DRIVING EQUITY 2030 The Brown School Strategic Plan 2020-30
From the Dean Dear Friends, When we initially completed our strategic planning process in December 2019, we felt confident that our ten-year strategic plan, Driving Equity 2030, charted a bold course for the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. It united social work, public health and social policy changemakers to advance social, economic, health, environmental and racial justice through rigorous science, transformative educational programs and mutually beneficial partnerships. As we were rolling out our plan, COVID-19 spread across the globe. We reviewed the plan collaboratively with an array of stakeholders, through the lens of the pandemic. This revised 10-year plan continues to build on the School’s extraordinary history of academic distinction and scientific leadership to lead to future innovations and growth. We have set an ambitious and achievable goal to make our graduate education affordable and financially accessible. For far too long, bright and talented students who struggle with undergraduate debt or constrained resources have had limited access to a graduate education. We are committed to fully meeting the financial needs of those students. By 2030, we aim for new research and academic strength in environmental justice—as issues of climate change drive increasing inequities for povertyimpacted and under-resourced communities around the world. Further, we will elevate our expertise in the area of data science and technology as tools to eliminate disparities and advance equity. Finally, the deepening of our engagement with the St. Louis region requires that we build on scientific advances developed with community-driven methods that honor the voice and lived experiences of our neighbors. It will take all of us invested in a more just world to collaborate and eradicate the burdens of poverty, racism, poor health and threats based on identity. Together, we will achieve the goals of Driving Equity 2030. Sincerely,
Mary M. McKay Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Initiatives Former Dean of the Brown School
Our Vision A better and equitable society.
Our Mission To engage multidisciplinary faculty, staff and students to create a better and more equitable society through leading rigorous science, transformative education and authentic partnerships.
Our Values WE ARE COMMITTED TO:
Excellence in education and scholarship Immerse students in an evidence-based learning experience with faculty who are driving new solutions to contemporary social, health and structural challenges in society. Connect students with practitioners who are leading efforts to address the root causes and consequences of inequities. Create an environment for students to co-create knowledge by collaborating with faculty on research studies and bringing innovations into practice. High-Impact Scholarship Generate rigorous, innovative and high-impact scholarship to build an evidence base vital to solving real-world problems. Guided by the highest ethical standards, forge and strengthen inclusive, authentic and multidisciplinary collaborations to move high-quality applied research into practice and policy. Authentic Community Partnerships Develop authentic community partnerships that are based on equity, transparency and mutually empowering relationships that are focused on achieving sustainable change in service of the public good.
“ Building on a legacy of excellence and success, the next 10 years represent a significant opportunity for the Brown School to expand on its pursuit of equity and impact.” – TOM HILLMAN BROWN SCHOOL NATIONAL COUNCIL CHAIR
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Promote equity, racial and social justice through fair, inclusive, transparent, and sustainable practices and processes. A spire to be catalysts for change and transformation, identifying barriers and co-creating solutions that will lead to greater justice.
Driving Equity 2030
Driving Equity 2030 This 10-year strategic plan is built on the significant history and strength of graduate education at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. The Master of Social Work (MSW) program is a longstanding leader in the field of social work. For decades, the MSW program has been consistently ranked No. 1 or 2 by U.S. News & World Report. The School launched its Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program in 2009. Ten years later, the program was ranked No. 17 by U.S. News & World Report (the only program among a field of public health schools in the top 20). The Master of Social Policy (MSP) dual-degree program began in 2015 and is growing with interest from domestic and international students. The Brown School also offers coursework leading to a doctoral degree in social work and public health sciences. Launched in 1952 and 2014, respectively, both programs engage students in rigorous research training and preparation for academic careers at top universities. Brown School faculty are leaders in evidence-based practice and policy, as well as prevention, intervention, dissemination, implementation and systems science methods. Our scholarship is substantial in the fields of mental health, chronic disease, child maltreatment and well-being, poverty and social mobility, race and racism, health disparities, housing, nutrition and physical activity. Faculty have significant expertise related to specific groups, including children, families and older adults, as well as emerging populations.
