Black Thriving Initiative
UCI Black Thriving Initiative recognizes and responds to anti-Blackness as an existential threat to our mission as public research university. In depriving Black people of their full participation in society and in university life, anti-Blackness compromises UCI’s capacity to educate, discover, create and heal. It therefore demands a whole university response. This response relies on each member of our campus community linking their future to the success of Black students, faculty and staff as well as alumni and communities served by UCI.
An Existential Threat to Our Mission
- Negatively impacts community and sense of belonging
- Compromises capacity to discover, innovate, and serve
- Contradicts role as a public research university serving all
We Must Be In This Together
- Leverage role as a grant public research university
- Dismantle anti-Black sentiment as an institutional imperative
- Advance understanding of the Black experience and drivers of well-being
Accelerating Our Momentum
- Builds on Inclusive Excellence Action Plan
- Extends Confronting Extremism Program
- Aligns with UC Regents Principles Against Intolerance
Leverage the Mission • Change the Culture • Engage Black Communities
Leverage the Mission
Harness Research and Teaching to Accelerate the Understanding of the Black Experience and Drivers of Well-Being
The pervasiveness of anti-Blackness in society demands the attention of the entire research and creative enterprise of the university. This imperative requires a comprehensive approach to advancing the understanding of the Black experience and the drivers of well-being for this population. It relies on the existing infrastructure while purposefully leveraging institutional resources to fundamentally understand and accelerate change. To this end, the campus will elevate attention, intensify effort, and disseminate knowledge and creative expressions that refute anti-Blackness, promote innovative public policy solutions to structural racism, and yield practical benefits to Black communities locally, regionally and nationally. Below are campus initiatives in support of this ambitious imperative.
Building on the historic hiring outcomes of Black faculty in 2019-20, this competitive program will allocate positions across the campus for proposals that advance the understanding of the Black experience and the drivers of well-being for the Black community.
The Inclusive Excellence Term Chairs is part of the UCI Black Thriving Initiative with aims to leverage the research and creative capacity of the campus in order to deepen understanding about and responses to a designated national imperative.
Each selected awardee will receive $30,000 annually for three years to support research, teaching, and service activities that advance the program theme. These individuals also submit annual Use Reports to the Office of Inclusive Excellence, deliver a public lecture in the program series, participate in a campus hosted conference. These awardees also consult with the Office of Inclusive Excellence on the Inclusive Excellence Action Plan to develop and enact programmatic activities consistent with the requirements of the Inclusive Excellence Term Chairs Program.
The purpose of the Black Thriving Institute is to harness the research and creative capacity of the campus to advance transformational change. Organized around anti-Blackness, racial justice and slavery, the Institute will support interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary activity to both understand the Black experience and promote the drivers of well-being in Black communities.
Mobilizing the whole university to promote Black student success, degree completion, and advancement in UCI’s academic programs
The transformation of the professoriate and knowledge workforce of the future depends on the success of Black undergraduates and graduate students thriving in academic programs across the campus. This means increasing total enrollments, growing participation in undergraduate and graduate degrees programs, expanding involvement in high impact campus programs, and eliminating differences in undergraduate graduation or graduate degree completion rates.
Culture: Culture Change through Personal, Professional and Institutional Accountability
The most ambitious goal is to dismantle anti-Black sentiment as a precondition to creating a thriving university culture for Black people. Understanding the ways that bias, prejudice and bigotry impact the lives of Black people is a choice that we must make as individuals and as a campus community. This choice requires each of us to see ourselves in relation to our Black co-workers, colleagues, and undergraduate and graduate students.
Accountability begins with understanding.
- Acknowledge the existence of anti-Black racism
- Understand your relationship to anti-Black micro- and macro-aggressions
- Recognize uncredited labor that Black people expend to manage the effects of unconscious and conscious acts of bias, prejudice and bigotry
- Confront anti-Blackness to build a thriving culture for Black people
This voluntary pledge to confront anti-Blackness underscores the campus inclusive excellence principles: equity, diversity, inclusion and free speech. It is not enough to expect equity for yourself without advocating for others. It is not enough to support diversity without learning about the communities that we serve. It is not enough to practice inclusion and resist building bridges of dialogue. And it is not enough to honor free speech without using it to defend inclusive excellence for all.
Take the Pledge has received over 1,000 signatories from the UCI community, comprised of faculty, staff, students and campus affiliates. We recognize those who pledge to confront anti-Blackness and build a thriving culture for Black people.
