Action Plans

 


 

 

 

In June 2020, the School of Social Sciences committed to an action plan to address anti-Black racism and to set in place new, durable supports and structural changes to help bring about a university that will truly support Black lives. Read the full action plan here.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and in recognition that this is a day of service, I am writing to provide an update on what we have set in place so far, what’s been accomplished, and what remains to be done. This is an effort to keep ourselves accountable to the plan we laid out, as well as to ensure that we can identify additional areas of need, and continue our service in the spirit of our mission.

If you are looking for a way to celebrate MLK Day in the service of others, please see this list of volunteer opportunities (many of them virtual) and events taking place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Let us use the occasion of the holiday to recommit ourselves to the work yet to be done.

Bill Maurer,
Dean, UCI School of Social Sciences

 


 

Addressing Anti-Black Racism Action Plan
School of Social Sciences

January, 2021


 

 

ACTIONS TAKEN

 

School level

The school has hired a full-time administrative officer to coordinate program initiatives and support the associate dean to expand and execute the important work of the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. The office hosted "Anti-Blackness, Refusal, and Resistance: Fugitive Possibilities in Black Education" with Kihana Ross and "Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues - The Sword and The Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. in the Age of Black Lives Matter" with Peniel Joseph.

The Thriving in the Academy Graduate Student Program continues to host events to support the diverse graduate student population. Events include: "Career Goals and Trajectories - The Big Picture" and "Surprises in Grad School: Things I Thought Would Be Hard But They Turned Out To Be Easy, or Vice Versa." The Thriving in the Academy Faculty Program held their first welcome event for first generation and underrepresented faculty members.

Social Sciences' Graduate Diversity, Inclusion and Development Committee held a two-day Zoom conference - "Empowering Imaginaries and Engagement" - to celebrate and learn about the diversity of approaches to investigating and disseminating the Latinx experience.

Support for the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT): During the fall quarter, the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT) housed in Social Sciences established relationships with Cal State Fullerton and Chapman University to develop TRHT programming for college students. They began planning a virtual conference on race in Orange County where they have established partnerships with other institutes of higher education, local organizations and leaders, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, and local Native American tribal members to plan and implement this conference. They began racial healing training for undergraduates who are serving as mentors for DIRHA. The center will apply for a Racial Equity 2030 grant to take the TRHT/DIRHA effort to a state and/or national level. The team is working with the OC Human Relations Council to establish community dialogues on racial healing. Finally, they will collaborate with the library, faculty, and community organizations, to develop a plan for oral history collection, focusing first on the Black community, indigenous community, and other marginalized groups.

Valuing Diversity Work in Academic Personnel Reviews: The school committed to drafting a statement of the value of the hidden labor of faculty serving our diverse student body and contributing to an inclusive climate, and supporting anti-racism through research, teaching and service. A draft will be completed by the end of winter quarter 2021.

Diversity and Equitable Inclusion Awards (junior and senior faculty awards, graduate student award): While the school has led the campus in recognizing our colleagues' achievements in activities promoting diversity and anti-racism in service, teaching and research, these awards, administered by Social Sciences' Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, are currently unfunded. We committed to deploying donor funds to properly honor the recipients of these awards and are currently seeking donor support.
 

Research

Research Funding for Pilot Projects: With the generous support of the Dean's Leadership Society, a community of alumni, community members and other supporters, the school launched a new small grants program to support faculty and graduate student activities to address systemic racism. Six awards were made for 2020-21.

