trained to facilitate the outreach programs.

Resources to be used for this tactic: Service time of outreach program creators and facilitators. Funding for program creators and facilitators optimal but not required.

Name and title of lead personnel: Charlotte Vaughn, Instructor

Timeline: Begin in AY2017-18 with goal for outreach program for admitted students to be ready for Week of Welcome 2018. Assess attendance and effectiveness in Spring 2019.


Tactic 2.     Language diversity/inequality-oriented public colloquium

Commitment to dedicate one slot per year of the weekly departmental colloquium series to an invited speaker whose work concerns a language diversity-related issue (broadly construed, but preference given to scholars/activists those whose work has tangible, applied recommendations for addressing language-related inequalities). The colloquium talk will be publicized widely across campus and in the wider community.

Pertinence to G1S2: Talks by scholar/activists on linguistic-related diversity issues will provide real-world practices for combatting language-related discrimination.

Target: One colloquium speaker per year specifically dedicated to issues surrounding language diversity/inequality.

Resources to be used for this tactic: Some funding for colloquium series exists via ASUO and the Linguistics Department, but co-sponsorship from various units on campus would allow for greater development of these events.

Name and title of lead personnel: Graduate Linguists of Oregon Student Society (GLOSS) Colloquium Organizers + Linguistics Faculty Liaison to GLOSS Colloquium Organizers

Timeline: A film screening of Talking Black in America + panel discussion by Dr. Walt Wolfram (NCSU) and others in February 2018 will kick off this series. Subsequently, a new speaker will be invited yearly beginning next AY, pending GLOSS budgetary approval.


Tactic 3.  – Training

Create training for UO staff (and eventually students) about linguistic diversity. Lead research initiatives to examine perception of non-native speech, in addition to ongoing research and work on language teaching and learning.

Pertinence to G1.S2 – Better trained advisors and students will promote more equitable interactions with speakers of non-standard dialects of English. Because linguistic discrimination tends to be more accepted than other types of attitudes, this training is critically important. The UO Linguistics department is ideally suited to design this training given the content and the direct connections to ongoing research in the department (e.g., Dr. Melissa Baese-Berk’s research program).

Target – Academic advising, eventually all-campus advising, possible workshop through Teaching and Learning Center geared toward students

Resources to be used – Time of participants; possibly eventually departmental/college funds to create/maintain website and training materials

Name and title of lead personnelMelissa Baese-Berk, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Advisor in Linguistics, Director of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Certificate Program; Robert Elliott, Senior Instructor, Associate Director of Educational Technology at the Northwest Indian Languages Institute (NILI); Patricia Pashby, Senior Instructor II, Interim Director of Language Teaching Studies (LTS)  program

Timeline – Presenting a pilot version of the training program to Academic Advising Office on January 10; eventually program development throughout 2018 with hopes of full implementation in 2019


Tactic 4. Attracting more diverse student population to major and UO

Enhance advertising of those course offerings and program which either work with underrepresented communities or are attractive to students from these communities. This can help attract such students to the major, but more importantly be used to display the efforts of the UO more generally to offer relevant courses and programs. Of particular releavance are the Swahili program, the Language Teaching Specialization MA program, NILI and African Studies (both strongly associated with the department), and the Sahaptin program (an important attraction for the Native American community). [See also Tactic 5 Student Outreach for social media implementation.]

Pertinence to G2.S1 – If successful, increase recruitment and retention of traditionally underrepresented student groups.

Target – Undergraduates for most of the programs, graduate students for the MA program.

Resources to be used – Increased advertising budget and coordination with admissions recruiting.

Name and title of lead personnelEric Pederson, Associate Professor and Chair of the departmental committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

Timeline – Enhance program(s) visibility immediately. Target advertising for student applications for incoming AY 2019-20.


Tactic 5. Student outreach

Pilot student outreach program for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds in linguistics. Student outreach personnel would serve as points-of-contact for under-represented groups during student recruitment. Further, they would help develop and maintain social media output to reach current and prospective students at the University of Oregon to engage them in ongoing diversity and inclusion work within the department and college.

Pertinence to G3.S1 – Because research has suggested that outreach from fellow members of underrepresented groups increases involvement of individuals from these groups, we hope that this program will help improve and promote participation by students from these groups in a variety of departmental opportunities, ranging from participation in class to work in research settings to work in departmental outreach programs.

Target – First year, pilot program through outreach to incoming and current students. Second and third years, continue program to create leadership pipeline for students from these groups.

Resources to be used – Departmental/college/university funds to support a student leader to take on this leadership position

Name and title of lead personnelMelissa Baese-Berk, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Advisor in Linguistics, Director of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Certificate Program;

Timeline – Plan program in W18, pilot in S and F18, plan to launch program in 2019.

Tactic 6. Course Development

Identify those course offerings (especially lower division, general education courses) which have or could have content relevant to improving understanding of linguistic, cultural, or ethnic diversity. Further develop and coordinate the content of these courses to increase student understanding of these issues (and the role of language communities). Target especially a FIG course with either LING 201 (language and power) or LING 211 (languages of the world)

Pertinence to G3.S2 –Give greater voice to those students identifying with underrepresented groups through exposure to the situations and practices of other underrepresented groups. Allow greater understanding of common themes and issues for various groups both domestically and internationally.

Target – Targeting especially first year students and students with perhaps less awareness of language community issues.

Resources to be used – No substantial additional resources required.

Name and title of lead personnelEric Pederson, Associate Professor and Chair of the departmental committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

Timeline – Further identify courses W18, propose diversity themed FIG for AY 18-19