We are in the third month of the UCI Black Thriving Initiative. National awareness is growing. The initiative has received coverage in the Los Angeles Times, attention in Insidehighered and notice in the Chronicle of Higher Education. This week Chancellor Gillman featured the initiative during his presentation at the national meeting of the Association of Public Land Grant Universities this week. This national awareness is matched by the whole university engagement with the three action platforms. As I detail below, our undergraduates and graduate students, faculty and staff, and alumni are responding to the imperative to make UCI the nation’s destination for Black people to thrive.
Change the Culture: Accountability begins with Understanding.
Anti-Blackness in the United States Courses. Earlier this month we wrapped up Session I of the anti-Blackness in the United States courses. 268 campus members completed the five-week course. (That’s 1,340 hours of active learning.) Session II is just getting underway with 270 participants. Among the offerings include a new course on allyship. Be sure to encourage your colleagues, coworkers and students to enroll. All are welcome.
Take the Pledge Campaign. The campus community is responding to the invitation to Take the Pledge to Build a Culture Where Black People Thrive. Thus far 1,000 individuals have pledged to honor the four expectations. Nearly a quarter provided testimonials about why taking the pledge matters to them. The pledge is another opportunity to advance the Black Thriving Initiative. All are encouraged to consider taking the pledge. Spread the word.
End Racism: Anti-Black Racism on Campus and Beyond. The Center for Neurobiology and Memory is coordinating a broad grass root movement to End Racism. This movement brings together undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff. Among the activities of this campus collaborative include raising awareness about racism, engaging in education to advance anti-racism and building institutional capacity to accelerate inclusive excellence. To learn more, please consult the dedicated website for more information: https://cnlm.uci.edu/endracism/.
Leverage the Mission: Advance Understanding about the Black Experience and Drivers of Well-being.
New Faculty Cluster Hiring Program. Provost Stern announced the call for proposals for the Black Thriving Initiative Faculty Hiring Program. Building on school priorities, this multi-year program is designed to accelerate research and teaching capacity across the campus. The deadline to submit proposals is Wednesday, 6 January. In the meantime, Vice Provost Jenness and I will host a town hall meeting on Tuesday, 17 November to answer questions and encourage inter-school collaboration.
Featured Public Lecture. UCI and UCSB are sponsoring a lecture by Peniel Joseph at 12:00pm on Friday, November 20. Professor and Director of the Lyndon Joseph Center at the University of Texas, Austin, Professor Joseph will discuss his of 2020 book entitled Sword and Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. https://inclusion.uci.edu/event/anti- blackness-difficult-dialogues-with-peniel-joseph-%e2%99%a5/.
Engage Black Community: Linking UCI’s Future to the Success of Black Communities.
Student Outreach. The Department of African American Studies recorded a compelling message to prospective applicants to UCI. Hosted by Chair and Professor Frank Wilderson, it featured two current faculty who are alumni. They are: Associate Professor Bridget Cooks and John Murillo. For more information, see https://inclusion.uci.edu/uci-black-thriving-initiative/.
Black Management Association. Paul Merage School of Business Professor Tonya Bradford together with students and alumni launched the Black Management Association. The BMA seeks to create an inclusive environment and provide opportunities for students to form meaningful connections. For more information, please see https://merage.uci.edu/diversity-equity- inclusion/black-management-association.html