New AAAS Program Recognizes UC Davis for Advancing Diversity

A professor and students look at experiment results at a lab bench.
A professor and students look at experiment results during a biodesign class. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has recognized UC Davis for its work in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion — and its commitment to do even more.

The campus is one of three universities to receive the scientific society’s Bronze Award certification in the new STEM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change initiative. The awards will be presented at the AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C., today (Feb. 13).

The AAAS said it recognized UC Davis “for its innovative approaches to hiring faculty, including the use and review of diversity statements; to policies addressing faculty salary equity; and to outreach and engagement with local communities.”

Also being recognized are Boston University and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Although the AAAS, as a scientific society, is focused on the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — UC Davis is involving all disciplines and gearing its program mostly toward the faculty.

“Our progress in advancing equity and inclusion needs to be measurable,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. “SEA Change, as much as any other program I know, provides the scientific rigor, thoughtful analysis and uniform standards we need to reliably gauge our success.”

In applying for the designation, UC Davis analyzed institutional systems that create opportunities for or barriers to the full and equitable participation of underrepresented and underserved groups. It submitted a 12-point action plan.

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter is serving as principal investigator, and Philip H. Kass, vice provost for Academic Affairs, led the 11-member team that worked on the assessment. “Part of our responsibility is to help our sister institutions realize the same achievement,” Kass said. “We want to be a resource for other UC and CSU (California State University) campuses.”

As part of its action plan, the campus will:

  • track disability and military/veteran status with other demographic measures and further analyze the distribution of ethnicity and its intersection with gender
  • perform annual faculty salary equity analyses
  • analyze specific faculty programs related to advancement including the option for those with children to pause the timetable for meeting tenure requirements
  • find an organizational home for sustaining the ADVANCE program, working to increase the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, after its external funding ends 
  • develop college and school timelines for implementing action items arising from the findings of faculty retention/separation and satisfaction surveys.

SEA Change, the AAAS says, draws on the Athena SWAN gender equality charter, established in the United Kingdom in 2005 to address the underrepresentation of women in science leadership roles.

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Julia Ann Easley, News and Media Relations, 530-752-8248,

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