Advancing Inclusive Success

Mentorship connections encourage more Latinx youth to consider higher ed

Skagit County students of color are underrepresented at Western, even though Skagit is a short drive away from Western’s Bellingham campus.

So Western’s 12-year-old Compass2Campus mentorship program is partnering with North 2 Western, which brings students from the Burlington-Edison School District to Bellingham to tour the campus with their C2C mentors, meet professors, and “create that sense of home,” said C2C executive director Bridget Galati. “We realized we needed a way for students to get on the campus and experience it firsthand.”

In summer 2021, North 2 Western provided more firsthand experience to 18 Latinx 11th-graders from Burlington-Edison on a three-week marine science course funded with a Department of Education grant. With the Salish Sea School and TOLTEC (Teaching our Leaders to be Empowered by their Cultura), C2C mentors and the 11th-graders explored the wonders of the Salish Sea together and learned about the science through a culturally authentic lens.

We will measure our success by: 

First-year Retention Rate
Inclusive Success 2019-20 2020-21 Target 2024-25
Overall 82.0% 78.8% 87-90%
Students of Color 79.4% 77.1% 87-90%
Pell Grant Eligible 76.6% 73.6% 87-90%
Six-year Graduation Rate
Inclusive Success 2019-20 2020-21 Target 2024-25
Overall 67.4% 67.4% 75-80%
Students of Color 64.0% 63.3% 75-80%
Pell Grant Eligible 60.6% 59.5% 75-80%
Transfer Four-year Graduation Rate
Inclusive Success 2019-20 2020-21 Target 2024-25
Overall 75.9% 73.7% 75-80%
Students of Color 74.1% 70.6% 75-80%
Pell Grant Eligible 74.3% 72.3% 75-80%


Young students wearing red backpacks, walking a long a beach

Skagit Valley high school students prepare for a day of hands-on study of the Salish Sea at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes with their Compass 2 Campus mentors in summer 2021. 

Celebrating 50 years of Title IX

2016 Women's soccer team celebrating on the podium

Women have won 10 of Western's 11 team national championships, including the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer National Championships in 2016.


June 23, 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, and throughout this academic year the Western community will celebrate this important milestone and act on its commitment to a safe, inclusive university community.

The Title IX Amendment is simple and profound: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, WWU has progressed from an athletic department that sponsored five women’s teams to a powerhouse in women’s Division II sports with nine teams. Of Western’s 11 team national championship titles, 10 have been in women’s sports.

Beyond sports, this landmark law has sought to level the playing field across all aspects of university life, including sexual harassment and violence, transgender student rights, pay equity and employment. "But even as we celebrate this essential legislation and the incredible progress made over the last 50 years, we know that the full promise of Title IX remains unfulfilled for many women, particularly for girls and women of color, trans and non-binary people, and people with disabilities," said WWU President Sabah Randhawa. "From athletics to our colleges, and to our administrators, staff and faculty, protecting Title IX is a university and community-wide responsibility."

Learn more:

Western’s first Chief Diversity Officer will lead the new Office of Equity

Jacqueline Hughes smiling into a selfie wearing a black suit and pearl pendant

Jacqueline Hughes

President Sabah Randhawa has appointed Jacqueline Hughes to lead Western’s newly created Office of Equity as the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer, overseeing policies and initiatives to increase diversity and equity in campus culture, policies and practices.

Hughes, who has worked in leadership roles related to inclusion at California State University San Bernardino, has extensive experience in applying the principles of access, diversity, equity and inclusion in a complex university environment. Before joining higher ed administration, Hughes led teacher education programs at CSU Bakersfield.

Motivation fueled by experience

Liana Garvett, in front of blurred fall foliage wearing a white turtleneck and grey romper

Liana Garvett

Growing up, Liana Garvett struggled mightily in school due to a visual-spatial processing disorder that interfered with her ability to write by hand. College often seemed out of reach.

But Garvett excelled at Western. She shared her academic and personal experiences in two Scholars Week presentations on strategies to help students with disabilities, and as a guest lecturer on special education through the lens of the disabled experience and disability advocacy. When she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in special education in spring 2022, she was named the Presidential Scholar for Woodring College of Education.

Garvett began her career this fall at Seattle's Bow Lake Elementary School, teaching students with high support needs. She sees disability as a form of diversity rather than a deficit, and wants her students to have the same kind of self-determination and self-advocacy skills that led to her own academic accomplishments.