Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Enhancements
Dear Academic Affairs Community:
As your Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, I’d like to share with you some of the projects and programs that are currently under consideration or development that I hope will further a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive academic experience for our students, faculty, and staff. In addition to these efforts, I am looking to strengthen additional areas across Academic Affairs, including research and creative activity support, classroom and laboratory infrastructure, academic planning processes, and adequate and appropriate base-budgeting for our departments and colleges.
To begin, I want to speak particularly to those projects and programs that will most directly impact student, faculty, and staff climate.
Because we live in a society in which racism is embedded in our social and political structures, we have students, faculty, and staff who experience racial bias in their daily lives, including, too often, on our campus. In the face of this embedded racism, we need to be intentional and develop alternative practices designed to assure that every member of our campus community has an equitable opportunity for success and a strong sense of belonging. These actions are essential for our students’ academic achievement and personal development. They are important if we are to enable faculty to fulfill their research and creative potential. They are vital if we are to recruit and retain highly skilled and committed faculty and staff. And they are fundamental to realizing our collective potential as a community. Without them, we will not reach and sustain the excellence we seek.
For this reason, I have been listening to the campus community, learning about these concerns, and exploring how current practices, policies, and programs may or may not address them. And I have been working with many of you to enhance or launch new efforts that can accelerate our pace of change towards greater inclusivity and equity, as well as diversity. Based on what I have heard, it is helpful to categorize what is emerging into three overarching categories: Inclusive Climate, Diverse Professoriate, and Faculty Success, which are outlined below.
Many of these efforts are just beginning. Many may continue to evolve. Each of these items has emerged from work initiated in partnership with our Deans, Associate/Assistant Vice Presidents, Academic Senate, CFA representatives, ASI leaders, and/or Cabinet, as well as individual students, faculty, and staff. Each of these groups has also been working in close partnership with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Programs (DIEP) to ensure that our work in Academic Affairs is well-connected and aligned to university-wide projects and its probability of success is evidence-based.
Because many of these ideas and actions are in the early stages, their impact on campus climate may not yet be apparent. So, it’s all the more important that I share this update with you so you are aware of what is in progress. I plan to provide a similar update each semester so we can track and celebrate progress, identify impasses, or note new projects taking place. These check-ins also enable you to offer me input so that course-corrections are possible where necessary.
Feedback is welcome. Please email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn Thomas, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Our Efforts So Far
I. Inclusive Climate
Creating a more inclusive climate in the classroom and our deparments and colleges.
College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committees
- New DEI committees have now been formed in the College of the Arts, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the College of Engineering and Computer Science with the aim of shifting policies and practices, where necessary, to enhance the creation of climates in which all students, faculty, and staff can thrive.
- Committees or similar DEI structures already exist in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Health and Human Development, and the College of Education. Several committees have also been created at the department level within various colleges.
New Faculty Professional Development in Inclusive Pedagogy
- The incoming class of tenure-track faculty in 2020 participated in a multi-part program on inclusive and active pedagogy. This experience provided through a partnership between the Faculty Development Center (FDC) and the College of Education, and the assessment we’ll do of it, will be used to refine the program for subsequent years.
- Additional workshops on inclusive pedagogy and critical conversations in the classroom are also being made available to all faculty by the FDC and DIEP.
Equitable Learning in All Classrooms
- The FDC, working with Information Technology, is creating training to assist faculty in facilitating equitable student learning across our classrooms. The aim is to offer this during our current academic year. This will be part of an Allyship program that faculty can take part in to better facilitate inclusive classrooms and learning experiences.
II. Diverse Professoriate
Creating and cultivating an increasingly diverse professoriate to better reflect the communities of our students and push the research boundaries of academic fields.
Equity Advocate Pilots
- Four of the eight colleges (COTA, HHD, COE, HSS) are either forming or have formed faculty committees or are appointing individual faculty to explore college-specific Equity Advocate models that focus on increasing diversity and equity in the faculty recruitment and hiring process.
Diversity Statements for all Tenure Track Faculty Searches from 2020-21 Onwards
- This year all colleges supported a permanent move to requiring a Candidate Statement on Commitment to Inclusive Excellence (aka “diversity statement”) from applicants for all tenure track faculty positions at CSUF.
GI2025 New Faculty Cohort (20-21)
- Five new positions have been created, and searches have been launched this year across HSS, COTA, and NSM. These positions focus on achieving social justice and eliminating institutional racism.
Senate UPS Revisions
- UPS 210.001: Recruitment and Appointment of Tenure-Track Faculty
- Revisions are underway now in the Academic Senate to enable this UPS to articulate more clearly the priority of equitable search practices and effective training in diversity, equity, and inclusion for search committee members.
- UPS 100.015: Review and Revision of University Policy Statements
- A new question has been added to the review and revision process that asks whether such changes to policies will address existing structural inequities.
III. Faculty Success
Enhancing a campus climate where faculty from all backgrounds want to stay and are enabled to achieve excellence.
Initial Faculty Retention Working Group
- This brings together individuals from the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, Faculty Affairs and Records, DIEP, and the Colleges to brainstorm changes to policies, practices, and programs to ensure our recently hired faculty are valued and supported in ways that encourage them to make CSUF their career home.
Faculty of Color Learning Community (FOCLC)
- Now entering its second semester, the purpose of the FOCLC is to support the success of faculty of color at CSUF. Faculty dedicated to this purpose regularly come together to identify common barriers and develop strategies to improve the campus climate for faculty, support the trajectory of tenure and promotion, and foster successful scholarship, teaching, and service.