We are pleased to announce the first recipients of the 2016-2017 pilot Diversity, Equity and Inclusion grants.
The Office of Campus Climate recently launched a new program that aims to strengthen UC Merced’s campus climate and cultivate an environment where all students, staff and faculty members feel respected, included and valued. The Chancellor’s Advisory Council for Campus Climate and Inclusion, the Office of the Chancellor, the Graduate Division and the Office of Campus Climate partnered to support the grant program in response to results from the UC Campus Climate Survey administered at the Merced campus in 2013 and follow-up focus groups.
The following projects will take place during the 2016-2017 year:
Afro Terrace: Academic and Emotional Support Project ($5,000)
This project will help to support a learning community which targets historically underrepresented minority students at institutions of higher education and those currently underrepresented on UC Merced’s campus; thus, emphasizes support for black/African students. This population has been identified as having lower retention rates, prolonged graduation rates, and decreasing enrollments on UCM’s campus. Our specific project goals are to (1) assist members in maintaining a GPA of 2.75 or higher, (2) encourage a 4-year graduation rate, and (3) work to reduce stereotype threat. To achieve our goals, funds from the grant will be used to: create an academic resource bank (i.e., a collection of scantrons, notecards, planners available to members); develop and distribute a UCM academic resource contact list and information handbook; provide incentives for learning workshops (e.g., creating 4 year graduation plans, time management, emotional intelligence, and strategies for success for students of color); and cover travel and honorarium for certified trainer who will lead a workshop on reducing stereotype threat. The project will contribute to a more diverse and inclusive campus climate for all students by assisting with the recruitment, retention, and support for black/African students who are able to thrive at UCM.
Community and Inclusion for Non-Senate Faculty, a Working Group ($5,000)
This proposed working group is designed to engage a university-wide reevaluation of the important role Unit-18 lecturers assume for service, teaching, and research, with a focus on potential governance structures to promote meaningful inclusion in university activities. Offering sustainable employment and professional opportunities to Unit-18 lecturers has deep implications for the development and well-being of research universities generally and undergraduate education specifically. This proposed working group would to begin dialogue across faculty groups and schools, with two main objectives: (1) to review models for contractual faculty engagement in university activities and (2) establish priorities for continued and formalized strategic planning. This working group will engage about 12 Unit 18 lecturers, Academic Coordinators, and Senate faculty, ideally with a broad representation across Schools on a monthly basis for AY 2016-2017.
Speed Diversity Dialogue ($1,000)
This is a low-cost and engaging multicultural training that will be held for Freshmen and Sophomore students enrolled in the CORE Friday series. The Speed Diversity Dialogue workshop increases awareness of diversity, empathy, motivation for social inclusion, value of ethnic and cultural differences, cultural sensitivity, and social action skills in college students. Modeled after other “speed” trainings (e.g., speed mentoring), this training will be implemented as a 90-minute CORE Friday event at the beginning of both the Fall and Spring 2017 semesters. The Speed Diversity Dialogue workshop has two components that help participants appreciate diversity in all its forms, break down stereotypes, understand barriers to inclusivity, embrace the meaning of multicultural excellence (awareness, knowledge, skills, and social action), and promote empathy for all people in their everyday lives.
Understanding and Addressing STEM Inequalities Speaker Series ($4,999)
Although UC Merced is diverse in many ways, some STEM fields on this campus lag significantly behind other fields with respect to the representation and inclusion of diverse populations of undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty. A group of around 20 faculty and staff from all three schools will organize a campus-wide speaker series focused on understanding and addressing STEM inequalities by race/ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexual orientation. Using funds from the DEI grant, we will invite three renowned speakers next academic year with expertise on a variety of relevant institutional and programmatic approaches to equity and diversity in STEM fields. Our aim is to spur discussions that lead to concrete actions that help make a UC Merced an innovative leader in promoting representation and inclusion of marginalized and underrepresented populations across campus. Our DEI grant speaker series will be extended into a second year with the generous support of matching funds from: School of Natural Sciences, School of Engineering, Office of Undergraduate Education, Graduate Division, and the Office of the Vice Provost of Faculty.