July 27, 2020
Re: Fostering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
July 27, 2020
As mentioned in the July 15 memo distributed by Chancellor Muñoz and me, we will convene a task force to address anti-blackness from a campus and community perspective. The goal will be to develop new efforts to foster equity, diversity and inclusion efforts on the campus and in the community. Actions already developed are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between the university and various student groups.
Specifically in Academic Affairs we are taking the following actions:
1. We are taking active steps to ensure that Affirmative Action reporting occurs at the department level. Our Senate Diversity and Equity (D&E) Committee has crafted useful guidelines for departmental affirmative action (AA) reporting that go beyond tallying number of hires and separations. D&E asks for reporting on departmental climate and efforts to retain diverse faculty; we will ensure that such efforts center anti-racism to affect systemic change. These guidelines will sharpen or augment current efforts.
The Vice Provost for Faculty (VPF) office, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) office and school deans will work with me to advise departments on how to implement AA guidelines in academic year 2020-21. Each department is already developing a set of diversity goals in the context of departmental missions and strategic planning efforts. These will align with federal AA policies and with Academic Personnel Manual guidelines on maintaining departments that are “hospitable to creativity, diversity and innovation.” In the end, this collective effort will result in AA as an integral part of departmental operations.
2. The school deans, the VPF office and I continue to collaborate with Senate, including Divisional Council, D&E and Faculty Welfare and Academic Freedom (FWAF) to maintain an inclusive climate for all faculty, in keeping with our Principles of Community . We already have some initiatives, such as the faculty peer mediation program, to help address climate issues and are working with campus partners to help inform faculty of services we provide to resolve conflicts in departments or classrooms before they escalate. The VPF Office will continue offering workshops and events to support under-represented faculty, including mentoring programs and faculty learning communities.
3. Many faculty are interested in partnering with individuals and groups in the Merced community in order to address challenging issues that confront our at-promise populations. We will continue to support community-engaged research and community-campus efforts or programming focused on Black lives, refugee communities, undocumented families, and other populations that make up our diverse community. For instance, our recently acquired Pirkle Jones Photography Collection, which includes photographs that chronicle rural-urban life in the Central Valley, will be exhibited in the community, and the curation will involve community partners.
4. We will continue to encourage faculty to develop anti-racist curricula and pedagogical practices that promote inclusivity and cultural sensitivity inside and outside of the classroom. The Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL) is a good partner in this effort.
If you are interested in joining a subcommittee of the task force, please contact Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer, Dania Matos .
Thank you for all your proactive engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement. Shared governance is critical to how we maintain a culturally responsive university.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost