UCSF Launches 10-Point Initiative to Promote Diversity

Over the past two years, several groups with broad representation from across UCSF have met to assess the current environment and identify opportunities to advance the University's longstanding commitment to excellence and diversity. The result of these efforts is a comprehensive initiative to promote and nurture diversity at UCSF among faculty, staff and trainees, coordinate diversity outreach programs and improve communication related to diversity. This initiative, which is organized through the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, pinpoints 10 key outcomes to be completed this year. Current efforts are building on UCSF's historic commitment to promote diversity, dating back to the late 1960s. The importance of diversity was reemphasized by Chancellor Mike Bishop, MD, in his 1998 inaugural state of the campus address. He stated: "I believe one of our noblest challenges is the need to honor and pursue diversity within every element of our campus community. It is imperative that all minorities be properly represented in all walks of life, and in positions of authority and distinction. The shape of our future as a culture rests on that imperative." Over the years, many individuals and groups committed to diversity have worked hard to implement a variety of programs. "While progress has been made, we are falling short of our aspirations to achieve greater diversity at UCSF," said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost A. Eugene Washington, MD. Washington believes one reason the campus is falling short is that well-intended efforts are often not adequately coordinated or supported. "Working collectively, with enhanced coordination, we can accomplish a great deal more to advance diversity," Washington said. "Diversity is integral to achieving UCSF's goals of excellence in research, education, patient care and public service, and ultimately our mission of advancing health worldwide. With this initiative, we are reaffirming our commitment to diversity and we are taking action." Moving Forward

10 Key Outcomes Expected in 2007

  • Implement comprehensive communication program and diversity webpage.
  • Establish faculty database for conducting faculty searches.
  • Implement best practices for faculty searches.
  • Develop comprehensive plan for staff recruitment and retention.
  • Develop comprehensive program promoting diversity among trainees.
  • Develop preliminary set of proposals on accountability and incentives.
  • Recruit director of academic diversity.
  • Establish coordinated outreach program.
  • Establish school-specific plans.
  • Incorporate recommendations from the Strategic Planning Initiative.
To achieve the identified goals, the vision must be clear, an action plan with metrics established, and responsibilities and accountability defined. Currently, members of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Diversity (CACD) meet on a monthly basis, implement diversity initiatives and provide feedback to the chancellor. The CACD is divided into five subcommittees; its 33 members represent a cross-section of the UCSF population. After spending two years assessing the success of various diversity programs and committees on campus, 10 key outcomes have been identified for accomplishment this year. For each outcome, a campus leader is charged with implementation. Leading the charge to implement a comprehensive communication program is Associate Vice Chancellor of University Relations Barbara J. French. "The purpose of the communications program is to ensure we are fully communicating the overall picture of UCSF's diversity efforts, which includes its commitment to diversity, programs underway to support our efforts and where we can improve," said French. "Part of the problem is that information is difficult to find and there is no one source for information. Consequently, people don't know where to turn to find information on diversity." Following a review of campuswide communications about UCSF's diversity programs, several recommendations for improving communications are being implemented. These include:
  • Creating a centralized webpage, linked to the www.ucsf.edu website, to serve as a focal point for effectively disseminating information about campus diversity;
  • Creating special events to promote cross-cultural understanding and support the needs of faculty, staff and students;
  • Providing ongoing support for discussion groups -- or town hall meetings - across the campus to discuss diversity issues; and
  • Strengthening training programs to help faculty and staff become better informed about how to effectively support the campus's diversity efforts.
Leading the charge to promote diversity among faculty is Vice Provost Sally J. Marshall, PhD. In the last two years, Marshall has overseen the Faculty Search Ambassador Program, in which Ambassador Harvey Brody, DDS, explains to recruiting committees the campus goals for diversity and provides suggestions on how to find candidates with diverse backgrounds, including use of databases and targeted advertising. To increase awareness of UCSF's intention, the following statement was recently added for all advertisements for faculty positions: "UCSF seeks candidates whose experience, teaching, research or community service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence." Currently under development is a faculty search toolkit which will facilitate all aspects of searches, but should be particularly helpful in increasing the diversity of applicant pools. The Chancellor's Steering Committee on Faculty Diversity also provides suggestions regarding the search process.

Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center, congratulates recipients of a Best Practices in Staff and Academic Diversity at a luncheon last October.

Additionally, Marshall will recruit and work with a director of academic diversity, who will also work with Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Washington, Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs Joseph Castro, PhD, and leaders of the four schools and the Graduate Division to ensure that diversity objectives and strategies are implemented in a timely manner. "We have been studying best practices elsewhere, and are implementing them at UCSF," said Marshall. "One of the problems is that we have no way of tracking our success, so a database is under development that will allow us to track hires and departures of faculty with the appropriate diversity information. We are also in the process of enhancing the incentives and accountability for increasing the diversity of the faculty." The charge to promote diversity among staff is led by UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret and Senior Vice Chancellor Steve Barclay. "Mark Laret and I are currently working to formulate a comprehensive plan for diversity among staff, and we are presenting the plan to the campus leadership in April," said Barclay. "We are looking at the need for new programs and how best to enhance and better support current programs. In doing so, we are taking data from employee and other surveys and the many well-considered recommendations from the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Diversity, and trying to knit all of this together to create a plan that is responsive to what we've heard from the staff. We will assign leadership-specific roles and responsibilities to carry it through." Robert Baron, MD, associate dean for graduate medical education and continuing medical education in the UCSF School of Medicine and co-chair of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Diversity, is leading the charge to promote diversity among trainees. Three working subgroups are addressing the unique issues of each type of UCSF trainee: students, residents, and fellows and postdoctoral scholars. "Each subgroup has been charged with systematically reviewing existing approaches at UCSF, conducting surveys of successful programs around the country and reviewing the literature to identify model efforts," said Baron. "The subcommittees will define the best way to implement these programs at UCSF. These efforts will be fully coordinated with ongoing efforts to continue to promote diversity among staff and faculty and with the efforts of the chancellor's other important advisory committees." The committees have until July 1, 2007, to complete their tasks and develop comprehensive plans to enhance diversity at UCSF. A retreat is being organized for the fall of 2007 to bring together campus leaders, who will share and integrate the information discovered from this process, and will develop a collective, unified vision. "Our goal is to ultimately have a comprehensive, integrated program for all the groups, with clearly articulated strategies and priorities for how we most effectively promote and nurture diversity at UCSF," said Washington. "Coming out of the leadership retreat, we will have a blueprint for long-term, sustained action." Photo/Lisa Cisneros Related Links: UCSF Recognizes Achievements in Diversity
UCSF Today, Nov. 6, 2006