UCI Black 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.
An Existential Threat to Our Mission
We Must Be In This Together
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
Leverage the Mission • Change the Culture • Engage Black Communities
Leverage the Mission: 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.
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.
Accountability begins with understanding.
Find more ways to engage on the Building a Culture Where Black People Thrive resource page:
Engage Black Communities: 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 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 UC Regents principles against intolerance. Recent achievements include:
- Appointment of the first Black dean in the history of the Paul Merage School of Business and only one among the six business schools in the University of California (2021)
- Appointment of the first Black woman dean of the School of Law and the only one among the five law schools in the University of California (2018)
- Appointment of the first Black female director of intercollegiate athletics and one of 40 female division 1 directors nationally (2019)
- Successful hire of 13 new Black faculty—the largest number in a single recruitment cycle—in arts, business, biological sciences, education, engineering, humanities, law, nursing, social ecology and social sciences (2020)
- UC Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCU) Initiative grants were awarded to three UCI Faculty (2019-2020), UCI has received 8 grants since the program was established in 2011
- Enrollment of the largest number of first year Black medical students (12) in the history of the School of Medicine (2020) – Listen to the story on UCI Podcast
- Among the top three UC destination campuses for applications from Black California-resident high school and transfer students for 3 consecutive years.