UCI aspires to be a national leader and global model of inclusive excellence. We seek to create a campus community where all expect equity, support diversity and practice inclusion. Each of us can and should contribute to shaping this vital campus aspiration. If anything, the UCI Black Student Union demands movement reminds us that inclusive excellence remains a work in progress across the country and at the University of California. In January 2015, the UCI Black Student Union demands team issued a call to improve conditions for black students to thrive. At the direction of Chancellor Gillman, the campus has been actively engaged in assessing needs and implementing changes to advance inclusive excellence. Below is a summary of ongoing and new efforts.
Undergraduate Enrollment: Growing Demand for a UCI Education
- The fall 2016 entering class includes the largest number of African American students in 10 years. This milestone builds on steady growth and reflects the robust demand for a UCI education. The campus received the second-largest number of California-resident applications from African Americans in the UC system.
Student Support and Services: Enhancing Student Success Resources
- Planning is underway to open the Center for Black Cultures, Resources, and Research in 2016-17. The BRC will increase campus student success resources while improving outcomes related to the recruitment, development, enrichment, inclusion, retention and experience of black students in all fields.
- Following an extensive national search, Dr. Àdísà Àjàmú has been selected as the inaugural director of the Center for Black Cultures, Resources, and Research. Chaired by professor Stephen Tucker, the search committee included faculty, staff, student and community representatives.
- Piloted in 2016, the Academic Excellence Black Scholars House is a first-year living and learning community that explores the interconnectedness of scholarship and personal identity across the black diaspora within the context of the university. Students residing in the Academic Excellence Black Scholars House – in the Arroyo Vista housing complex – will learn to successfully navigate the university environment while embracing scholastic achievement and individual identity.
- A restored full-time residential adviser will support the Rosa Parks Theme House. The RA will coordinate social and educational programs for residents of the house, which is sponsored by the Department of African American Studies.
- Since 2013-14, New Narratives: Conversations on Identities & Culture has provided a thought-provoking venue for exploring the multiple current and historical connections that coexist to shape, intersect and influence identities and group membership in the UCI community. The series is chaired by Fred Lipscomb, special assistant to the vice chancellor for cultural affairs and organizational relationships.
Academic Programs: Elevating Attention to Inclusive Excellence
- In January 2016, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia announced that the Program in African American Studies would receive department status. This decision followed the unanimous vote of core faculty, the endorsement of the humanities dean and review by the Academic Senate. Associate Professor Bridget Cooks is the chair of the department.
- In June 2016, the Academic Senate revised learning outcomes for the campus’s general education multicultural studies requirement, effective in 2016-17. Students should be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the culture, history and development of one or more historically underrepresented or marginalized groups in California and/or the U.S.
And do at least one of the following:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the experiential differences and inequalities encountered by underrepresented or marginalized groups in California and/or the U.S.
- Demonstrate the ability to recognize and critically analyze systems of oppression in California and/or the U.S.
- Demonstrate an understanding of how underrepresented or marginalized groups in California and/or the U.S. challenge systems of oppression
Campus Climate: Promoting a Culture of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- In January 2016, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia established the Committee for Improving the Climate for the African American Campus Community to monitor the implementation of BSU demands.
- Chaired by the vice provost for academic equity, diversity and inclusion, the committee consists of representatives from the BSU, Black Staff & Faculty Association and Black Alumni Chapter, as well as at-large undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff members.
- This committee complements the African American Student Experience Work Group, a dedicated offshoot of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture & Inclusion, created in 2013.
- The mission of the work group, chaired by Professor Nicole Mitchell, is to promote initiatives that make UCI a more welcoming environment for African American students, faculty and staff while educating the broader campus community about African American history and culture.
As we look ahead to an exciting new academic year, let’s remember that the I in UCI stands for inclusive excellence.
Expect equity, support diversity and practice inclusion.
Douglas M. Haynes
Vice Provost for Academic Equity, Diversity & Inclusion