Several new courses are free and open to all UCI students, staff, and faculty, and each for completion in five weeks:
Module 1 – Anti-Blackness in the United States: Black Protest Tradition
Module 2 – Anti-Blackness in the United States: Structures and Mechanisms of De-Valuing Black People
Module 3 – Anti-Blackness in the United States: Change the Culture through Personal, Professional and Institutional Accountability
The Inclusive Excellence Certificate Program advances UCI’s commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and free speech. It equips the campus community to appreciate UCI from the vantage points of different campus constituencies.
As the current national reckoning has underscored, policing is definitely a major focal point for change. The campus takes this seriously as part of a comprehensive commitment to inclusive excellence. A whole university approach toward safety and community conceives of the police department as serving the campus according to equity diversity, inclusion and free speech principles.
Resources for Confronting Anti-Blackness
Anti-Blackness refers to actions or behaviors that minimize, marginalize or devalue the full participation of Black people in our university life. Such actions may not be maliciously motivated or even rise to the level of a policy violation. The accumulated impact affects how Black undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff community experience belonging at UCI and can negatively affect how they learn, discover and work. In robbing them of their full membership, anti-Blackness distorts the research, teaching and service mission of UCI as a public university serving the state of California while reaching across the country and world.
Engage Black Communities
Linking the Future of UCI to the Success of Black People and Communities
At its best, our service mission reinforces the university’s research and teaching mission to grow the capacity for a thriving culture for Black people. Outreach and engagement with schools and community colleges, collaboration and cooperation with non-for-profit organizations, and consultation and partnership with leaders in business, industry and professionals together enable universities to be a more responsive and impactful partner in serving communities across the county, state and county. These efforts promote a college-going culture and increase the number of college graduates; focus attention on society’s grand challenges and develop local public policy solutions; and contributes to economic vitality of the region and the well-being of individuals, neighborhoods, and communities.
Establish an External Advisory Board for the Black Thriving Initiative and Office of Inclusive Excellence Speakers Bureau
The Initiative requires a coherent strategy and purposeful execution to succeed. This is particularly the case in Orange County where Black people comprise a little less than 2% of the general population of 3 million or 60,000 people. The size of the Black community requires a strategy that is simultaneously focused and broad; engaging with Orange County while reaching Black population centers, including Los Angeles, Bay Area, and Sacramento, across the state and the nation.
Investing in Student Achievement and Honoring Black Faculty through Fundraising and Philanthropic Gifts
The final component of the community Initiative revolves around investing in student achievement and honoring Black faculty. Currently, there are several opportunities for continued and accelerated philanthropic support.
Established in 2019 Leadership Education to Advance Diversity–African, Black and Caribbean (LEAD-ABC) is a UCI School of Medicine mission-based program aimed at producing future physicians who are committed to addressing the health needs of African, Black and Caribbean communities in California, the United States, and beyond.
Open to all majors in the School of Social Sciences.
Created by the Office of the Associate Dean with the support of SSARC, this initiative helps undergraduate students leverage their research in advancing the understanding of Black experiences. Students may submit their application until May 21, 2021. Scholarship funding varies from $100-500.
The Academic Excellence Black Scholars House is a first-year experience living learning community. Students residing in the House will learn to successfully navigate the university environment while embracing scholastic achievement and individual identity.
In responding to this national imperative, UCI Black Thriving Initiative builds on the campus Inclusive Action Plan, extends the UCI Confronting Extremism Program, and aligns with the Principles against Intolerance approved by the UC Regents. Recent achievements are included in a year one in review.
Nation's Foremost Destination for Black People to Thrive
Black Thriving Starts with Leadership
- Michael V. Drake Dr. established at UCI
- First Black chancellor of a general campus
- First Black president of the University of California
Undergraduate Black Thriving Scholars Program
- $10K in gifts raised from campus and community members
- 10 Thriving Scholarships awarded to continuing students
OC African American Alliance $10K Grant
- For BTI-Beall Applied Innovation Student Startup Fund for Entrepreneurship
- School of Humanities enrolls record number of new Black graduate student in Black Studies Cluster
Black Management Association: Launched in 2021
Applications & Admissions
- 3rd in-state UC choice for African Americans
- Doubled admissions offers for African Americans in 2021
Placing Racial Equity at the Center of the University Experience
Anti-Blackness in the U.S. Courses
- 800 participants and 4,000 hours of community learning
School of Medicine: LEAD-ABC
- Nation's first program to develop physician-leaders trained to addressed the unique health care needs of African, Black, and Caribbean communities
Campus Term Chair Program: Black Thriving
- $500K direct investment over 3 years
- 5 term chairs awarded for distinguished contributions
Campus Black Thriving Cluster Hiring Program
- 10 faculty positions for cluster appointments
- Second consecutive year of double digit hiring of new Black Faculty
Black Thriving Pledge
- 1500 signatories of the Black Thriving Pledge
- 800 personal testimonials