View in browser:

header image
Join the UCI School of Social Sciences and Department of Sociology
on Zoom to celebrate and bid farewell to

Belinda Robnett
Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity in Social Sciences

Wednesday, August 26

3:00 p.m.


RSVP for the Zoom celebration:
Belinda Robnett, sociology professor and inaugural associate dean of faculty development and diversity in social sciences, has been named the first-ever vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at UC Santa Barbara. Her role on our sister campus begins September 1 which means she will be leaving UCI social sciences by the end of the month.

Belinda has been a valued member of the sociology department for the last 21 years and has served the department in many ways. She added her expertise to the concentration in social movements with her excellent scholarship on women's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement, her research on how racial hierarchies manifest in the online dating market, and more recently, with her ongoing work on the role of race in politics. She served as the sociology undergraduate director for three years, as graduate committee member for two years, and on many other department committees throughout the years.

When Belinda stepped into her associate dean role on July 1, 2018, she came with a plan to elevate existing - and create new – programs to facilitate excellence in attracting and retaining a diverse faculty and student body. The role was a perfect fit for Belinda, a sociologist who's spent more than three decades studying diversity from a racial-ethnic, gender and social perspective. In her two-year tenure at the helm of our diversity and inclusion efforts, Belinda established the Faculty and Graduate Student Diversity Education Certificate Programs and supplemental workshops and trainings aimed at equipping our academics with tools to foster and support inclusivity in everyday interactions. She oversaw our undergraduate student programs focused on diversity while she worked to build a learning and work environment that supports equitable inclusion. In May, she spearheaded the school's successful effort to create the Enhancing Diversity and Equitable Inclusion Thriving in the Academy Program with a five-year, $350,000 grant from the UC-Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative (UC-HSI DDI). Launching in fall – with plans now underway for finding a new director - the novel program will focus on retaining, training and graduating underrepresented minority Ph.D. students by facilitating professional networks, research collaborations, institutional knowledge sharing, productive relationships with peer and senior mentors, and feelings of belonging – all proven tactics to help retain underrepresented groups.

An LA native, Belinda earned an A.B. in psychology at Stanford University, Ed.M. at Harvard University, and M.A. in psychology at Princeton University. She went on to get her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan where she focused heavily on racial and ethnic inequality. She then spent nine years on the faculty of the Department of Sociology and about seven years as a faculty member in the Women's Studies Program at UC Davis before coming to UC Irvine in 1999. Her research, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Russell Sage Foundation, seeks to understand how racial-ethnic and gender hierarchies are formed by and maintained within formal and informal societal institutions including social movement organizations and the dating market. Her book, How Long? How Long? African-American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights, analyzes the formation of women's leadership roles in the civil rights movement and highlights the gendered nature of leadership in social movements. She also examines racial hierarchy in the dating market, and illustrates that racial inclusion and exclusion is gendered. Her scholarly work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Race and Social Problems, Sociological Perspectives, Social Problems and Social Forces, among others.

Among her many contributions to the UCI campus, Belinda served as the chair of the Subcommittee on Affirmative Action and Diversity, UCI Council on Faculty Welfare Committee; as the School of Social Sciences Equity Advisor; as a member of the Subcommittee on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, Council on Student Experience; as a member of the Special Senate Committee on Diversity; and, as the director of the African American Studies Program.

We wish Belinda the best as she moves on to a new level of leadership in Santa Barbara. We will miss her expertise, wisdom, collegial spirit, and many contributions to UCI while we look forward to her future contributions to the Santa Barbara campus. Please join us in thanking and congratulating Belinda on August 26 for all she has done and will continue to do in her new post at UC Santa Barbara.
A Zoom link will be sent out to all confirmed registrants prior to the start of the event. For further information, please contact Allison Marks,