UC San Diego was awarded two grants totaling $700,000 through the UC Advancing Faculty Diversity (AFD) grant program to improve faculty diversity.
The first grant called “Advancing Diverse Faculty, Curricula and Research through a Cluster Hire at UC San Diego,” will allocate $500,000 to hire 10–12 faculty members who will specialize in researching communities of color and provide mentoring for UC San Diego students.
UCSD stated that these new faculty will be hired in STEM departments such as the Division of Physical Sciences, Jacobs School of Engineering, School of Medicine, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The second grant, “A Holistic Strategy for Academic Success and Retention at UC San Diego” will provide $200,000 to improve retention of underrepresented faculty and provide coaching for faculty and building coalition.
Statistics available on the UC website show that as of April 2020, U.S. employees in the STEM discipline who identify as white represent 56.7% of faculty, while those who identify as Black/African/African American represent 1.0% of faculty at UCSD.
Dr. Frances Contreras, a professor of Education Studies and Associate Vice Chancellor at UCSD’s Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, is a project lead for both initiatives.
“I think that this is really important, and it’s where the future of STEM needs to be headed,” said Contreras.
Dr. Thandeka K. Chapman, a professor of Education Studies and director of the UCSD African American Studies minor program, is also a project leader of the $500,000 grant.
“In addition to increasing faculty diversity in fields where faculty of color are underrepresented, the cluster would advance research on and for communities of color; diversify course offerings affiliated with the African American Studies minor and the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) course requirement; and provide valuable mentoring for UC San Diego students,” says Chapman.
UCSD’s Black Student Union (BSU) had released a list of demands back in June directed to UCSD which described how the school could improve campus life for those underrepresented students. One such demand called for hiring a more diverse faculty and administration. The Triton reached out to the BSU and the National Society of Black Engineers for comment regarding the grants, but none was given.
Vanessa Gaeta-Munoz is a staff writer for The Triton. You can follow her here.