UCIBlack 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.
Anti-Blackness: An Existential Threat to Our Mission
National Imperative: We Must Be In This Together
Inclusive Excellence: Accelerating Our Momentum
Negatively impacts community and sense of belonging
Compromises capacity to discover, innovate, and serve
Contradicts role as a public research university serving all
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
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 Chair (IE Term Chair) Program is envisioned to transform UCI through research, teaching, and service aligned to the priorities of its Black Thriving Initiative. The IE Term Chair program leverages the research and capacities of the campus to broaden UCI’s response to designated national imperatives.
A maximum of one proposal package per each academic unit dean may be submitted no later than 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, April 15. Nominees must be active Academic Senate members.
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.
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.
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 – Black Thriving Culture: Allyship
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.
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.
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.
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.
The artists featured in The Black Index—Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas—build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. Using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to transform the recorded image, these artists question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding. Their works offer an alternative practice—a Black index—that still serves as a finding aid for information about Black subjects, but also challenges viewers’ desire for classification.
UCI astrophysicist faces the universe’s darkness with help from those around her and from the stars above her. READ MORE
African American Studies Panel
Meet a few of the professors in the Department of African American Studies at the UCI School of Humanities and learn about the major! Frank B. Wilderson III, chair of the department, leads a panel with Bridget R. Cooks, associate professor of African American Studies and Art History, and John Murillo III, assistant professor of African American Studies.
The Welcome Table with Sydney and Tatum
Meet Sydney Charles and Tatum Larsen, two literary journalism majors and talented storytellers. In their new video series, “The Welcome Table with Sydney and Tatum” (named after a gospel song and short story by Alice Walker), Charles and Larsen spotlight the pivotal moments in the lives of Black faculty, staff, students and alumni in the School of Humanities.
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 include:
Appointment of the first Black dean in the history of the Paul Merage School of Business, currently the only one among the six business schools in the University of California (2021)
The Black Management Association BMA for Students and Alumni Launches at Merage-School (2020)
UCI Law Ranked No. 17 and Given a Grade A Among Top Racial Justice Schools by preLaw Magazine (2020)
Successful hire of 13 new Black faculty in arts, business, biological sciences, education, engineering, humanities, law, nursing, social ecology and social sciences – the largest number of African American faculty recruited in a single cycle (2020)
William Bowman, Samueli School assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has won a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation’s Division Of Materials Research.
[Augusta] Savage did not accept the rejection quietly. “She used the Black press to make the limits that she was facing known to the larger national and international public,” Bridget R. Cooks, an associate professor [of art history and African American studies] at University of California, Irvine, said, “She had a real determination and sense of her own talent and a refusal to be denied.” [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/nytimes]
Episode Seven: Dean Barker speaks with the Department of Music Chair Stephen Tucker regarding his experience growing up in Jamaica, training as a conductor, Outreach work with Santa Ana High School, and the dynamic landscape of the Music department.
Tayloria N.G. Adams, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a Henry Samueli Career Development Chair, has earned a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.
Angeline Dukes, who’s currently a student in the department of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, said it was “wonderful” to find a community of people who had not only succeeded, but overcome the same struggles she’d experienced. She wanted to found the movement in part because of her own struggles as a Black scientist — especially as she felt the mental health impact of the killings of unarmed Black people like Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd earlier this year.
“There are many curators of American art that don’t know anything about African American artists,” Bridget Cooks, a professor of African American studies at UC Irvine, said. … Some say in order for the nation’s celebrated artwork to better reflect our diversity, more outreach is needed. “Inviting people to museums, having open conversations with them about the current conditions, the past, and a sincere desire to do more,” Cooks said.
Bocar A. Ba, UCI assistant professor of economics and others write, “Relative to white officers, Black and Hispanic officers make far fewer stops and arrests, and they use force less often, especially against Black civilians. These effects are largest in majority-Black areas of Chicago and stem from reduced focus on enforcing low-level offenses, with greatest impact on Black civilians. Female officers also use less force than males, a result that holds within all racial groups. These results suggest that diversity reforms can improve police treatment of minority communities.”
I’m pleased to announce that the UCI School of Humanities has earned a Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VII gold award in the Communications Pivot category for “The Welcome Table with Sydney and Tatum.” The category recognizes initiatives that responded effectively and creatively to the events of 2020—in the case of “The Welcome Table,” the deep relation between our COVID-19 situation and issues of inequality and racial justice. Led by student storytellers and literary journalism majors Sydney Charles and Tatum Larsen, the video interview series highlights Black scholars, staff and alumni in the school.
From the judges: “UC Irvine provides a platform for two talented student storytellers to engage on timely topics of great interest to the community, and with broad reach. A deeply thoughtful and compelling project that other colleges and universities can look to in order to amplify the voices of underrepresented students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Inspiring!”
You can watch all 14 episodes below.
Please join me in congratulating Sydney and Tatum!
The University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) is delighted to announce that Chancellor’s Professor of Law Michele Goodwin is the recipient of a UCI 2020-21 Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Award. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Academic Senate – it is given to a Senate member who has achieved excellence through their activities in research, mentorship, teaching, and service.