Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.50
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of California, Merced
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.92 / 3.00 Guillermo Ortiz
Sustainability and Diversity Educational Program Manager
Sustainability Department
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access and treatment in University programs and activities.

Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination:
UC Merced is committed to providing a workplace free of discrimination and harassment. Complaints of discrimination or harassment are addressed by the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD). For more information, visit http://dsvp.ucmerced.edu/discrimination-help

Related Policies and Guidelines
• Discrimination, Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace (http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/NondiscrimAffirmAct)
• Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy Statement for University of California Publications Regarding Employment Practices (http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/tools-and-services/administrators/docs/nondiscrimination-policy-statement-publications-may-2014.pdf)
• University of California Guidelines for Academic and Staff Affirmative Action Compliance Programs for Minorities and Women, Individuals with Disabilities and Covered Veterans (http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000378/GdlnsAACompliPgrms)

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

UC Merced’s Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination offers campus community members resources to identify and address discrimination as well as a process to formally submit complaints. Our website captures:

“It is the policy of the University not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person employed or seeking employment with the University of California on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.

This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, merit increase, salary, training and development, demotion, and separation. This policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable state and federal laws and University policies.”

The Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form can be used to file a complaint on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.

There are several teams on campus who respond to incidents involving students, staff and faculty. The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) provides response and support to employees in distress. The Student Response Team is a cross-functional team that assesses, refers, and/or responds to students’ concerns to help them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.

Students who are victims of, or witnesses to bias/hate related or discriminatory acts/incidents may receive support via the Counseling and Psychological Services office. Staff and Faculty may use the Employee Assistance Program for support. All community members may also seek support services through the Campus Advocacy Resources and Education (CARE) office for incidents involving sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking, and the University Ombuds office to find out about reporting options and impacts.

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs designed specifically to recruit non-academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

Currently, UC Merced is a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPISI)-eligible Serving Institution. In 2021, the Office of Admissions has developed intentional identity-based programing to recruit both first time freshmen and transfer students while also delivering targeted services to promote enrollment.

Under the leadership of Chancellor Muñoz, in 2021, Staff Assembly has received a $1 million dollar investment to support recruitment and retention efforts while proactively addressing campus experiences. In Fall 2021, they began their planning efforts, including engaging with the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Human Resources as the university strategic plans signal the expectation to improve the experiences of staff from underrepresented groups. Additionally, the University intends to launch its Staff Equity Advisor program to support equitable hiring practices.

As a young HSI, UC Merced has already attained structural wins vital to achieving our goals of having faculty, staff, and administrators reflect our students. Our strategy is founded on interdepartmental collaborations and learning. Building upon Academic Personnel Office’s (APO) equity-centered search committee toolkit, intensified review of compositional and campus climate data has informed the creation of the Faculty Equity Advisor (FEA) program, where faculty searches are guided by FEAs skilled in minimizing inequities in the search process. Movement within the schools include the School of Natural Science’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) strategic plan with goal #1 to “interweave diversity and justice into all academic and personnel functions.” Efforts within academic affairs has launched a parallel process for staff. UC Merced instituted its first Administrative Equity Advisor engaged in 5 unique senior administrator searches during 2020.

These leadership-backed efforts reflect the growing institutionalization of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at UC Merced. Examples include: Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz’s strong advocacy for access, equity, and diversity in higher education, EVC/Provost Gregg Camfield, who supported the expansion of Advancing Faculty Diversity-funded initiatives (AFD), and Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, Teenie Matlock, who served as Co-PI on prior AFD grants and as a member of the system-wide Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion committee. The steady increase in faculty of color over the past few years and the anticipated increase in the next few years reflect the support from the highest levels of leadership at UC Merced.

In 2021, UC Merced began planning efforts to support the recruitment and retention of staff and color in order to create the Staff Equity Advisors Program. Additionally, since 2020, the Staff and Faculty of Color Association have received funding from the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to help meet needs around professional goals, connection, and institutional support. Staff Assembly’s incoming efforts to improve the experiences of staff will overlap with inclusive excellence goals and will focus proactively addressing staff climate. Because UC Merced is an MSI, the focus is moving towards intentionality and effectiveness to ensure graduates receive a high quality, exceptional, world class education. Consequently, increasing faculty representation to be more reflective of the state of California is a critical goal captured in UC Merced’s 2021 strategic plan.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs designed specifically to support academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support non-academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

Affinity, Interest, and Identity Spaces

UC Merced strives to be an institution where all faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders feel welcomed, included, and supported. From the Diversity Collective composed of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committees to student living and learning communities, the following spaces allow our community to forge connections and carry out conversations that address professional, personal, and community needs. As UC Merced grows and additional spaces are created, these groups become vital resources to ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging and agency.

