DECADE, founded in 2010 by Graduate Dean Frances Leslie, was originally funded through a Department of Education grant. The grant combined student programming with faculty mentorship in a comprehensive program to improve the overall climate in graduate education at UCI. The DECADE program 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, with a primary responsibility of directing the DECADE Faculty Mentor Program.
The term DECADE, Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience, reflects the campus aspiration to achieve diversity parity in graduate programs with undergraduate education within ten years. Since the founding of the program, however, undergraduate enrollment has grown, while graduate enrollment has stagnated. 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 goal.
Provost Enrique Lavernia institutionalized the DECADE program in 2015. It is now housed in the Office of Inclusive Excellence, where Associate Director Roxane Silver oversees the DECADE Faculty Mentors, with a focus on graduate admissions, mentoring current students, and engaging faculty with the graduate student population to create an inclusive environment. UCI Graduate Division continues to manage the student portion of the DECADE program including the DECADE Student Council, DECADE Press, DECADE Speaker Series, and the DECADE Journal Club, among other programming.