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Frequently asked questions: the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Questions and answers about the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Q. What will the Haas, Jr. Fund grant accomplish, and what are the main elements of this initiative?
A. The grant will allow UC Berkeley to embark on the Initiative for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The three main components are focused on expanding research and teaching, supporting student scholarships and creating institutional change.

Expanding research and teaching

Five Haas Diversity Chairs, to focus on:
• educational disparities
• health disparities
• diversity and democracy
• economic disparities
• lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equity

Supporting student scholarships

• Undergraduate Scholarships. The scholarships will target community college transfer students at UC Berkeley, with an emphasis on students displaying community and public service leadership.

Creating institutional change

A sweeping array of programs to permanently embed equity, diversity and inclusion in the fabric of UC Berkeley. They include:
• enhanced course offerings in American cultures
• robust applied research and development funds
• innovation grants to seed work in areas that advance equity, diversity and inclusion
• mentoring, career advising, and professional development for faculty
• multicultural education

Q. What does this initiative mean to UC Berkeley?
A. This initiative will help UC Berkeley achieve its goal of becoming a model among institutions of higher education for efforts in equity, diversity and inclusion. It will signal to the nation that UC Berkeley understands and has absorbed equity, diversity and inclusion into its core values and underpins the strength of its convictions with the power of its deeds. By envisioning and implementing institutional change, rooted in qualitative and quantitative analysis, UC Berkeley will improve itself for generations to come and continually strengthen the essence of its public mission.

Q. Why is the Haas, Jr. Fund supporting this initiative?
A. The Haas, Jr. Fund made this grant to support UC Berkeley, in its mission as a public institution, to be a beacon of access and excellence for students of all backgrounds. The fund firmly believes that California’s future depends on programs like UC Berkeley’s Initiative for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This effort will prepare students for a diverse and complex world where intercultural competence is positioned as a cornerstone for building California’s future leaders.

Q. How did the Haas, Jr. Fund become involved with this initiative?
A. The Haas, Jr. Fund provided Chancellor Birgeneau with a grant in 2005 to support early pilots and campus discussions to lay the groundwork for a major diversity initiative. By 2006, two efforts were underway — one to foster an inclusive workplace for staff, the other to support diversity-related research.

The UC system’s first vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, Gibor Basri, was hired at UC Berkeley in 2007, and that same year, the Division of Equity and Inclusion was established on campus.

In January 2008, the Haas, Jr. Fund offered support for the development of a 10-year Strategic Plan for Equity and Inclusion. Now, the Haas, Jr. Fund is making a major commitment to support the ambitious vision outlined in the recently completed strategic plan, available online.

Q. What is the timeline for activities in this effort?
A. The campus’s Strategic Plan for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity lays out a vision for the next 10 years. The plan is ambitious and comprehensive and will be accomplished in stages. Priorities are set over the 10-year time frame, and benchmarks are established toward the achievement of expected outcomes.

In the first two years of this effort:
• Two of the five newly endowed chairs to UC Berkeley faculty will be awarded
• Each unit on campus will develop department-level strategic plans for equity and inclusion
• A robust accountability and data gathering and reporting system will be built
• New courses in American Cultures will be developed

Q. Why is the campus launching a new priority during a time of deep budget cuts?
A. The efforts funded by this gift are not a new priority — they advance the campus commitment first outlined by Chancellor Birgeneau in his 2005 inaugural address. This initiative supports an existing foundation of academic and other programs that promote equity, diversity and inclusion. It seeks to make those efforts more systematic and effective.

The initiative advances UC Berkeley’s academic excellence by extending such groundbreaking programs as American Cultures and by supporting students through scholarships and supporting faculty through endowed chairs.

Q. Is this initiative really needed? Isn’t UC Berkeley already quite diverse?
A. The campus is rightfully proud of the full spectrum of its diversity — encompassing differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, and more — but working to ensure that it is diverse in the future is an ongoing challenge. Beyond that, this initiative is about fulfilling UC Berkeley’s public responsibility to better the lives of all Californians — and to remain a beacon of access and excellence for students of all backgrounds.