Creating a More Diverse Campus Community

Earlier this year, UCSF pinpointed 10 key outcomes designed to promote diversity, all of which were expected to be set in motion by the end of the year. Progress has been made on multiple fronts. The diversity initiative, led by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Eugene Washington, was announced in January as a way to focus efforts to create a more diverse campus community. The UCSF Strategic Plan, unveiled in June, reinforced the University's commitment to diversity as well. "Dr. Washington's efforts with the 10-point initiative and the emphasis of diversity in the strategic plan reflect tremendous advance," says Robert Baron, co-chair of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Diversity. "There are a lot of different lines of evidence that the University is moving in a very encouraging direction. There's support throughout the institution, from the chancellor on down, for the importance of diversity and the need to work even harder to continue to nurture and make this one of the great features of our University." Among recent developments in achieving diversity goals outlined in the initiative and the strategic plan are:
  • Establishing a subcommittee on outreach to ensure greater coordination, communication and collaboration of independently run outreach programs on campus;
  • Recruiting Renee Navarro as UCSF's first-ever director of academic diversity to work with leaders in the four schools and the Graduate Division to ensure that diversity objectives and strategies are implemented in a timely manner;
  • Creating a computerized system to be used for conducting faculty searches, collecting demographic data and tracking careers;
  • Appointing Talmadge King as chair of the Department of Medicine, which improves the diversity among senior leadership; and
  • Implementing a communications program that includes creating a new unit within Public Affairs to cover diversity-related news and events and create a website.
Joseph Castro

Joseph Castro

Coordinating Outreach Activities

Joseph Castro, associate vice chancellor for Student Academic Affairs, is leading a subcommittee on outreach that is evaluating myriad campus outreach efforts aimed at boosting diversity. Eventually, the plan is to have a single office that coordinates these separate campus outreach activities. Moving toward a centralized approach to outreach efforts allows resources to be used more efficiently and eventually will allow for greater collaboration throughout the campus, in turn leading to greater diversity at every level of the University, Castro says. By building upon the expertise of individual programs, pooling resources and supporting the sharing of ideas, the efforts of each program will become more effective and the impact greater. A cohesive outreach group also will allow each of the professional schools to work together in bringing underrepresented groups into the pipeline at every level. One of Castro's first charges is to lead the subcommittee on outreach in evaluating current initiatives at each of the schools and the Graduate Division. A subcommittee report is due to the Washington, in his role as chair of the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Academic Diversity, in spring of 2008. "The subcommittee on outreach will look campuswide at what our outreach activities are and how we can coordinate those activities to maximize our impact," says Navarro. "It will put a structure in place that will allow more people to have access to us and have access to opportunities within the University." In her newly appointed position, Navarro is implementing a faculty database to be used for informing faculty searches, among other uses. "We have developed a database of current faculty demographics, national availability data and applicant response data, and we'll be training our academic personnel managers and those that assist departmental chairs and search committees on how to use the data," says Navarro. "The database will allow us to better track the demographics of a particular department." The traveling ambassador program, the brainchild of Harvey Brody, who retired in June, will continue under Navarro. The traveling ambassador program supports representatives from UCSF to attend nationwide professional meetings in an effort to reach out to potentially qualified candidates and encourage them to apply for positions at UCSF.
Renee Navarro

Renee Navarro

Sustaining Diversity Once underrepresented groups are in the faculty pipeline on campus, Navarro sees the need to support them as integral to sustaining diversity. "You can't bring in underrepresented groups and have them feel isolated within a community," says Navarro. "Communicating about the activities that are going on within the institution to celebrate the diversity is vital." Michael Adams, director of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, is among those leading a fall celebration that recognizes and rewards best practices in diversity among faculty and staff. Each year, departmental progress reports are evaluated for improvements in demographics and inclusive work climate. Exemplary departments are recognized by the chancellor at the annual invitational luncheon. "Diversity for the sake of diversity doesn't work," Adams says. "You have to link it to organizational performance, market share and scientific achievement. The diversity celebration recognizes departments, leaders and individuals for their commitment to all of these things because they see diversity as integral to achieving them." Throughout the year at the individual level, a peer may nominate a colleague who exemplifies diversity. This person is recognized with a Champion of Diversity lapel pin that indicates membership in the community of diversity promoters at UCSF. To date, nearly 800 individuals have been awarded the pin. For Navarro, the ideal of creating a culture of diversity is an important distinction in shaping UCSF's identity and fostering an environment of inclusion. "The notion of inclusion is really one where there are no barriers for individuals, given what they bring to the table as their life experience," says Navarro. "Regardless of a person's gender, race, age, sexual orientation or disability, we create a place where everyone has the opportunity and support to achieve their potential." Adds Baron, "I think our primary goals are to create a workforce at all levels in the institution that reflects the complex diversity that is California." Photos by Susan Merrell and Christine Jegan Related Links: UCSF Begins to Implement Campuswide Strategic Plan
UCSF Today, October 19, 2007 UCSF Launches 10-Point Initiative to Promote Diversity
UCSF Today, February 28, 2007