Confronting Extremism through Community, Thriving and Wellness

Confronting Extremism through Community, Thriving and Wellness


Reflections during the COVID-19 crisis and impacts of the pandemic underscore the fact that diversity, equity and inclusion efforts lost ground as the country addressed more obvious life-and-death issues associated with the pandemic. The initiative for "Confronting Extremism through Community, Thriving and Wellness" encourages student resource directors and Senate faculty to pilot or build further synergy through evidence-based strategies in ways that rebuild, reframe and transform our members, institutions and communities for inclusive excellence.

This funding opportunity is as part of the Confronting Extremism Program and the call closed July 8, 2022.

Call for Proposals (closed on July 8, 2022)

Office of Inclusive Excellence Confronting Extremism Program Call for Senate Faculty and Student Resource Center Proposals: Confronting Extremism through Community, Thriving and Wellness

The Confronting Extremism Program in the Office of Inclusive Excellence solicits proposals to develop measurable change in communities and climates while confronting extremist ideologies, actions and histories. As a campus, we seek to create a community where all expect equity, support diversity, practice inclusion, and honor free speech. Submissions to this Call for Proposals  for Confronting Extremism through Community, Thriving and Wellness closed on July 8, 2022.


Impetus for this Call for Proposals

Even as we understand that COVID-19 was an unusual occurrence, reflections during the crisis and currently underscore the fact that diversity, equity and inclusion efforts lost ground as the country addressed more obvious life-and-death issues associated with the pandemic. Reports from the Orange County Human Relations Commission chronicle a 35% increase in hate crimes and a 119% increase in hate incidents during 2020 ( National outlets tracked a similar disturbing uptick in power-based violence, and bomb threats and other attacks against houses of worship during the same time period. Steady streaming of misinformation take on new meaning when voting rights, vaccine immunity, and inequitable health access and outcomes by race, ethnicity, national origin and other identifying factors hang in the balance.

The past funding calls from the Confronting Extremism Program started engines for change and drew upon evidence to enhance understanding and awareness about the nature of extremism impacting US communities. The eight projects funded under the first call examined the denial of common humanity, the denial of science, and enhancements to general education offerings on these issues. Funded projects engaged undergraduates and professional students in questioning cultural assumptions via curriculum and digital tools, researched anti-vaccine movements and other anti-science ideologies, and offered public programming to counter political, social and other misinformation.

More recent calls respectively for Advancing Equity in the Age of COVID-19 (awarded in 2020) and for Building Community to Confront Extremism (awarded in 2021) addressed specific issues raised during the current pandemic. A total of 19 Advancing Equity awards and 11 Building Community awards brought community members together and challenged them to identify and enact change to address a range of issues from educational access and health equity to violence and incarceration. Projects included crowd sourcing creative solutions to extremism and programming via social media, and action research to correct and preserve cultural heritages, and train for addressing implicit biases and the deleterious effects of targeted extremism.

Goals of the Current Call for Proposals

The call requested proposals from UCI student resource directors and Senate faculty no later than July 8 (extended deadline) to pilot or build further synergy through evidence-based strategies in ways that rebuild, reframe and transform our members, institutions and communities for inclusive excellence.

We benefit from multiple perspectives about the status of cultural identities and impacts from COVID-19 against a backdrop of increased extremism. These sources include podcasts, such as The PEW Charitable Trusts’ After the Fact Conversations on COVID-19, National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine reports about isolation and mental health effects, research such as Don Albrecht’s study about vaccine hesitancy across ideological lines (2022), consensus research on the status of women, University of California data about increased student food insecurity, mental and financial hardships, and external tracking of increased hate crimes. Clearly, the current pandemic has left indelible marks on the ways that our institutions of higher education are and will be situated to support diversity, equity and inclusion on and beyond campuses.

Through funding awards, this call aims to:

  • Regain the ground lost on DEI efforts through pilots and extensions of evidence-informed programs and measurements of their impacts;
  • Circumvent isolation and disruptions to holistic health, community activism and agency, particularly on behalf of communities besieged by extremist threats that lessen access, representation, visibility, and value in American cultures and systems to support rights and privileges such as safety, voting, education, and health, etc.; and
  • Enact evidence-based practices and empower partnerships for inclusive teaching and activism for social justice

In order to promote change we need to:

  • Recognize the points of stasis and/or inertia
  • Question/interrogate root causes
  • Integrate proven and promising practices into broader use
  • Promote tracking, monitoring to be vigilant about impacts

Proposal Types

Competitive proposals must launch or build on evidence-based, action-oriented projects with considerations about sustainability beyond the funding period in at least one of the following areas:

(1) creating projects, demonstrations, pilots and/or inquiry related to enhance promising or best practices for action and community engagement to confront extremism toward measurable impacts

(2) training, educating and/or researching phenomena among UCI constituents to examine the factors to enhance thriving in the face of extremism and the aftermath of the current pandemic; this focus may also include evidence-based improvements to pilot and/or extend innovative pedagogy within and beyond UCI, fostering care and closing measurable gaps in achievement in minoritized, vulnerable or majority communities targeted by extremist ideologies to limit social justice

(3) developing, testing, and/or enhancing facilitative factors to improve comprehensive health and well-being in the aftermath of COVID-19 learning about the threats imposed by extremist values in structures, systems and/or societies.