Building upon this exceptional foundation, the Brown School embraces the bold goal of Driving Equity through Rigorous Science, Transformative Education and Mutually Beneficial Partnerships. We will extend and deepen our collective work in areas of existing strength, our Core Commitments, and expand in new and emerging areas, our Strategic Priorities.
These commitments uphold our vision and inform distinctive research, educational programs and mutually beneficial partnerships:
These priorities are areas in which we wish to increase our focus and build capacity over the next 10 years:
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Impact in, for and with the St. Louis Region Global Teaching and Research Transdisciplinary Research and Education
Affordability and Financial Accessibility Data Science and Technology to Advance the Social Good Climate Change, Environmental Health and Justice Community-Driven Science
DRIVING EQUITY 2030 RIGOROUS SCIENCE
Affordability & Accessibility
Data Science & Technology
MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL PARTNERSHIPS
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Impact with St. Louis
Global Teaching & Research
Driving Equity 2030
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion The Brown School holds a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion as a core value. Advancing this area is and has been a central feature of our history and mission, and we have achieved significant gains in developing a more representative community. The centering of equity in our social work, public health and social policy research and advocacy represents an important opportunity for our institution. We now must move from aspiration to action, transforming all areas of our teaching, operations and research to ensure equity, as well as diversity and inclusion. This will require a systemic approach that identifies and eliminates internal biases, as well as a focus on capacity-building, training, collaboration and accountability measures.
Equity is realized when the outcomes of individuals, communities and populations are no longer impeded or predicted by identity, access to resources or geography. Washington University’s Academy on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity offers these considerations: Equity is an outcome. Equity is distinct from equality–equality means treating all members of the community the same. However, because of generations of unequal treatment throughout the history of our country—higher education generally, Washington University and the Brown School specifically—supporting equitable outcomes often calls for giving different supports to different groups. EQUITY PEDAGOGY: Our approach to equity-centered pedagogy facilitates inclusive learning experiences and equitable achievement of learners from diverse backgrounds and identities. EDI underpins each part of the school, as well as all of the core commitments outlined in the strategic plan. This led us to identify three key goals and define objectives for each. Goal 1: Integrate equity into an evidence-based pedagogy in order to foster an inclusive learning climate and facilitate equitable learning outcomes among stakeholders with diverse identities.
Goal 2: Educational programs will prepare participants to advance equity through social work, public health, and social policy research and practice.
COLLECTIVE KNOWLEDGE CONSTRUCTION: We are committed to collective knowledge construction that disrupts systemic oppression and advances equity. Community-engaged scholarship will inform new solutions for achieving social, economic, health, environmental and racial justice. Goal 1: Prioritize the collective construction and sharing of knowledge that advances equity and social justice through social work, public health and social policy.
Goal 2: Collaboratively stimulate the active pursuit of new solutions for advancing equity and social justice locally, nationally and globally.
POLICIES, PROGRAMS & PRACTICES: We are cultivating an inclusive community where members across all identity groups participate in decisions that shape the institution and benefit from shared success. Furthermore, outcomes, as determined by individuals and communities, are no longer predicted by identity, access to resources or geography. Goal 1: Develop infrastructure, policies and practices that embed and sustain equity in its organizational culture.
Goal 2: Create an infrastructure that assesses, measures and monitors practices and policies through an equity lens. Equity requires us to allocate resources to achieve equity & inclusion, and create accountability systems for sustaining equity.
Driving Equity 2030
Impact in, for and with the St. Louis Region Our vision of community-engaged teaching, scholarship and service is guided by an “Organization to Communities” model. This model prioritizes mutually beneficial collaborations where both community and university expertise valued, as well as community capacity-building with support for faculty, staff and students who commit their time and expertise to outreach, research, teaching and service that is reliably assessed and valued by partners. The desired result is long-term, thriving partnerships with community-based organizations that have a track record of positive impact within the School’s local geographic priority areas.
Goal 1: Increase internal ability to contribute to local efforts that focus on systemic injustice and concerns identified by partners. Objectives: Co-create internal and external structures that reduce barriers to community engagement.
