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Learn More About DECADE


What is DECADE?

DECADE was founded at UCI in 2010 by Graduate Dean Frances Leslie. Originally funded through a Department of Education grant, the effort combined student programming with faculty mentorship in a comprehensive program to improve the overall climate in graduate education at UCI.

The term DECADE, Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience, reflects the campus aspiration to achieve diversity parity in graduate programs with undergraduate education within 10 years. Since the founding of the program, however, undergraduate enrollment has grown dramatically. Faced with the challenges of fostering access to graduate school admission and retention and the growing enrollment gap, a great deal of work remains to meet the program's original goals.

In 2015, Provost Enrique Lavernia institutionalized the DECADE program, which is now funded by Graduate Division and the Office of Inclusive Excellence. In 2016, the Office of Inclusive Excellence appointed Professor Roxane Cohen Silver as the Associate Director for the ADVANCE Program. In this role, Associate Director Silver oversees the DECADE Faculty Mentor Program, with a focus on graduate admissions, mentoring current students, and engaging faculty with the graduate student population to ensure an inclusive environment. UCI Graduate Division continues to manage the gradate student portion of the DECADE program, including the DECADE Student Council, DECADE Press, DECADE Speaker Series, and the DECADE Journal Club, among other programming.

DECADE Mentors

DECADE Mentors are committed to fostering an inclusive environment within their academic programs, and promoting diversity within the graduate student population. They serve as a resource to graduate students and faculty alike, collaborating with Equity Advisors, Graduate Directors/Advisors, and Graduate Division to accomplish the program's goals.

There are currently 43 DECADE Mentors campus wide, each covering a specific graduate program within their Program or School.

Find out who your DECADE Mentor is:

School Graduate Program DECADE Mentor
School of Medicine Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences Masashi Kitazawa
Biological Chemistry, Experimental Pathology, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Physiology & Biophysics Todd Holmes

Student Council

Campus-Wide DECADE Student Council

Doctoral students across campus may get involved on a larger scale by working with the UCI Campus DECADE Student Council, who arrange on events and produce a quarterly newsletter. Visit their webpage for more information.

School Based Decade Student Councils

Several on campus currently have a school-based DECADE Student Council. Reach out to your DECADE mentor to get involved:

Interested in starting a DECADE Student Council in your school? Please discuss with your peers and your DECADE mentor, and reach out to Claudia Campos at

Get Involved

Campus-wide DECADE Student Council - Visit their webpage for more information and to get involved

School-Based DECADE Council - contact your DECADE mentor to get involved

Upcoming DECADE events - open to students and faculty

Faculty interested in getting more involved, please contact Samantha Anderson in the Office of Inclusive Excellence at

Funding Opportunities

Mentoring Fellowships

Faculty Mentor Program (FMP) **

Dissertation Fellowships

President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship (PDY) **

Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship (GDDF) **

Differences between PDY and GDDF:

  • Amount of funding: PDY pays $21,600 plus fees. GDDF pays up to $18,000 plus fees.
  • Eligibility: PDY is a diversity fellowhip that has criteria similar to the Faculty Mentor Program. GDDF is a merit fellowship open to students in the following programs:
    • All programs within the School of Humanities
    • All programs within the School of Social Sciences except for Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
    • All programs within the School of Social Ecology except for Psychology and Social Behavior
    • The Drama and Theatre program and the Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT) program in School of the Arts
    • The Management program in the School of Business
    • The Statistics program in the School of Information and Computer Sciences
  • You can apply to both programs but can only receive one fellowship.

*Typically announced in February

**Typically announced in March

Other Funding

DECADE Student Travel Awards - Graduate students who actively participate in DECADE are eligible and encouraged to apply for funds to support their travel to professional development or research conferences. Awards of up to $1,000 are available.

Find Out More

Students looking to find out more about the campus wide DECADE Student Council, please contact Claudia Campos at To find out more about forming a school-based DECADE council in your school, please contact your DECADE Mentor.

To find out more about upcoming DECADE events and activities, please visit the DECADE webpage.