LAUNCH of the DEI Office’s

Thriving in the Academy Initiative

Welcome back to UCSB!! We embrace all members of our richly diverse community. To that end, the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion is pleased to launch our Thriving in the Academy Initiative.

The Thriving in the Academy Initiative embraces the core principles of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion that guide our vision and, more importantly, our actions. These principles serve as pillars for community building and guide how we at UC Santa Barbara build our teams, cultivate our leaders, and create our organizational culture. 

These principles foster an environment where each member is truly empowered to bring their unique differences, points of view, and contributions to the University; where you will experience acceptance, respect, inclusion and the support needed to achieve your full academic and professional potential. We create a space where no one feels the need to edit their identity, much less render it invisible completely. 

This vision is in keeping with that of the University of California mission. The system’s mission is that “Diversity should be integral (my emphasis) to the University’s achievement of excellence.” To do so, we embrace this historic promise “to recognize and nurture merit, talent, and achievement by supporting diversity and equal opportunity in [our] education, services, and administration, as well as research and creative activity.” We must hold ourselves accountable! To that end, our mission includes strengthening historically underrepresented communities both on campus and beyond. With diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice at the forefront of the University of California’s core values, we strive to promote a culture that celebrates these principles and fosters a sense of belonging for ALL members of the UCSB community. 

Thriving in the Academy Initiative

1. Diversity Education Certificate Program: The Program provides the tools to foster inclusion and equity and to support inclusivity in our everyday interactions with students, faculty, and staff. To that end, this program serves to provide a toolkit of actions that are designed to create positive and inclusive climates in our classrooms, departments, and workplaces; to develop equitable and inclusive hiring and admissions practices; and to combat stereotype threats and to counter bias. As a federally designated Asian-American, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic Serving institution, and with nearly 50% of UCSB’s student body consisting of first-generation college students, it is critical for us to work together to create a positive impact on our learning community. It will be immediately available to Faculty and Staff, with a Graduate Student specific path to be announced soon. Undergraduate students will be eligible to earn the certificate in the 2022-2023 academic year.

2. DEI Best Practices Program: Professional Development Workshops that include:

  • Developing a Departmental DEI Strategic Plan
  • Faculty Search Briefings from a DEI-Lens
  • DEI Dialogue & Town Hall Lunches w/ Discussion

3. Diversity Officers Program: Located in all academic units and other service units, the Faculty, Staff, Graduate Student, and Undergraduate Student Diversity Officers are department leaders, advisors, advocates, catalysts for change, and institutional resources focused on infusing a DEI perspective into all programs and activities, tracking progress toward these goals, and communicating progress to an engaged community.  A Diversity Officer is in charge of examining the departmental climate--conditions of learning-- and actively works to remove barriers that hinder faculty success and well-being. Though each department may look a little different, the person usually has knowledge and expertise in promoting equity and inclusion, with the goal of creating an affirmative environment.
They serve as the ambassador, direct contact and liaison between the unit and the VC DEI’s office; and work closely with the Faculty Equity Advisor/ DEI Associate Dean of the College.  The Diversity Officers participate in the Best Practices Program, and assist with the department’s DEI Strategic Planning. Through the DEI Strategic Plan, the Diversity Officers help to develop and implement recruitment and retention strategies that eliminate barriers and build pipelines for historically underrepresented faculty, staff, and students.  The Diversity Officer will reach out and provide support to members in their department from diverse backgrounds, serving as their advocate, and providing them with relevant resources, information, and mentoring. The Diversity Officer also provides important information, resources and linkages with other campus-wide functional areas such as the Title IX Office and the Equal Opportunity & Discrimination Prevention Office.

4. Thriving in the Academy Graduate Student Program (with Graduate Division): The Thriving in the Academy Program builds upon our existing Graduate Scholars Program (GSP) and aims to (1) increase feelings of belonging at UCSB, and (2) increase the institutional knowledge of Latinx and other underrepresented graduate students. Reaching these short-term goals, will undoubtedly lead to the positive outcomes of our long-term goals: (1) decreased attrition, (2) reduction in the time to degree, (3) increased enrollment of Latinx/URM doctoral graduate students, (4) increased professional networks of Latinx/URM graduate students, and (5) increased research collaborations among HSI Latinx/URM faculty and graduate students. According to data from UC Doctoral Persistence and Completion dashboard, our URM and women graduate students complete their doctoral degrees at lower rates than White male students. Data from UC Graduate Student Well-being Survey and the UC-CGS Understanding Ph.D. Career Pathways Survey lead us to conclude that Latinx and URM graduate students experience feelings of discrimination and isolation. This coupled with the fact that many of the students are first generation doctoral students leads us to surmise that building a cohort effect and increasing professional development opportunities will offset the completion gap. Additionally, the Thriving in the Academy initiative is designed to attract Latinx and other URM applicants and increase their application and enrollment rates at UC Santa Barbara.

