UCI ADVANCE Program for Equity and Diversity

UC Irvine’s commitment to inclusive excellence is integral to our ascendancy among globally preeminent universities. This commitment animates faculty research, teaching, and service while advancing our capacity to shape the future.

The campus drives institutional transformation through:

  • Robust leadership and intentional messaging
  • Aligning incentives and resources to priorities
  • Consistent dissemination and articulation of university policies and campus procedures
  • Training and equipping faculty leaders to be change agents

The mission of UCI ADVANCE is to promote an inclusive culture for faculty and graduate student excellence. A dedicated team of faculty Equity Advisors and graduate program DECADE mentors carry out this mission in the general campus schools. This distinctive model of peer to peer collaboration is designed to advance excellence through an intentional commitment to equity and diversity in three areas critical for the success of current faculty and professoriate of the future. These are: recruitment and admissions, advancement and degree completion, and an affirmative climate for all faculty and graduate students.

Program Overview

Accountability: Peer-to-Peer Model

ADVANCE Equity Advisors and DECADE Mentors are:

  • Respected members of the faculty
  • Familiar with research literature about faculty career and student success
  • A resource for equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Advocates for institutional transformation
Equity Advisors for Faculty DECADE Mentors for Graduate Programs
Search and Recruitment Outreach and Admissions
Career Advice for Advancement Professional Development
Climate for Inclusive Excellence Climate for Inclusive Excellence

Education and Training

  • Institute for Inclusive Excellence
  • Faculty Search Committee Presentations
  • Institutional Transformation Seminar Series
  • Career Development Workshop Series
  • This is What a Scientist and Engineer Looks Like Series
  • Graduate Student Admissions Presentations
  • DECADE Speaker Series
  • Celebration of Mentoring Achievement and Excellence

Responsive Research

  • Annual Faculty Search Outcomes and Census
  • Quarterly Faculty Search Report
  • Policy Analysis and Assessment
  • Work-Life Integration
  • Climate
  • Bulletin of Faculty Research Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Equity Advisors for Faculty DECADE Mentors for Graduate Programs
Search and Recruitment Outreach and Admissions
Career Advice and Advancement Professional Development
Climate for Inclusive Excellence Climate for Inclusive Excellence

Milestones for Inclusive Excellence

  • 2001, UCI became one of 10 universities nationwide to receive a NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation award to recruit, retain, and advance women faculty in STEM fields
  • 2011, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the Graduate Division a grant for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) to increase the participation and degree completion of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities as well as women in campus doctoral programs. Modeled after Equity Advisors, DECADE Mentors cultuvate an afffirmative climate for gradute education

Signature Programs

  • Dependent Care Travel Awards
  • Inclusive Excellence Spirit Grants
  • Career Development Grants
  • UCI Chancellor’s ADVANCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
  • Diversity Opportunities Web Portal

Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

  • UCI Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, & Inclusion
  • UCI Minority Serving Institutional Status Project (HSI, API, NASI, and BSI)
  • UC-Historical Black Colleges and Universities Initiative
  • UC ADVANCE: Meeting the California Challenge of the 21st Century
  • Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence (Association of Public Land Grant Universities)
  • National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
  • National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program for Gender Equity

Since UCI was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Institutional Transformation award in 2001-2002, the campus has intentionally raised awareness about gender equity, increasing the recruitment of women faculty in STEM fields, and diversifying the senior leadership. The Institutional Transformation Seminar Series aims to sustain institutional change by placing gender equity and diversity in a local, national and global context.

    • Maria Klawe, Ph.D. (2013 event flyer) (full length video)
      President, Harvey Mudd College
    • Judith Stepan-Norris, Ph.D. (2012 event flyer)
      Professor of Sociology at University of California, Irvine
    • Diana Bilimoria, Ph.D. (2012 event flyer)
      Professor of Organizational Behavior at Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University
    • Lorelle L. Espinosa, Ph.D. (2011 event flyer)
      Director, Policy and Strategic Initiatives at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)
    • Monica Biernat, Ph.D.(2009 event flyer)
      Professor of Psychology at University of Kansas
    • Cecelia Conrad, Ph.D.(2009 event flyer)
      Vice President for Academic Affairs at Pomona College
      Stedman-Sumner Professor of Economics at Pomona College
      Dean of Faculty at Scripps College
    • Joan C. Williams, Ph.D.(2007 event flyer)
      Distinguished Professor of Law at Hastings College of Law


ADVANCE Program Seeks Gender Equity in Sciences
Two female scholars fill first chair positions and act as role models for women in academics.

By Charlene Manalo
Staff Writer

Ellen Druffel and Chuu-Lian Terng
ADVANCE is supported by a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation that addresses gender inequities in faculty by increasing recruitment, retention and advancement of women at UCI.Two distinguished women scholars, oceanographer Ellen Druffel and mathematician Chuu-Lian Terng, have been named the first chairs of UC Irvine’s ADVANCE program for their service in promoting gender equity in the field of science.

