University of Washington Special Issue: On Equity

Special Issue: No. 1

25 June 2018

When the editors began conversations about publishing special issues of Process we came to the consensus that “special issues” of the journal should highlight a specific institution, regional scholarly conversation, or type of research/writing produced by a particular demographic of undergraduates. The special issue should, indeed, provide something “special” or specific – a window into a multidisciplinary conversation built around something narrower than our typical broader, global issue themes. We are excited to share our first “special issue” with our readers: the 2018 University of Washington Special Issue: On Equity.

Process: JMUS has deep roots at the University of Washington. We began as an offshoot of the annual undergraduate student writing prize – funded by the Expository Writing Program and English department at the UW. Given our institutional history and long partnership with the UW it seemed only fitting to focus our first campus special issue on the University of Washington.

We challenged students at all three UW campuses to share work that engages issues of diversity, equity and/or inclusion in the broadest possible sense. This issue aims to make visible exemplary, critical work from within the UW community, and to shed light on how various forms of (in)equity bear on UW students, their investments or affiliations, course topics, and/or the university.

We are truly delighted with the result. Submissions engaged the problems and possibilities of equity debates from thoughtful and creative perspectives. Some explored intersections, and shortcomings, of race and gender bias in particular academic pathways. Others took a political bent, delving into community conversations about economic equity and housing markets in Seattle. Students from around the world, welcomed as international students at the UW, shared deeply personal narratives about life as an international student: the challenges, stigmas, and triumphs. Conversations about inequity, for these UW students, prevailed as the prescient theme. The UW undergraduate community has shown itself as an engaged, politically active, global community poised to contribute to conversations about equity on campus, but in the world.  

We hope to produce special issue of Process annually. If you would like us to consider a special issue around a scholarly conversation in your campus community, contact the editors at:


**This special issue is supported by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Collaboration Grants via the Expository Writing Program and the Office for Minority Affairs & Diversity at the UW.


Past – Depression – Future

Yuhua An

Chinese international students in the U.S. can face compounding forms of bias—including, for students who suffer from depression, cultural biases toward depression as a legitimate mental illness. Yuhua An’s piece asks whether the experiences of these students might best be understood through students’ own voices. An’s combination of three personal narratives from University of Washington students—“past,” “present,” and “future”—with images and research-based framing allows a nuanced understanding of the “cultural backgrounds and social customs that make this group vulnerable to mental health problems,” and brings to light the diversity of experiences among Chinese international students, as well as among those battling depression.

Creating an Affordable Place to Live in Seattle

Anushna Prakash

As of June 2018 the median price of a single-family home in King County reached $726,275—up 15% compared to 2017. This data reveals the Seattle metro-area as one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. Projections for continued increases to the cost of living, coupled with intense competition for an already limited and expensive home supply, has made housing affordability a key sociopolitical topic for area legislators and residents. Anushna Prakash’s essay argues that although city legislators claim to be working on the problem, the solutions offered thus far are unproductive as they do not sufficiently take into account the complexities of the Seattle housing market. Fortunately, Prakash forecasts, if legislators and city planners can collaboratively design a future-facing and binding city housing plan for the Seattle area, it will be possible to mitigate economic damage and protect lower- and middle-income Seattlies from unaffordable housing costs and the threat of displacement.

Gender Equality in Computer Science at the University

Shruti Sharma

Even by comparison to other technical fields, a marked gender gap persists in the male-dominated field of computer science—and undergraduate gateway courses may play a role in discouraging women from the profession. This video draws on interviews and survey data from female undergraduates at the University of Washington to understand how, and why, some women who enter college with an interest in computer science turn away from the major after taking introductory coursework. Sharma’s ethnographic research counters some of the prevailing hypotheses around the ongoing gender gap, and the piece suggests concrete ways to develop undergraduate women’s confidence to be successful in computer science majors.