Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Diversity and Inclusion at the Watson Institute

As Brown University’s hub for the study of public affairs in a global, cross-national context, the Watson Institute takes as central to its mission the advancement of knowledge about the interaction of race, ethnicity, and power – and the implications of that interaction for peace and social justice. At one level, the Institute aspires to be a leader in the exploration of how policy and institutions have affected the experience of historically-underrepresented groups in the United States. Such scholarship represents an effort to ensure that the injustices of the past and present do not continue unimpeded into the future. At the same time, the Institute aims to understand the experience of underrepresented groups – be they religious, ethnic, gender-related, sexual preference-based, or any other identity – in other national contexts, so as to explore patterns of privilege, power, and injustice more generally.

Moving from what we do to who we are, the Watson Institute embraces Brown’s goal of increasing representation, voice, and participation by members of historically-underrepresented groups, with equal regard to the faculty conducting research and teaching, the staff delivering programming and ensuring smooth operations, the students filling Watson classrooms and imparting fresh ideas, and the members of the local community participating in Watson events. So, too, does the Institute embrace the goal of increasing representation, voice, and participation for all identity groups. Doing so is just as critical for reasons of justice as it is for ensuring the integrity of Watson's scholarly efforts. To the extent that a community excludes people or groups, it fails in its scholarship and its education. 

Since 2016, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee of faculty, staff, and students has convened regularly to foster the Watson Institute's realization of these values.

Only by ensuring that the Watson community itself is fully inclusive – and only by ensuring that all members of this community are fully valued and supported – can the Institute realize its full potential and achieve its global mission.

Diversity and Inclusion at Watson
Melissa Nicholaus' role as MPA Program Manager at Watson includes overseeing and implementing the strategic objectives outlined in the Institute's departmental Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Among her responsibilities are to monitor diversity-and-inclusion outcomes and to communicate progress; to plan and coordinate workshops, programs, and meetings; and to serve as Watson's essential point of contact about Watson's climate with regard to diversity-and-inclusion values. Please reach out to Melissa at: melissa_nicholaus@brown.edu.


Brown University DIAP
Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University outlines a set of concrete, achievable actions to make Brown a more fully diverse and inclusive community. 

Incident Reporting
The bias reporting system is one tool used for collecting information, identifying trends and themes as well as informing future campus climate initiatives.

Watson Course Development Funds
The Watson Institute Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites Watson-affiliated faculty looking to revise or create courses that represent diverse scholars, issues of structural inequality, racial disparities, and/or systems of power, to apply for a course development award.

Course Designation
DIAP Courses on Race, Gender, and Inequality examine issues of structural inequality, racial formations and/or disparities, and systems of power within a complex, pluralistic world. Learn more about how to find or designate a course.

Brown University Land Acknowledgement
Brown has developed an official land acknowledgment as part of a set of commitments to build a better understanding of the relationship between the University, the Indigenous peoples of this region, and the land on which Brown is situated.

Resources During National Unrest
Brown's Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) has compiled articles and other resources to help faculty, staff, and students expand their knowledge on anti-blackness and systemic racism, look into forms of meaningful allyship, and come to learn some of organizations that are deeply committed to this work (understanding that a number of community members have already been engaging in this work).

The Sheridan Center
The Sheridan Center offers publications and online resources addressing a wide range of teaching and learning topics, including inclusive teaching, writing pedagogy, mentoring, and course design. The Inclusive Teaching section, in particular, covers many topics that Watson faculty and students regularly discuss, including syllabus development, supporting diverse students, and inclusive classroom discussions. 

Suggestion Box

Do you have ideas to enhance Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at Watson? Ideas for student programming, training, or cultural events? Do you have suggestions for how we can make the Watson Institute a more inclusive environment? Let us know.