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Response to Questions About Faculty DEI Statements

By News and Media Relations on November 22, 2019 in University

University of California Regents Policy 4400 recognizes the state of California’s compelling interest in ensuring that people from all backgrounds perceive that access to the university is possible for talented students, staff and faculty from all groups. The knowledge that the University of California serves all parts of the community equitably helps sustain the social fabric of the state.

UC Davis shares the university’s commitment to excellence and equity in every facet of its mission. University policy governing faculty appointment and promotion states that contributions in all areas of faculty achievement that promote equal opportunity and diversity should be given due recognition in the academic personnel process, and they should be evaluated and credited in the same way as other faculty achievements. These contributions can include efforts to advance equitable access to education, public service that addresses the needs of California’s diverse population, or research in a scholar’s area of expertise that highlights inequalities. Mentoring and advising of students and faculty members, particularly from underrepresented and underserved populations, should be given due recognition in the teaching or service categories of the academic personnel process.

As part of the UC application process, potential faculty seeking positions at UC Davis must submit statements about contributions to teaching, research, and diversity, equity and inclusion. These statements form part of a whole packet of information that helps the university make hiring decisions.

At UC Davis, individual search committees composed of faculty members review applications for faculty positions. They recommend applicants for interview and which candidates should receive further consideration to the faculty of the particular department where the position resides. The departmental faculty vote on the potential candidate and send their recommendation to their dean. The dean has the responsibility for hiring faculty members into assistant professor positions at Levels 1, 2 or 3. At Level 4, the dean makes a recommendation to the Committee on Academic Personnel, which consists of nine faculty members from across campus, and to the vice provost of Academic Affairs.

Advancing Faculty Diversity grant

In 2018, UC Davis received an Advancing Faculty Diversity grant from the University of California Office of the President. As part of a pilot project launched with this grant, eight faculty committees individually reviewed the statements of contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion at the beginning of the process.

Each faculty group developed its own criteria for evaluation, taking into consideration how the statement addressed the following:

  • Awareness of inequities and challenges faced by underrepresented minority students and faculty;
  • A track record of activities that reduce barriers in education or research for underrepresented minority students and faculty;
  • description of how they would contribute to an inclusive campus; and
  • A vision for how their work will continue to contribute to UC Davis’ mission to serve the needs of our diverse state and student population.

After the initial faculty committee review, the process continued through the usual faculty hiring process, including departmental review and recommendation, dean’s office review and, in cases of higher-level hires, review by the campuswide Committee on Academic Personnel. Candidates were evaluated by faculty based on the criteria set forth in the Academic Personnel Manual, looking for excellence in teaching, research and service.

New faculty members’ focus areas

From that process, UC Davis hired eight faculty members whose research focuses in the following areas:

  • Developing solutions to water quality and water quantity issues by pursuing technological developments alongside a systems-wide perspective that considers the links among water, food and energy security, and the pressures placed on these by climate change impacts such as drought, fire and flooding.
  • Researching the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate ectodermal derivatives, such as the central nervous system, neural crest and skin formation in multiple vertebrate species.
  • Generating the scientific understanding needed to better manage the ecological challenges caused by the profound environmental changes the planet is facing.  
  • Investigating the role of law and legal institutions in exacerbating, facilitating and ameliorating inequalities, and law’s adaptability to changing environments.
  • Examining the psychology of competition as well as the social psychology of judgment and decision making.
  • Research examining how children’s emotional and regulatory behaviors combine with their close relationships to influence their academic, social and psychological adjustment.
  • Research studying within-race diversity among K-12 educators in order to elucidate individual and contextual factors related to their practices with students of different sociodemographic backgrounds. 
  • Elucidating mechanisms regulating vascular function in physiological and pathophysiological conditions, and response to environmental pollutants.

UC Davis welcomes diversity of opinions as we continue to find ways to create an inclusive atmosphere for people who have traditionally been excluded or underrepresented in higher education.

Online resources

Media contact(s)

Melissa Blouin, 530-752-2542, cell 530-564-2698, mlblouin@ucdavis.edu

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