Chancellor’s Advisory Committees
• Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion
• Status of Women
• Queer Issues
Affinity Groups
• Staff and Faculty of Color Association
• UC Merced Black Alliance
• Language Accessibility Committee
Faculty Interest Groups
• LGBTQ+ Faculty Group
• Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Faculty
• Women in Stem
• Faculty Women of Color Association
Graduate Cultural Spaces
• Afrikan Black Student Assocation
• Graduate Students of Color Coalition
• Latinx Graduate Student Association
• Merced Indian Graduate Student Association
• UC Merced Black Graduate Scholar Association
• Women’s Graduate Student Association
• National Society of Black Engineers
Undergraduate Identity and Cultural Spaces
• AFRO Hall, Fiat Lux, and Pride Living and Learning Communities
• African American and Undocumented Student Lounge
• Pan Afrikan Council
• Over 200 registered clubs and organizations

Starting in 2019, the Inclusive Excellence Workgroup served as an interdisciplinary group composed of faculty representatives from all three schools, students, and staff who have worked to elevate diversity in general education and assessment. This vision is guided by our unique student body’s needs and focuses on moving inclusive excellence from words into action. Through radical listening, reflection and analysis, the development of strategies and methods for infusing the university’s General Education curriculum with greater emphasis on diversity, inclusion and equity as excellence.

Efforts include:
• Diversifying the Syllabus
• UC Merced Common Read
• Measures for Inclusive Excellence
• Strengthening the diversity resources available to the campus community with support of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
• Faculty development informed by knowledge gained at the Institute on General Education and Assessment

As the Inclusive Excellence workgroup enters Fall 2021 and beyond, priorities will include moving recommendations on general education while centering inclusive excellence as a decision-making compass.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC)
For 15 years, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center has fostered access to faculty-mentored research opportunities for students from all academic disciplines to support and prepare them for graduate studies and future careers. In 2021, eight different programs supported students during the 9-week long UROC Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) with a total of 114 students participating. All programs are designed to provide services and programming highly responsive to the needs of first-generation and underrepresented groups and equip students with stipends to help them focus on their academic training.

Reflecting on Anti-Racist Pedagogy (ROAR) and Equity Advancing Showcase on Education (EASE)
As the culminating event of ROAR, a year-long multidisciplinary learning community, EASE elevated how faculty can support equity, diversity, and inclusion in their teaching. Topics included decolonizing pedagogy and effective teaching strategies that facilitate transformative learning for our diverse student population. These sessions highlighted how anti-racist teaching and anti-racist pedagogy work in tandem. Student voices and their experiences reaffirmed that regardless of discipline, anti-racist pedagogy is vital for every single student’s success.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

As a proud MSI, UC Merced has committed significant resources and efforts to boost its capacity to diversify the professoriate. With support from the Mellon Foundation, National Science Foundation, and University of California Office of the President, UC Merced has committed to creating innovative experiences to grow the pool of underrepresented and brilliant ladder-rank faculty.

Initiatives and programs include:
• Adelante Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI): Preparing Future Faculty Bootcamp;
• NSF HSI AGEP Alliance;
• NSF Computing Alliance of HSIs (CAHSI);
• NIH G-RISE Program (I-BioSTeP);
• Competitive Summer Edge Program;
• NSF Innovations in Graduate Education;
• Undergraduate Research in the Humanities (UROC-H);
• UC HSI Doctoral Diversity Initiative;
• GradExcel Peer Mentorship Program;
• Graduate Dean’sAdvisory Council on Diversity;
• UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program; and
• Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and many more.

In 2021, the new Chancellor’s Fellowship for Inclusive Excellence will be awarded to four incoming doctoral scholars. “We established this predoctoral fellowship to recruit the highest-caliber graduate student applicants who will contribute to the diversity and inclusiveness of our academic community, especially in terms of the research and education of Black scholars,” Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said. Learn more here: https://news.ucmerced.edu/news/2021/incoming-grad-students-awarded-inaugural-inclusive-excellence-fellowship

Led by Dr. Zulema Valdez, Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty, and funded by the Mellon Foundation, the Pathways to a Diverse Faculty project seeks to enhance faculty diversity by creating pathways to the professoriate. This includes establishing strong networks and a sense of community to attract new underrepresented minority (URM) faculty and retain them as they build their research and teaching portfolios in preparation for tenure and promotion. Anticipated outcomes include: (1) increased recruitment and retention of graduate students of color; (2) enhanced recruitment of URM faculty by creating a robust community of URM scholars on campus; (3) grant-writing, teaching, and mentoring components that ensure the success of our early career faculty; and (4) publication of a report and journal articles based on our study of the hidden labor of faculty of color and others who are strongly committed to diversity, and potential means of repaying their lost research time.

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Information on our living learning communities, including gender-inclusive options can be found here: https://housing.ucmerced.edu/llc

Additionally, student centered programming can be found here: https://studentaffairs.ucmerced.edu/

The 2021-2022 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Annual Report captures different initiatives, events, programs, and affinity groups targeting underrepresented faculty, staff, and students:

https://diversity.ucmerced.edu/sites/diversity.ucmerced.edu/files/documents/ay20-21_edi_annual_report_final_20210810-web.pdf .

These efforts seek to increase staff and faculty representation of underrepresented groups, tackle racism and how it can show up in both the curriculum and institutionally, create healing and community connection spaces given the impact of the 2020 global pandemic, and promote student pathway programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Collectively, they have set the foundation to UC Merced’s goal of becoming an inclusively excellent research institution.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.