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Washington State University
WSU Research Promoting Equity

Promoting equity

Leveling the playing field for individuals and communities

Inequality of opportunity persists in virtually every aspect of society. Scholars identify it across political, social, economic, and educational realms. What factors give rise to inequality? What are the best paths toward reform?

WSU researchers study inequality across many disciplines. They analyze how globalization shapes business practices. They examine the impact of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education on access to opportunities and achievement. They study the behavioral aspects of social systems. Using data sciences, they model human and natural systems. Scholars probe how factors like digital access and media messages influence opportunity.

Knowledge gleaned enables them to find effective ways to redress inequities, both old and new.

Research areas

  • Understanding gender, race, and culture through artistic expression and critical inquiry
  • Understanding diversity from genetic through cultural levels of analysis
  • Injustice and inequality
  • Distribution of resources
  • Educational access
  • A photo of a parent talking at the front in a classroom of adults Transforming leadership to achieve equity in education

    Building parent participation and shifting administrator mindsets

    In 2010, 47 percent of children under the age of five belonged to a racial or ethnic minority group[1]. That statistic signifies a shift in the demographics of tomorrow’s classrooms.

    As the nation’s K-12 students become increasingly diverse, school environments, educational policies, and teaching best practices must take students’ cultural backgrounds into account. Research of Dr. Katherine Rodela anticipates changes needed in K-12 schools. The educational leadership professor is rethinking the role of parent leadership in school systems. She is also examining how district leaders can develop an equity mindset—the belief that by engaging members of … » More …

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  • A closeup of Kimberly Christen Promoting an informed and equitable society

    Preserving indigenous traditions in digital form

    A complete picture of U.S. history requires the information held in tribal archives, libraries, and museums (TALMs). While many major libraries and museums now digitize their collections for access and use, many TALMs lack the resources to do so. In addition, traditional content management systems are organized under Western standards, not allowing for local narrations and other cultural practices and protocols important to archiving Native heritage.

    Digitally preserving and sharing stories, artifacts, and images from diverse cultures is important in a technologically advancing world. WSU researcher Kim Christen is ensuring that digital history includes Native American voices stored and … » More …

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  • A closeup of police lights flashing Police training in a new light

    WSU seeks better ways to handle tense encounters

    The call came into 9-1-1 from a Spokane YMCA last October: A middle-aged man was threatening to break the kneecaps of an eight-year-old, because he said the boy could “ruin my NBA career.”

    Corporal Jordan Ferguson of the Spokane Police Department responded, fully aware of the suspect’s antagonistic and unpredictable behavior. Ferguson’s body camera footage shows what happened next.

    In the lobby of the YMCA, an employee first describes the man’s erratic statements. Ferguson tracks the man to the gym, who then walks away yelling. Rather than restraining the man immediately, Ferguson asks him questions and listens … » More …

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  • A photo of a woman talking to a man while walking Youth employment challenges reflect and widen the gap between rich and poor

    Recession dims employment prospects most severely for disadvantaged youth

    The path from adolescence to professional success has become more challenging, especially for disadvantaged populations. The Great Recession in 2009 dimmed employment prospects for the millennial generation around the world, leaving many unemployed or underemployed. Teens and young adults whose formal education ended with a high school diploma or less have suffered the most.

    Professor of sociology Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson studies teenage and young adult employment in the U.S. In two recent studies she examined employment trends and how work experiences during the recession affected teens’ and young adults’ economic and career outlooks in the long … » More …

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