Project Updates:
Kristin Turney, Professor, Sociology; Amanda Geller, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Law & Society; Nicholas Freeman, Ph.D. Student, Sociology; Sarah Remes: "Understanding Anti-Black Racism Experienced by Youth with Disabilities."
Preliminary analyses indicate that, as hypothesized, students with autism or ADD/ADHD, compared to their peers without these disabling health conditions, receive more school resources, experience more suspensions and expulsions, and report lower levels of school connectedness than their peers without these disabilities. Among adolescents with autism and ADD/ADHD, Black and multiracial students (both boys and girls) reported significantly higher rates of school suspension and expulsion than White students with these disabilities. Hispanic students with autism or ADHD, similarly, reported higher rates of suspension and expulsion than their White counterparts; however, these differences were not statistically significant. Black boys with disabilities also reported significantly lower levels of school connectedness than do their White counterparts; differences were statistically insignificant among girls. These preliminary analyses have provided a "proof of concept" to submit a small grant to the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Kim Fortun, Professor, Anthropology; Tim Schutz Ph.D. student, Anthropology: "From Sugar Plantations to Chemical Plants to COVID-19: A Digital Exhibit and Historical Tour of Louisiana's Cancer Alley." Cancer Alley is a COVID-19 environmental injustice perfect storm exacerbated by Trump's rollback of environmental regulation. Cancer Alley is a powerful case for teaching how racism and injustice are historically produced while providing powerful examples of Black resistance and resourcefulness. After the pilot presentation in early October, researchers have continued to build the content for each (digital) stop on tour, integrating suggestions from diverse reviewers. Their goal is to make the tour a rich digital archive that can be used in many different educational settings such as UCI Anthro 25A, introducing students to an important case of enduring anti-Black racism, foregrounding the idea of historically produced disadvantage as a key mechanism of anti-Black racism. Currently, researchers are working with community activists in Cancer Alley to use the digital tour and collection to support work opposing the Formosa Plastics facility. Winter 2021, researchers will work to further draw out the connections between long-running pollution in Cancer Alley and extraordinarily high rates of COVID-19 (in the last few months, research further advancing this connection has continued to be published). They will also continue to work more with the Whitney Plantation Museum, drawing from their extensive collection of unprocessed documents that convey techniques of controlling both enslaved and freed laborers in the Cancer Alley region. The Whitney Museum also has records of Black resistance; the biggest slave rebellion in the United States, inspired by the Haitian Revolution, took place in the region in 1811, for example, mobilizing over 500 slaves.

Additional projects with professors Long Bui, global and international studies, Ann Hironaka, sociology, Damien Sojoyner, anthropology, and Michael Tesler, political science, are also underway.

Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs Research Funding for Black Lives: The Black Lives Matter Research Scholarship application went live on November 2, 2020. 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. One award has been made to date for a project titled, "Defining Black Feminism."

Justice and Equity Research Paper Awards: The initiative will award a $500 yearly scholarship for a top research paper addressing race, racism, equity, justice, and other related topics. The call for applications will be announced on Monday, February 1, 2021.

Student Support

Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP): For over 20 years, SAEP has been supporting first-gen and underrepresented minority students through an intensive, residential summer academic program. The school will expand and enhance SAEP, and explore other models for its programming and curriculum in order to reach more students, with the aim of at least doubling participation.

Anti-Blackness and Fighting Racism Scholar Program: The Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, which provides career development and resources for undergraduates seeking internships and applying to graduate and professional school, launched a series of new programs devoted to addressing anti-Blackness and racial justice. Activities to date have included:

Voices for Advocacy Quarterly Dialogue Series: The Dean's Ambassadors Council, in collaboration with the Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, initiated the Voices for Advocacy community dialogue series for social sciences students in spring 2020. On Friday, June 5 from 10:30-11:30 a.m., the first installment of Voices for Advocacy was held with 16 people in attendance. Featuring dean Bill Maurer and associate dean Jeanett Castellanos, the session provided space for students to address their needs during this time of mourning and share their thoughts on how the School of Social Sciences can better serve its students on issues of diversity and multiculturalism. Student questions and comments collected directly contributed to the School of Social Sciences Anti-Blackness Action Plan.

On Monday, October 26, 2020 from 5:00-6:00 p.m., the second installment of Voices of Advocacy was held with 53 people in attendance. With the theme of "Why Your Vote Matters," political science professor Davin Phoenix, Ph.D. candidate Edward Watson, and UC I Decide Coordinator Joshua Block addressed voter disenfranchisement targeting BIPOC voters, political participation through history, and why students' votes matter now more than ever.

Planned for winter 2021, the third installment of Voices for Advocacy will focus on conversations about the first woman and the first Black and Asian American elected vice president of the United States. Further details to come.