Successful proposals will reflect projects that engage across multiple communities, have action plans, milestones and timelines within the call period, and engage UCI members and other partners. They will specifically define the issues related to extremism and COVID-19 effects and provide evidence-based rationale for the project and its activities. They will discuss reasonable plans for sustainability beyond the funding period – which do not have to confirmed at this time (e.g., submission of grants and/or partnership work), but would demonstrated in the described project activities and measures of success.

Project Duration

To ensure that projects may be implemented with appropriate advance planning, selected projects are funded for a 24-month period, with the mandatory mid-year and annual reporting and use of funds ending no later than July 31, 2024.

Type of Projects Funded/Fund Use

Projects may range from forums and workshops, case study of strategic decision making, or direct interventions, service expansions, or innovative programming, and research to support UCI members and potentially other partners beyond UCI.

Funding must be used solely for project activities according to UCI policies governing state funds. Fund use may include summer ninths salary, if applicable, equipment, presentation fees, learning tools, and resources. Funds also may be used for one-time stipend salary stipends or direct payments to UCI undergraduates or UCI graduate students or other students, but not for fee remission. Funds may be used for event-related gift cards and honoraria.

Competitive proposals will have single or multiple project leads and be funded up to $25,000 for the total funding period (24 months). For funded multiple-investigator projects, the funding will be split between no more than two co-investigators for the same project, based on justification in the budget narrative.

Review Process

Submissions will be prioritized by a Review Committee, accompanied by recommendations for funding. Total funding is subject to change and based on the funds available at the time of all funding decisions.  The Office of Inclusive Excellence expects to fund a total of 10-12 projects.

Proposal Components

Only complete proposals will be considered; incomplete proposals will be returned without review.

Complete proposals must include: completed form submitted online and one PDF proposal of a maximum of two typed pages with the following components:

  • Abstract/Project Summary of no more than 150 words
  • Statement of Need/Project Purpose and Goals
  • Project Activities, Approaches, and Expected Outcomes, inclusive of a project timeline for the entire period of operations, and the types of UCI members engaged
  • Evaluation/Assessment Plan for measurable outcomes
  • Plans for Dissemination and Sustainability
  • Significance of the Project
  • Budget and Budget Narrative detailing expenses for the entire period of operations

Deadline Has Been Extended

Complete proposals were requested no later than 5 p.m. (Pacific time) on Friday, July 8, 2022

Review Criteria

Nominations will be reviewed by invited UCI leadership group consisting of faculty and staff members across diverse and inclusive projects. Successful proposals will reflect the following review priorities.

The extent to which the proposed project:

  • Contributes to knowledge and actions to confront extremism at UCI
  • Advances the UCI Action Plan for Inclusive Excellence on at least one of its pillars: community, thriving, and wellness;
  • Builds on existing strengths and/or paves new paths related;
  • Catalyzes new interschool or campus-wide collaborations;
  • Enhances graduate and undergraduate education (i.e., contributes directly to undergraduate education in the classroom or outside of the classroom in addition to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in the generation of new knowledge);

Implementation Requirements

The Primary Contact Lead for each project funded from this call accepts responsibilities to:

  • Serve as the SOLE CONTACT for all OIE communications and arranged presentations and accepts responsibility to communicate OIE information to any team members or co-project leads
  • Provide image(s) and abstracts for online project promotion
  • Complete or ensure submission of mid-year (due November 30, 2022 and November 30, 2023) and annual project updates (due August 31, 2023 and August 31, 2024) on expenses and advancement of project goals by established deadlines
  • Request advance approval from the Office of Inclusive Excellence in writing for any changes in fund uses or funded project activities; approval response must be provided in writing by the Office of Inclusive Excellence to proceed with desired changes
  • Participate in a video-recorded interview and public forum to communicate findings and project outcomes
  • Complete a Final Project Use Report and expend all funds no later than July 31, 2024. Make arrangements for return of all unencumbered or unexpended awarded funds by May 1, 2024.

2022 Awards

2022 Awardees for Confronting Extremism through Community, Thriving and Wellness (Project Abstracts - PDF)

Awardees by unit are:

Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Department of Studio Art, David Trend (Lead) – The Inclusive Course Design Institute – Additional team members: Stacey Branham, Megan Linos (Co-PI), Meredith Ehrenberg (Co-PI), and Andrew Berk


The Inclusive Course Design Institute (ICDI) is a faculty-led professional development program to cultivate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEI-A) in teaching and learning. Providing structured training, online resources, and public programs, the ICDI addresses the role of instructional design as well as course content in advancing equitable learning environments. With initial funding from the “Confronting Extremism” program, the ICDI is a joint effort of DTEI, OIT, and academic units campus-wide. Its programs provide pedagogical resources for faculty in supporting transparency in course design, accessibility, student well-being, engagement and belonging. The ICDI’s first series of six-week faculty development programs began in Spring 2023, with all senate faculty and all instructors of record eligible to participate. The program entails weekly meetings, a Canvas course site, an informational website, and other resources for inclusive teaching. Participating faculty attend weekly discussions and complete a reflective teaching statement at the end of the program describing a redesigned course. Those completing the program will receive an ICDI certificate.


Program in Public Health and School of Social Sciences, Department of Chicano/Latino Studies, Alana LeBrón (Lead) – Evaluating an Anti-Racism Curriculum to Inform the Development of the Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research (CEHDR) – Additional team members: Jun Wu, Abigail Reyes, Mextli Lopez, and Candice Taylor Lucas


The new UCI Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research (CEHDR), the inaugural Black Thriving Initiative Cluster Hire effort, is working to deepen and grow environmental and climate justice action research, and to ground the emerging CEHDR in the priorities of African, Black, Caribbean and other communities of color who are disparately affected by environmental and climate injustices. We developed a popular education anti-racism process to inform the CEHDR's research agenda and community engagement structure. At question is the effectiveness of the process for: (1) building academic and community consciousness about systems of power and systemic racism; (2) capacity to identify, critically reflect upon, and transform systemic racism in partnership activities; and (3) building partnership capacity to engage in equitable partnership activities. This project seeks to evaluate an anti-racism process related to partnership building efforts for the CEHDR to inform an equitable development of the CEHDR and future anti-racism capacity-building efforts.


Program in Public Health, Sora Park Tanjasiri (Lead) – Assessing Cancer Health Disparities through a Community Outreach and Engagement Lab (COE Lab) – Additional team members: Brittany Morey, Cevadne Lee, and Vy Le

PROJECT ABSTRACT: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many different communities in Orange County. Specifically, the pandemic ignited a rise in extremism, such as the increase in hate crimes, that affected vulnerable and underserved communities of color at a disproportionate rate. Extremism created violence and fear that affected everyday activities for members in these communities, including going on walks, grocery shopping, and even doctor's appointments. This project addresses the isolation and disruption in holistic health, community activism and agency, brought on by extremist threats that result in the decrease of cancer screenings. Furthermore, this project will train UCI undergraduate students to document the effect of extremism on community wellness through qualitative research and analysis. Findings from this project will be shared through presentations, research papers, and policy recommendations.


School of Education, Rossella Santagata (Lead) – Theater of Resilience (“TOR”), Part II: Bringing Together Undergrads and Minoritized High-School Interns for Collaborative Writing and Performance on the UCI Campus – Additional team members: Joseph Jenkins, Gustavo Carlo, and Adriana Campos Johnson

PROJECT ABSTRACT: An interdisciplinary faculty group brought UCI undergrads to a neighboring Title 1 high school to mentor drama classes for writing and staging theater scripts, and to enhance mentee understandings about discrimination, racism and resistance AND family and community resilience. The mentees developed scripts and presented theatrical productions in their schools and other locations. Current phases of the project focus on supporting "freedom of expression") among a new cohort of undergraduates, who will examine issues with new mentees from Title 1 high schools. The year closes with research and dissemination of findings to: (1) foster diversity-related assets, resilience, and strengths in students, (2) promote effective ways to cope and manage racism and injustice, and (3) create strong cultural connections and community.


School of Humanities, Department of African American Studies, Sora Han (Lead) – Living Archives of Poetic Justice: Confronting Extremism through Community-Centered Oral Histories and Storytelling – Additional team members: Susan Bibler Coutin, Audra Eagle Yun, Richard Matthew, and Krystal Tribbett (Co-PI)


Living Archives of Poetic Justice is a collaboration between the UCI Libraries, Social Ecology, and African American Studies that builds upon multiple initiatives, including Community-Centered Archives Practice (C-CAP), the Pandemic Histories Archive project, and the Black Thriving Initiative's three-year Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative on Poetic Justice. This project will both record and publicize stories of Black thriving in the face of extremism in Orange County and expand the therapeutic benefits of community-centered archival work. The project aims are three-fold: 1) developing a curriculum accessible to faculty and instructors across multiple courses and disciplines at UCI and beyond; 2) recording oral histories reflecting the Black experience in Irvine and Orange County, California; and 3) disseminating stories and strategies that illustrate the liberatory potential and empowering practices of community-centered memory keeping.