The establishment and appointment of the chairs is a milestone for the ADVANCE program.

“UCI is the first university in the country, and probably the world, to create endowed chairs for distinguished scholars who have also demonstrated a commitment to gender equity,” said Susan Bryant, dean of the School of Biological Sciences and principal investigator of the grant. “We are planning to raise $2 million to allow these chairs to continue in perpetuity.”

The chair appointments were established to combat the lack of women in faculty positions.

“We lack women in senior positions and there are inequities in salary and services,” said Priscilla Kehoe, director of ADVANCE. “Women often find the climate chilly and not family-friendly.”

Kehoe notes that selecting the chairs also informs the campus of gender equity issues at the university.

“The chairs were established as part of our need to bring awareness to the topic of gender equity,” Kehoe said. “We believed that a powerful way of achieving this awareness was by rewarding and honoring distinguished scholars who are committed to bring about gender equity through their own service.”

Druffel is a scholar of biogeochemistry and oceanography in the Department of Earth System Science at the School of Physical Science.

In addition to her accolades, Druffel served as chair of the Honors and Recognition Committee of the American Geophysical Union and published numerous articles about gender equity issues that included the scarcity of women and minorities.

Druffel’s goals include recruiting and retaining women faculty positions and establishing a mentor program.

“Richard Chamberlin, a professor in chemistry, and I are starting a mentoring program for assistant professors,” Druffel said. “I want to help in the university’s efforts to retain women faculty and to balance the salary scales.

Druffel’s advice to women entering a male-dominated field is not to underestimate one’s self.

“Go for it. If you’ve found the field that excites you, do not, I repeat, do not let the gender composition of the field discourage you,” Druffel said. “You are just as good as anybody else.”

Terng, a specialist in differential geometry and partial differential equations, joined the UCI faculty in July 2004.

Terng’s experience in striving for gender equity includes encouraging women’s pursuit of careers in mathematical sciences while teaching an all-female engineering calculus course at the Connection Program of Northeastern University’s engineering school.

“The purpose was to give women students a chance to network and to have role models,” Terng said. “Besides a regular calculus class, students were required to work in small groups. I believe women students in this program gained confidence, were happier and more successful in their studies.”

While Terng saw confidence increase among her students, she notes the persisting discrepancy in female faculty and most educational institutions.

“Only about 6 to 7 percent of tenured faculty are women,” Terng said. “There are many different reasons contributing to these unfortunate statistics; for example, lack of role models and the fact that the period when one pushes for tenure is also normally the period when women have children and start their family life.”

Terng is also a co-organizer of the Mentoring Program for Women Mathematicians, which is sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton University, and the National Science Foundation.  The program is held in the second half of May at IAS. It has a different focus of research each year, and has one graduate course, one undergraduate course, problem sessions, research seminars, and a Women in Science seminar. This program gives women a chance to advance their careers in mathematics, and provides them with the opportunities to work and to network with other women mathematicians.

As seen in the New University, Volume 37, Issue 4, Oct. 2003.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), they are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

Institutional Transformation (IT) Awards Synopsis Institutional Transformation Awards support academic institutional transformation to promote the increased participation and advancement of women scientists and engineers in academe. These awards support innovative and comprehensive programs for institution-wide change.

See the table below for a list of universities and colleges that have received funding for institutional transformation.

Cohort 1 (2001) Cohort 2 (2003)
Georgia Institute of Technology
Hunter College City University New York
New Mexico State University
University of California – Irvine
University of Colorado-Boulder
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
University of Puerto Rico-Humacao
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Case Western Reserve
Columbia University
Kansas State University
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Maryland-Baltimore
University of Montana
University of Rhode Island
University of Texas at El Paso
Utah State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Cohort 3 (2005) Cohort 4 (2008)
Brown University
California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
Cornell University
Iowa State University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
William Marsh Rice University
University of Arizona
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Michigan State University
North Dakota State University, Fargo
Northeastern University
Ohio State University
Purdue University
Rutgers University
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Washington State University
Wright State University
Cohort 5 (2010) Cohort 6 (2012)
Jackson State University
Lehigh University
Syracuse University
Texas A&M University Main Campus
University of Maine
University of Maryland College Park
West Virginia University Research Corporation
Rochester Institute of Tech
University of California – Davis
University of Cincinnati Main Campus
University of New Hampshire
University of Virginia Main Campus

Four smaller awards were made in 2006 to support promising projects:

NSF IT-Catalyst / IT-Start Grant Recipients

IT-Catalyst awards are designed to support historically resource-challenged institutions in efforts to conduct institutional self-assessment activities, such as data collection and analysis and policy review, in order to identify specific issues in the recruitment, retention and promotion of women scientists and engineers within an institution of higher education.

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
Delaware State University
New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Rochester Institute of Technology
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
Towson University
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
University of Minnesota, Duluth
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
Western Washington University