Our Story. Our Voice. Our Time: The Power of Storytelling as Advocacy:" On Monday, January 25, 2021, 5:30-7:00 p.m., the SSARC, in partnership with UCI SOAR, will host a virtual creative writing workshop in collaboration with award winning poet, writer and teaching artist Marcus Omari. Omari will lead unique writing exercises and guide a lively group discussion around the power of our stories and voice that leads to the courage of advocacy. The event will help students process thoughts and feelings as they relate to current issues of social injustice (e.g., anti-blackness, racial injustice, health disparities). Students will have the opportunity to explore and contribute to the growing collective list of "truth to power" practices and be invited and encouraged to share snippets from newly created works based on session exercises intended to spark the creation of new narrative beginnings.

Competitive Edge: This year the school is supporting 3 additional Competitive Edge graduate students (above the number already admitted) to participate in the Competitive Edge program. The school will at least double this commitment going forward. Selections are currently in progress for fall 2021.

Curriculum

Change School Requirements: The school will work to create a new undergraduate school requirement devoted to cultural competence, empathy, and humility. The requirement will be for all incoming freshmen and transfer students.

Create and Maintain a Curated List of Courses, and Incentivize New Course Development: The school will create and maintain a curated list of existing classes on race and racism, and will work with chairs to identify curricular gaps and develop a call for proposals to incentivize the creation of new undergraduate and graduate classes and mini-classes addressing systemic racism and inequality. Such incentives will include funded, part-time graduate student support for course development.

Outreach

Associate Deans for Access: Created by the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Student Affairs with the support of SSARC, the Associate Deans for Access is a joint initiative with the UCI Center for Educational Partnerships through the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) to engage directly with local low-income schools with predominantly first-generation, racial/ethnic minority students (those who identify as Black, Latinx, Southeast Asian and others) interested in the UCI social sciences. The vision is to have social sciences student coaches who will serve as mentees to guide racial/ethnic minority students in their college application process. The program will have a continual component for students who are accepted to UCI and join our school.

On November 10, 2020 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. the first panel discussion held had 82 high school students in attendance. Associate dean Castellanos kicked off the meeting with a quick introduction of UCI, the UC system, and her own experience as a first-gen student on campus, and then turned the floor over to three social sciences undergrads who shared their experiences, followed by a lively Q&A. All high school students in attendance received an email from Castellanos to attend one of three follow-up sessions with student panelists in December 2020. One to two students attended each of the follow-up sessions.

A second panel discussion will take place in Winter 2021. Further details to come.

 


 

Addressing Anti-Black Racism Action Plan
School of Social Sciences

June, 2020


 

 

Dear all,

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Ahmaud Arbery are but the most recent in a centuries-long line of tragedies, visible and hidden, underscoring the deep history of anti-Black racism and violence. Challenging this sedimented legacy requires that we work for the institutionalization of the commitments we say we hold--not just a one-time burst of activity, but the setting in place of new durable supports and structural changes that will help us all alter our practices to bring about the university that will truly support Black lives.

For the past four years, I've been greeting our incoming first-year and transfer students with a quote from the author N.K. Jemisin: those of us in positions of privilege have to advocate "for those who have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question." We need to use the institutional levers we can move to set the trajectory of this great university toward greater and greater justice.

We will continue to advocate for resources to expand our efforts to enhance the recruitment of faculty from backgrounds underrepresented in the academy. We also recommit ourselves to attract and retain graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds. But we will also take action with resources at our disposal today to begin to create change.

To that end, and to mark #ShutDownAcademia, I am announcing the following initial changes to our own structures and practices. I am hopeful that these steps will generate other ideas, and I look forward to everyone's input. With a combination of school and donor funds, I commit $150,000 to the activities and programs enumerated below.

Several items below require Senate consultation and approval, and I will be consulting with the school's Executive Committee, as well. The associate deans and I will be reaching out in the coming days and weeks to listen, learn, plan, and actualize these and other steps, with you, toward transformation.

I want to thank the assistant and associate deans, and in particular associate dean Belinda Robnett, whose powerful message you may read here. I also thank my colleagues, students, staff and members of our community for all the hard work you have already done to fight anti-Blackness and for pushing me and others to do more.

