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About Us

Mission Statement

The University of Washington's Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality, is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to bringing the tools of contemporary social science inquiry to the careful examination of issues of social, economic, and political exclusion and disadvantage of marginalized minority populations in the United States, and their potential solutions.


Help establish the University of Washington as a recognized center of excellence for minority-related research and graduate training in the social sciences, by:

  • Creating an institute that facilitates minority focused research through grant-seeking, intellectual exchange, and on-campus activities;
  • Raising the profile on-campus of questions and issues related to minority life in the United States;
  • Creating connections to the wider community;
  • Providing an enlarging research community to faculty and graduate students working on questions of disadvantage; and
  • Assisting the College and Departments in attracting and retaining faculty and graduate students from diverse backgrounds or whose work addresses questions in inequality or difference.

Brief History

WISER was founded in 2005 by Dr. Matt Barreto and Dr. Gary Segura, while both were faculty members at the University of Washington. The program started with only political science faculty, including Dr. Chris Parker, Dr. Jack Turner, and Dr. Naomi Murakawa, and one graduate student, Francisco Pedraza. It has since grown to over 20 affiliated faculty members in fields ranging from Public health to Social work to Education. There are now five graduate student fellows under WISER with many more affiliated students across the University of Washington.

Over the years, WISER has hosted a variety of talks and conferences, from the most recent talk by Neil Roberts on Kant and Respect, to more formal conferences like the PRIEC held in September 2009 or the Latino policy conference from 2008.