Fully integrate impact with St. Louis into the MSW/MPH/MSP curricula.
Build hiring and promotions standards that uphold and honor our pledge to make an Impact with St. Louis.
Goal 2: Design and expand shared learning opportunities for faculty, staff, students and community partners toward a more equitable St. Louis region to improve outcomes. Objectives: Blur boundaries of who are the teachers and who are the students.
Create pathways for St. Louis community members to access educational opportunities at the Brown School.
Goal 3: Build one school/one community between the Brown School and community at a system, population and place-based levels. Objective: Co-identify how to respond to meet community needs. Honor community contributions including educating students, adding input to Brown School programs and policies.
Collaborate with university units and University College to create a set of training certificates focused on community engagement, planning and evaluation skills.
“ We have incredible momentum; we already are for St. Louis. But today, we must commit to utilizing everything we do as an opportunity for community outreach, cooperation, growth and well-being.” – ANDREW D. MARTIN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR; FROM HIS INAUGURAL SPEECH, OCTOBER 3, 2019
Driving Equity 2030
Global Teaching and Research In today’s global society, the translation of effective interventions and approaches transcends disciplines and geographies. There are many valuable opportunities to improve lives with bidirectional learning between St. Louis and other communities, the nation and the world. In the past decade, the Brown School has expanded our depth of global teaching, scholarship, and student and faculty representation, and we are uniquely positioned to help foster new solutions for communities around the world with scarce resources. Students across our three programs are eager to further their international experience and apply that competency across contexts.
Goal 1: Develop and implement a model of global scholarship, services and research for Brown School, built around high-impact priority areas, where collaborations are focused on impact. Objectives: Connect Brown School Community to other Washington University units and departments that focus on global work in order to pursue shared interests and global partnerships.
Incentivize global research through pilot funding, postdoc education funded pipelines, and specialized support services to support global research.
Goal 2: Prepare Brown School students to be leading professionals in global social work and social welfare, global health and social policy. Objectives: Attract and recruit top students who focus on global social work, public health and social policy. Evaluate the viability of a master’s degree program in global health and development or sustainable development.
Maintain an active engagement with alumni worldwide and create opportunities for them to contribute to online teaching, research and student recruitment.
Goal 3: Enhance integration of community-engaged research, practice and technology to address global disparities. Objectives: Take a leadership role in advocating for global equity and addressing disparities. Establish mechanisms and necessary supports for strengthening existing partnerships and building new partnerships with universities and other organizations worldwide.
Leverage and strengthen the Visiting Scholars Program to contribute needed expertise, provide innovative curricular content, and foster research collaborations.
“ Our world’s largest social and health problems are rooted in issues that cross geographic borders. We need to cultivate solutions that reflect this increasingly interconnected world and find new and better ways to work together as a global community.” – JESSICA LEVY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE
Driving Equity 2030
Transdisciplinary Research and Education Transdisciplinarity is not an end but a means to address serious social, health and structural challenges. Each of the Brown School’s three disciplines must demonstrate singular strength, while also being capable of intensive collaboration to effectively cross boundaries and address our world’s most complex issues. We embrace the opportunity and responsibility to train the best social work, public health and social policy professionals who share the desire to work together toward impactful change. We continue to commit to solving real-world problems by leveraging and convening expertise across disciplines and perspectives—within and outside of our walls.
Goal 1: Strengthen the transdisciplinary and team science community across the university to better facilitate and expand problem-solving approaches to complex social and health issues. Objectives: Identify & work collaboratively toward elimination of barriers to transdisciplinary research and teaching at WashU, with attention to issues of culture, resources, incentives and policies.
Identify opportunities and provide space, time, and resources across WashU to facilitate a transdisciplinary approach.
Goal 2: Build upon our culture of collaboration to encourage and support transdisciplinary agendas in teaching and research within the Brown School. Objectives: Amend the school’s system of recognition, promotion and merit increase to include transdisciplinary teaching and research.
Create & support infrastructure to support transdisciplinary teaching and research.
Goal 3: Move scientific discovery into social impact through policy, practice and teaching. Objectives: Create and support infrastructure for proactive and strategic translation of research results into best practices.