School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Cynthia Haq (Lead) – Thriving in UCI Health – Additional team members: Afshan Baraghoush, DeMarco Bowen, Jaih Craddock, Tessa Daniels, Xavier Hernandez, Michelle Quint, Juliet McMullin, Bobby Sasson, and Ursula Worsham


UCI Health strives to recruit and retain a diverse health care workforce to provide the highest quality of care for all patients and to reflect the characteristics of the communities that our graduates will serve. We train students, faculty, and staff to treat all patients with respect and to address implicit bias. Concurrent with the increase in extremism across the nation, health staff have been subjected to disrespectful behavior from patients and/or family members. In response to these incidents, we developed a new policy for "Management of Patient Discriminatory Conduct". We propose to develop curricula to prepare physicians, trainees, and staff to thrive, to recognize and respond to acts of intolerance, and to become effective upstanders. We will evaluate effectiveness of training through participant feedback. We will track progress and refine trainings through review of incident reports and annual summaries that describe the number and types of incidents.


School of Social Ecology, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, Brandon Golob (Lead) – Teaching during Trying Times: Training the Future Professoriate in Contemplative & Inclusive Pedagogy – Additional team members: Karma Rose Zavita (Co-PI) and Daniel Mann


This project seeks to create a Pedagogical CLS Certificate Program that trains Criminology, Law & Society (CLS) Ph.D. students in: (1) inclusive teaching; (2) teaching during trying times; and (3) mindful and contemplative pedagogy. Through a series of CLS-specific and wider campus workshops, graduate students will learn how to scaffold undergraduate student success, create inclusive learning environments, and respond to contemporary issues. Moreover, Ph.D. students will create their own specialized workshops and resources that will become part of a Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI) digital archive used to enhance pedagogical training for all UCI Ph.D. students and beyond.


School of Social Ecology, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, Keramet Reiter (Lead) – Confronting Extremism through Trauma-Informed Community Allyship Training Around Incarceration – Additional team members: Jennifer Gomez and Ananda Van Boeyen


UCI LIFTED lays the foundation for advancing equity in education and building new pathways to decarceration. In Fall 2022, 25 UCI LIFTED students will enroll in UC undergraduate courses, offered in person, on site at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD). With a Confronting Extremism Grant, we would pilot, refine, and institutionalize an Allyship Training to develop resources to welcome and integrate both current and formerly incarcerated students into the UCI community. This training would promote inclusion of those with criminal records (who are underprivileged and underrepresented in higher education), cultivating a positive climate on campus; overcoming stereotypes, stigma, and intolerance associated with criminal records; and encouraging a sense of belonging in the anteater community. We propose to develop trainings for UCI staff and faculty about systems of oppression inherent in mass incarceration, trauma symptoms experienced by systems-impacted students, and developing tools for acknowledging and addressing these symptoms.


School of Social Sciences, Department of Chicano/Latino Studies, Laura Enriquez (Lead) – Thriving in the Face of Anti-Immigrant Extremism: Building a Toolkit for Undocumented Student Well-being – Additional team members: Martha Morales Hernandez (Co-PI), Angela Chen, Eloisa Amador-Romero, and Shaozhuan Li


Undocumented students experience high rates of emotional distress fueled by rising anti-immigrant extremism. We propose to develop and pilot an empirically grounded toolkit that can be implemented to support undocumented students' wellbeing and thriving in the face of anti-immigrant extremism. We will draw on three studies conducted by PI Enriquez and doctoral student co-PI Morales Hernandez to identify key areas in which anti-immigrant extremism compromises undocumented student wellbeing and the means through which students resist and thrive. Working with staff practitioners across campus, we will develop six one-hour modules to guide students through contextualizing their mental health in light of rising extremism and developing the tools to thrive on their journey toward wellbeing. We will pilot the modules as workshops and then with a cohort of 30 students to assess their efficacy. A program toolkit will enable annual facilitation of these workshops at UCI and support their replication beyond UCI.


Division of Student Affairs, Womxn’s Center for Success, Sydney Torres (Lead) – Reproductive Justice at UCI – Additional team members: Erika Cortez and Britney Chen


Through the project on Reproductive Justice at UC Irvine, the Womxn's Center for Success and a Reproductive Justice Intern have raised awareness of reproductive justice issues and concepts. The project shared knowledge about reproductive justice as a combination of reproductive rights and social justice, teaching comprehensive sex education, increasing access to STI prevention and care, and sharing narratives about womxn's reproductive rights. This project aims to educate an annual cohort of students about the human right of reproductive justice. Topics include: how to access safe abortion and abortion options, comprehensive sex education, and available contraception methods. Over the past several quarters, the project has executed programs that educated the UCI community on reproductive justice topics to create a more equitable campus for womxn.