Chancellor Gary S. May recently honored individuals and teams who exemplify the university’s commitment to diversity — one of the key factors in May’s decision to accept the chancellor’s post in 2017.
“I wanted to be part of a community that deliberately recruits, retains, embraces and celebrates people with backgrounds, gender identities and skill sets that are underrepresented in higher education,” May said at the Feb. 27 ceremony for the Chancellor’s Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community.
That is the kind of community he wanted and the kind of community we continue to be, due in no small part to people like the faculty, staff and students to whom he presented the awards.
Established 16 years ago, the awards honor achievements that contribute in substantial ways to the development and well-being of our diverse and evolving community — for example, through service and leadership embodying the Principles of Community; efforts toward achieving and-or advancing a diverse and principled academic community, including student, staff and faculty recruitment and development); scholarship, campus-based outreach; and involvement in precollege partnerships.
“I personally want to thank all of tonight’s awardees for your outstanding efforts to promote socio-economic mobility and to create a more inclusive and welcoming community here at UC Davis and beyond,” May said during the late-afternoon ceremony at the Chancellor’s Residence.
Rahim Reed, associate executive vice chancellor, Office of Campus Community relations, and interim leader of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, then introduced the award recipients and summarized their accomplishments.
Academic Senate: Colleen Clancy, professor, Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Medicine — In advocating for diversity and equity in the faculty ranks, she led the UC Academic Senate’s Committee on Affirmative Action and Diversity; a UC Davis committee that conducted a faculty salary equity analysis revealing that women’s use of “stop the (tenure) clock” significantly affects off-scale salaries; and UC Davis Health’s Faculty Excellence in Diversity Recruitment Program, which yielded a 30 percent increase in underrepresented faculty.
Academic Federation: Jann Murray-Garcia, assistant clinical professor, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing — She is known for her work in developing the concept of cultural humility, a critical distinction in defining outcomes in multicultural education. Since coming to the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, she has worked tirelessly as a teacher, mentor and guide. Her “Community Connections” course places graduate nursing students in community agencies, with the goal of instilling in the students a sustained commitment for community service and learning.
Undergraduate Student: Evan Dumas, senior, majoring in biotechnology (emphasis in bioinformatics) with a minor in managerial economics — Under his leadership, the campus’s Food Recovery Network gathered (and diverted from the waste stream) some 12,000 pounds of food — double the amount of previous years — and aims to gather even more, thanks to extra supplies and equipment purchased with a “MyLastTrash” grant from the UC Office of the President. Dumas collaborated with local shelters to deliver recovered food to them, bringing to seven the number of places (including the ASUCD Pantry and Solano Park Apartments) where recovered food is distributed.
Graduate Student: Briana Rocha-Gregg, Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group — As part of her commitment to increasing the number of underrepresented students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), she developed the Stockton-based Close the Achievement-gap Now, or CAN. Activities include a Science Olympiad Team and mentorship in engineering and math for third through sixth-graders. Her service also includes reaching out to undergraduates and graduate students, volunteering to tell her story about being an underrepresented graduate student in STEM.
Staff: Fatima Malik, analyst, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, UC Davis Health — She established Racial Healing Circles at UC Davis Health and is now expanding to the Davis campus, training faculty, staff, students and community members to be facilitators of these safe spaces for people to engage in dialogue about racism, hate and discrimination — all in an effort to advance equity and justice. Based on the storytelling process gifted from indigenous communities, Racial Healing Circles allow participants to build trust and community in deeply meaningful ways.
Special recognition awards
Lawrence “Torry” Winn and Maisha Winn, founders, Transformative Justice in Education Center, School of Education — Maisha Winn is a Chancellor’s Leadership Professor and the center’s faculty director, and Torry Winn is the executive director. The center’s mission is to serve practitioners and researchers committed to disrupting social injustices in education by creating restorative, humanizing, justice-seeking teaching and learning communities. The center’s primary focus has been on transforming teacher education, schools and community organizations, but the center also engages with the student body, staff and faculty by hosting events, trainings and circles with the goal of broadening awareness of systemic racism and encouraging individuals to build community, through socially and culturally relevant dialogue. Read more about the Winns in this story on the School of Education’s website.
Administrators: Advancing Faculty Diversity Grant
- Ralph Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor
- Phil Kass, vice provost, Academic Affairs
- Raquel Aldana, professor of law and associate vice chancellor for academic diversity
- Cindy Pickett, associate vice provost for faculty equity and inclusion, Academic Affairs
- Binnie Singh, assistant vice provost, Academic Affairs
- Colleen Clancy, professor, Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, School of Medicine
This team developed creative and unique proposals for the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, then packaged the proposals into a grant application that resulted in an award of $422,000 from the UC Office of the President to pilot the proposals in 2018-19. “It is talented and visionary leaders like these academic administrators who keep UC Davis in the forefront of higher education’s commitment to diversify the faculty ranks,” Associate Executive Vice Chancellor Reed said in his remarks. Read more about the grant.
Recognizing departments for taking the initiative to champion diversity and inclusion across their units, in organizational and staff development plans.
Student Farm — Recognized for making inclusive leadership an integral part of student leadership training, and committing to the practice of cultural humility, with a goal of providing spaces that promote community building.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine — Recognized for the mental health programs it provides in underserved communities, and the development of a four-year curriculum on culture and mental health for medical residents, to improve service delivery.
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, UC Davis Health — Recognized for the health disparities education series it provides for medical residents, and establishing a residency track (Transforming Education and Community Health, or TEACH) for underserved-patient care.