Demonstrate leadership in team science, including engaging community user organizations and stakeholders at all stages of the research process.
“ The Brown School and its partners have made important steps toward transdisciplinary scholarship and teaching. A strategic focus will allow us to take this work to the next level.” – MELISSA JONSON-REID RALPH AND MURIEL PUMPHREY PROFESSOR OF SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH
Driving Equity 2030
Affordable and Accessible Brown School Education Graduate tuition costs increase annually, and student debt is a burden for far too many Brown School graduates. While a Brown School education provides significant value beyond earning potential, the income-to-debt ratio of our graduates can adversely affect their career paths. The success of our graduates, and thus the value of their education, will be amplified if we can limit yearly tuition costs, as well as lower the student debt burden. Currently, the School offers only full-time, on-campus degree options. We recognize that part-time programs can help meet the needs of those who want to advance their education while retaining their professional status. Offering more flexible alternatives may help to defray the cost of graduate school and provide greater access to our degrees. 12
Goal 1: Meet the full financial need of Brown School students who come from backgrounds of constrained resources and for those students with outstanding loans. Objectives: Eliminate the reliance on student loans to cover costs related to tuition and living expenses, particularly for those students who have taken on debt to finance their undergraduate education.
Expand scholarship support for students, as well as other sources of financial assistance, including paid practicum and research opportunities.
Goal 2: Provide flexible and adaptable degree program options to break down barriers to access and success. Objectives: Create flexible degree options across all three master’s degree programs to increase access. Create flexible methods for delivering accessible and flexible classroom curriculum.
Provide scholarship support for both full-time and part-time Brown School students.
“ Coming straight from undergrad, I was already financially overwhelmed. My ability to come to graduate school, and be as involved as I am in this meaningful work, was determined by the financial support I received.” – KYLIAH THOMPSON, MSW ’19
“ Understanding the financial implications of graduate funding can be complicated. The office of financial services is dedicated to providing financial clarity.” – DOMINIQUE SANDHEINRICH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID
Driving Equity 2030
Data Science and Technology to Advance the Social Good The pace of data production is accelerating at a scale that is unparalleled in history, offering critical information that can help eliminate health and well-being disparities for individuals and populations. Advanced methods such as data mining and machine learning are emerging as important tools to harness this data for the social good. As a leading school in our professional fields, we need to advance our capacity to train in these methods and in our ability to make data accessible for both internal and external research. We expect to invest in and support related faculty scholarship, as well as the development of technologies for practice and policy applications.
Goal 1: Grow our leadership in data science and technology for social good. Objectives: Create and support a new administrative strategy and leadership structure to guide this effort; develop a technology and data vision.
Recommend optimal Brown School structures and resources to advance this priority, including the creation of endowed professorships in Data Science.
Goal 2: Advance state-of-the-art technology-related educational programs for students, staff, faculty and community partners. Objectives: Evaluate current educational programs and infuse data and technology content into programs.
Develop approaches to increase data access and use for our community partners.
Increase resources to promote advanced data and analytic skills for faculty, staff and students.
Goal 3: Support the growth of multidisciplinary research focused on data and technology. Objectives: Grow partnerships across the university and with other for-profit and nonprofit sectors every year. Secure support for a seed grant program.
Target faculty collaboration and hiring to maximize strength and attract cooperation with strong WashU data science groups.
“ Advances in technology and data offer new opportunities as well as challenges for those in the social service and public health fields. The transdisciplinary research and training at the Brown School make us ideally suited to develop nextgeneration data strategies and tools that can promote justice.” – PATRICK FOWLER ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Driving Equity 2030
Climate Change, Environmental Health and Justice A rapidly changing climate has disproportionately threatened communities that are already experiencing social, health and environmental injustices, shaped by centuries of inequitable social systems. Unsustainable practices, overexploitation of resources and rapid urbanization have put entire ecosystems and communities at risk. Food security in much of the developing world is threatened. Climate refugees are crossing borders to find habitable land. Devastating natural disasters are happening with more frequency. We must prepare the next generation of social work, public health and social policy professionals to deal with the consequences of climate change—particularly as it affects the most vulnerable—and work toward environmental justice.