With gratitude,
 
Bill Maurer,
Dean, UCI School of Social Sciences

 

 

School level

Expansion of the Office of the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity: The school commits to seeking campus approval to hire a full-time program coordinator and additional administrative support for the associate dean to expand and execute the important work of this office. We will also augment the budget for this office. This work includes support for Black student organizations, galas, and activities, depending on yearly requests. It also includes Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues Town Hall Meetings; Addressing Slavery Speaker Series; Thriving in the Academy Graduate Student Program; Thriving in the Academy Faculty Program; Faculty Diversity Ally Program; Excellence Through Diversity Speaker Series; Diversity Education Faculty Certificate Program; Diversity Education Graduate Student Certificate Program; Mentoring Across Differences Series; Diversity in the Classroom Series; and the Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

Support for the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT): This past academic year, through the efforts of Teresa Neighbors, Belinda Robnett and others, UC Irvine was awarded a $20,000 grant from the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to establish on campus a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center. Social sciences will consolidate existing diversity-related outreach and education activities (Global Connect and the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Healing Ambassadors program) under the TRHT Center. This effort will result in greater coordination as well as assist in attracting additional philanthropic support.

I am pleased to announce that with a generous gift from Larry Kugelman as well as a gift from Tom Boellstorff and myself, we will match the funding provided by the AAC&U in support of the TRHT Center. I invite others to join me in supporting its important work. Those in a position to give can do so here or contact Tracy Arcuri at tarcuri@uci.edu.

Valuing Diversity Work in Academic Personnel Reviews: The school will draft a statement of our commitment to value the hidden labor of faculty serving our diverse student body and contributing to an inclusive climate, and supporting anti-racism through research, teaching and service. Departments will be expected to use these guidelines when reviewing contributions to diversity in personnel reviews.

Diversity and Equitable Inclusion Awards (junior and senior faculty awards, graduate student award): While the school has led the campus in recognizing our colleagues' achievements in activities promoting diversity and anti-racism in service, teaching and research, our awards are currently unfunded. We commit to deploying donor funds to properly honor the recipients of these awards.
 

Research

Research Funding for Pilot Projects: With the generous support of the Dean's Leadership Society, the school will launch a new small grants program ($15,000 annually) to support faculty and graduate student activities to address systemic racism; police use of force; alternatives to policing; alternatives for economic empowerment; addressing implicit bias; disparities in health, education and housing; and global and critical race scholarship across the disciplines. This effort will be coordinated by the associate dean for research and graduate studies.

Undergraduate Research Funding for Black Lives: The school will provide funding for undergraduate student research to address racism and anti-Blackness. This initiative will be coordinated by the associate dean for undergraduate studies. We announce $1,000 annually in support of this effort from the school’s Board of Councilors, our philanthropic leaders.

Justice and Equity Research Paper Awards: The school announces a paper award funded to the amount of $1,000 annually from our Board of Councilors for top graduate and undergraduate research paper(s) addressing race, racism, equity, justice, and other related topics. This will be administered by the associate deans for undergraduate studies and research and graduate studies.
 

Student Support

Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP): For over 20 years, SAEP has been supporting first-gen and underrepresented minority students through an intensive, residential summer academic program. The school will expand and enhance SAEP, and explore other models for its programming and curriculum in order to reach more students, with the aim of at least doubling participation.

Anti-Blackness and Fighting Racism Scholar Program: The Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, which provides career development and resources for undergraduates seeking internships and applying to graduate and professional school, will launch a new program to host panels, faculty dialogues, and book talks devoted to anti-Blackness and racial justice.

Competitive Edge: This year the school is supporting 3 additional Competitive Edge graduate students (above the number already admitted) to participate in the Competitive Edge program. The school will at least double this commitment going forward.
 

Curriculum

Change School Requirements: The school will work to create a new undergraduate school requirement devoted to cultural competence, empathy, and humility. The requirement will be for all incoming freshmen and transfer students.

Create and Maintain a Curated List of Courses, and Incentivize New Course Development: The school will create and maintain a curated list of existing classes on race and racism, and will work with chairs to identify curricular gaps and develop a call for proposals to incentivize the creation of new undergraduate and graduate classes and mini-classes addressing systemic racism and inequality. Such incentives will include funded, part-time graduate student support for course development.
 

Outreach

Associate Deans for Access: The associate dean for undergraduate studies will enlist her colleagues across campus to conduct outreach at low-income schools with predominantly racial ethnic minority students. The school will support undergraduate student "Access Coaches" to serve as mentees to guide racial ethnic minorities in their college application process. The program will have an ongoing set of activities for students who are accepted to UCI and join our school.

 

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