|Submission Date||March 6, 2020|
Washington and Lee University
IN-50: Innovation D
|0.50 / 0.50||
Director of Sustainability Initiatives and Education
Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
Washington and Lee University President Will Dudley formed the Commission on Institutional History and Community in the aftermath of events that occurred in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. President Dudley charged the commission "to lead us in an examination of how our history — and the ways that we teach, discuss, and represent it —shapes our community." He directed the commission to examine "how we can best present our physical campus to take full advantage of its educational potential in a manner that is consistent with our core values." He instructed the commission to "create various opportunities to engage in conversation with all corners of the community," and to "meet with existing groups whose ongoing work relates to some of these issues, including the Working Group on the History of African-Americans at W&L, the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate, and the University Collections of Art and History Advisory Committee." The president had confidence that the university would "set a national example by demonstrating how the divisive issues confronting us can be addressed thoughtfully and effectively. That is what a university should do, and it is especially what Washington and Lee should do."
After several meetings and focus groups with students, faculty, and staff, the Commission put together 31 recommendations for moving forward in better understanding and telling our history. THe first results from these recommendations have included:
1) The Board of Trustees decided to make the following changes to building names:
- Robinson Hall will be renamed Chavis Hall in recognition of the first African-American to receive a college education in the United States. John Chavis graduated from Washington and Lee's predecessor, Washington Academy, in 1799.
- Lee-Jackson House will be renamed Simpson House in recognition of the first woman to become a tenured professor at the university. Pamela Hemenway Simpson, who died in 2011, served as associate dean of the college and played a critical role in the university's transition to co-education in the mid-1980s, chairing the Co-Education Steering Committee from 1984 to 1986.
2) Portraits of Robert E. Lee and George Washington in civilian clothing will replace the portraits of Lee and Washington in military uniforms that currently hang in Lee Chapel.
The doors to the statue chamber in the 1883 addition to Lee Chapel will be closed during university events.
3) We hired our first Director of Institutional History.
Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Diversity & Affordability
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.