Goal 1: Integrate Climate & Sustainability, Environmental Health and Environmental Justice (CSEHEJ) through all the Brown School’s research and partnership strategies. Objectives: Establish partnerships with private and public sectors to develop pipelines of opportunities for meaningful action to advance the work on climate change, environmental health and environmental justice.
Establish sustainable partnerships between Brown and other WASHU disciplines and units to advance education, research and community/policy impact opportunities on CSEHEJ. Enhance research infrastructure on CSEHEJ.
Goal 2: Build a cohesive transdisciplinary educational approach for climate & sustainability, environmental health and environmental justice (CSEHEJ) across all Brown School programs. Objectives: Expand education opportunities and offerings within the Brown School. Expand CSEHEJ field education opportunities for students across all programs.
Expand CSEHEJ education opportunities and offerings across WashU Schools. Enhance faculty and staff expertise and leadership on CSEHEJ.
“The places and spaces we live have a lasting effect in all aspects of our lives. We need to ensure that health policies and strategies shaping the environments in our communities are informed by the best available evidence to promote equitable, sustainable and healthy living conditions.” – RODRIGO REIS PROFESSOR ASSOCIATE DEAN OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Driving Equity 2030
Community-Driven Science Innovative solutions to social, health and structural challenges that are developed in academic isolation too often fail in real-world settings. The constraints of environments characterized by scarce resources—including inadequate funding, limited workforce capacity and lack of “buy-in” from funders and policymakers, which are all needed for sustainability—may not be taken into account. Rigorous collaborative research methods can be applied to advance new knowledge and the social good simultaneously. Given the Brown School’s commitment to mutually beneficial partnerships locally, nationally and globally, elevating community-driven scientific methods and studies as an area of distinction is an important opportunity for leadership across our fields.
Goal 1: Leverage and grow the community-involved science resources of the Brown School to advance equity and eliminate disparities in local, national or global regions with a focus on marginalized or low-resource communities. Objective: Provide internal infrastructure to support community-driven science as a protected place for faculty, staff and community to hold space, to build things.
Goal 2: Elevate faculty and citizens as community-engaged scientists who apply innovative and rigorous methods. Objectives: Develop sustainable structures that support community science based on mutual benefit and sustained partnerships.
Incentivize collaboration with community citizen scientists through grants and awards. Increase the communication and dissemination of the impact of our collaborative scientific efforts.
Goal 3: Advance a model of community-driven science to make equitable population-level impact, advance scholarship, and our reputation in partnership with local and global communities. Objectives: Implement up to two population-level studies in the St. Louis region.
Advance the field of community-driven science through transdisciplinary curriculum development, instruction and practice.
“ We must value the perspectives and lived experiences of people who reside in the local community if we expect to make any sort of impact. We need the community’s help to identify and foster assets that are embedded in their environment.” – DARRELL HUDSON ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Driving Equity 2030
Our Strategic Planning Process Over the course of a year, the Brown School implemented a five-phase planning process designed to create a shared understanding of goals and future direction, buy-in from key stakeholders and a commitment to the implementation of the strategic plan. An additional year to review the plan was also taken due to the pandemic. As a framework, we used the Collaborative Strategic Planning process developed specifically for higher education institutions by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The process depended on four grounding principles: Meaningful engagement of institutional stakeholders Transparency and information sharing throughout Attention to external issues and trends Engagement of external stakeholders, including alumni and community partners
Stakeholder Input We conducted over 40 interactive sessions and interviews, and evaluated 251 online surveys. Feedback was received from: 119 Staff 104 Students
90 Faculty 66 Community collaborators
53 Alumni 49 Anonymous responders
33 N ational Council members
Participation included either an interactive session or interview and/or a survey.
The themes that emerged from this input were explored through in-depth concept papers, which helped to frame the strategic priorities and core commitments of our plan. Many stakeholders came together throughout this process to help shape the School’s vision, mission, goals and objectives.