5./6. Thriving in the Academy Faculty Program and Faculty Ally Program: 
We hope to improve the UCSB campus climate. Programs that support the retention of underrepresented groups include: sustained mentorship, including peer mentorship and mentorship within and outside of one’s department; leadership opportunity programs; participation in support program planning; programs designed to highlight the achievements of underrepresented groups; and, a source to lodge complaints. Wright-Mair’s (2017) Culturally Engaging Campus Environment model demonstrates that eight factors lead to racially minoritized faculty success including 1) institutionalized practices that support their identities; 2) support for their production of knowledge that may push disciplinary boundaries; 3) non-URM mentors who understand how to mentor across differences; 4) institutional leaders who acknowledge and address societal and institutional inequities; 5) inclusive collaboration opportunities; 6) “meaningful relationships with peers [that] provide a sense of belonging and comfort in their setting, while proactive support from leadership [leads] to advancement, either through direct communications about promotions or by being protected from being over-extended in their field” (p. 110); 7) pro-active pre-tenure support; and, 8) broader support including resources and information pertinent to other aspects of their lives. Employing the aforementioned research, our approach is two-pronged. We direct programming towards our URM faculty while also providing diversity education to our non-URM senior and peer mentors.

7. Social Justice Grant: Open to all UCSB senate ladder-rank faculty members, grant proposals must focus on research questions or department/unit-specific projects that tackle the deep and pervasive systemic injustices that are driven by racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, anti-indigeneity, anti-Semitism, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, genderism, and many other exclusionary beliefs as they manifest through daily institutionalized practices. The grant’s aim is to provide seed funding to support proposals that seek to reduce inequalities, and to increase representation and retention. In addition, this grant supports in-depth climate studies to support department/unit policy and climate changes. It could also provide seed funding for research/projects focused on larger systemic injustices.


Faculty Research Grants Policy

Eligible and Ineligible Expenses (chart)

Application Form

Administrative Coordinator: 

Any member of the Academic Senate Santa Barbara Division may apply. Proposals with budgets up to $10,000 will be considered, although higher budgets will be subject to extra scrutiny.

8. Difficult Dialogues: Undoing Microaggressions 2021-2022 Speaker Series:

Professor Derald Sue: October 20, 2021, 12-2:00 p.m. via Zoom: 

Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Education in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College and the School of Social Work, Columbia University.

Professor Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal: January 19, 2021 12-2:00 p.m. via Zoom: 

Kevin Leo Yabut Nadal Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at both John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

Professor Charisse C. Levchak: April 6, 2022 12-2:00 p.m. via Zoom:

Charisse C. Levchak, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Central Connecticut State University. She researches and teaches in the areas of identity-based aggression, race, gender, self-care, liberation, and social justice. Her first book Microaggressions and Modern Racism: Endurance and Evolution (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) explores the causes, manifestations, and consequences of microaggressions, macroaggressions, and modern racism within society. She is also the creator of the podcast Centering Black Women which is devoted to highlighting the research, work, experiences, endeavors, voices, and dreams of Black women and it also advocates for the self-care, joy, and wellness of Black women.

9. California Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Social Science Advancement
With a $796,858 grant from NSF - $332,963 directly to UCSB – Barbara Endemaño Walker, Ph.D., UCSB director of research development and special assistant to the executive vice chancellor, and Belinda Robnett, Ph.D., vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and project co-leads at UC Irvine, California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI), and the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University are working to identify and address barriers to grant proposal development and submissions among roughly 4,500 social sciences faculty across 28 minority-serving public universities in California. The project will strengthen proposal writing among faculty in the UC and CSU systems by testing a variety of proposal writing and collaboration training interventions. It will also investigate other potential barriers such as lack of incentives for research in tenure and promotion, inadequate research support and infrastructure, and biases that may exist among reviewers when evaluating proposals from MSIs. The project will implement and evaluate grant proposal writing webinars, writing groups, and writing retreats; lead train-the-trainer workshops and social science leader seminars; and conduct content analysis of proposal reviewer comments.