Articles, Blog

“Campus Conversations”: V.C. of Equity & Inclusion, Oscar Dubón, Jr.


– My name’s Dan Mogulof from the campus office of
Communications and Public Affairs and welcome to this edition
of Campus Conversations. We’re joined today by Vice
Chancellor Oscar Dubon, the Vice Chancellor for
Equity and Inclusion. I’m gonna read– – That’s better. – Thank you. I’m gonna read a brief bio and then Oscar will have
a few opening comments and then we’ll dive into the questions. Oscar was appointed Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion at U.C.
Berkeley on July 1st, 2017. In that capacity, he
leads campus-wide efforts to broaden the
participation of all members of the campus community in support of the university’s mission
of access and excellence. Working with the university community, Dubon is responsible for implementing programs and services that lead to academic access and
success for students, enable pathways to leadership
and advancement for staff, and provide equity for all. Before his current appointment, Oscar served as the Associate
Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Dean for
Equity and Inclusion in the College of Engineering. In these roles, he guided programs to recruit and retain students from historically underrepresented groups, supporting efforts to achieve
a more diverse faculty and ensuring that the
college fosters and maintains a welcoming and inclusive environment. For those efforts, he received
the 2016 Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional
Excellence and Equity. Dr. Dubon, notice I’m changing from Vice Chancellor to Doctor now, is a professor in the
department of Materials Science and Engineering and Faculty Science at the Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory. He received a B.S. from U.C.L.A. in 1989 and an M.S. and Ph.D. from
Berkeley in ’92 and ’96 and joined our faculty in 2000. And so without further
ado, a few opening comments about where things are
and where you’re headed in your division and then we’ll move on. – All right. Well, thank
you very much, Dan. Thank you very much to all of you to join me here in this conversation. I’m certainly looking
forward to your questions and also being able to share what I’ve learned over
the last couple of years and also where our chancellor
and campus leadership is envisioning the work of E
& I moving forward on campus. Today, a little bit about
our, the E & I Division. We are about 170 strong and we do work across many, many groups
around pre-college engagement, around supporting our
students here for success, working on faculty and
staff diversity issues and also working, in
general, on campus climate. Oftentimes we are, uh, when the word, term
campus climate is used, that’s something that is really connected to our division, but in
reality we are just there to support you all in promoting
a positive campus climate and identifying those
actions that we can take to make sure that the campus
is welcoming and supporting to everyone in our community so that they can be successful, so that you can be successful, so that I can be successful. So it’s really is about feeling
belonging across the board. I do want to say one thing. One of the things that I
really want us to think about is in the conversations that we’ve had a lot around diversity, we are at a point where the university is really redefining
itself, transforming itself in what it wants to be as a
leader in higher education in the 21st century. I know we’re already almost two decades into the 21st century, but we still have a long way to go in understanding how
the future of Berkeley involves the university responding to, being responsive and
informed by the diversity and the rich multiculturalism that exists in California and beyond
to meet our mission of educating future leaders,
future change agents and also to produce research and knowledge that is relevant to all of us. And I think that’s really that journey that Chancellor Christ often talks about. My goal, in particular,
is to really make sure that we are promoting belonging because when we promote belonging, when we can bring our
full authentic selves to every dimension,
every part of the campus, that’s when all our
talents really come to bear on the very, very important issues that we have to deal with. I see this in research. I see this in teaching. I see this in service, as myself as a faculty member. I certainly know that you all value what the importance is
of promoting belonging so that we can all bring our talents to really address the important issues and work in the best
way possible together. – Thanks. So, you know,
it was interesting. Just yesterday, I got
a call from a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education, wanting to know what our response was to what she perceived to be growing opposition, or skepticism, about diversity infrastructure and, in fact, we’ve had inquiries from right-wing media outlets, you know, asking about what they termed the exorbitant sums that we spend on diversity infrastructure and, clearly, there’s some skepticism. When I went to college, there wasn’t a Division
of Equity and Inclusion. What’s the case? What’s changed? Why is that, in your
opinion, a necessary part of a campus administration, of campus services and programs now? – So I’ll say it’s not my opinion. It is a fact that we need
to move into these spaces and it’s not just
something in the academy. It’s really a conversation
that is happening across the nation, across
other, in other countries. When you think about just
using, just the term diversity, how much it’s being used now
more than it was being used even five or six years
ago in our conversation, in our political conversation
but also in industry. So there is a real hunger
and need to understand this idea that we need to
serve more diverse populations. And I’m gonna take it now to specifically say a
place like U.C. Berkeley. You know, the fact is that an
institution like U.C. Berkeley was built by white cis male scholars and leaders and that’s not what the
future of the society looks like in terms of
what higher education needs to serve. We need to be involved in
co-creating a university that embraces the rich
history of the campus in the parts that it has done well, but also co-create,
co-reform and co-transform the institution so that
it is meeting the needs of society as we see now,
not a society that we saw, say, when this campus was first founded. So, it really isn’t about
rejecting a structure, it’s about understanding that
structures need to evolve as we need to understand
what those structure, who those structures are serving. And that is happening
in the tech industry. It’s happening in other parts of society as we become more
multicultural and more diverse. The structures that we have now, they’ve worked so far for society but we’re not the same society we were even a few decades ago, and we need to understand
how can we be as nimble and as responsive and as impactful in our structures, in our systems, to address society today. And I see that as an essential part of not just U.C. Berkeley
but at U.C. Berkeley, we have a special responsibility since people look to us for
leadership in that space. And so it’s not restricted
to just universities. It’s something that I
think is a conversation we’re having across the board and it’s super important, so yes. – So beyond evolving society, to what extent do you also think that the growth of
importance or and profile of the diversity and the
equity inclusion infrastructure is also a response to
changing student needs and interests and expectations of what sort of support
and services and programs they’ll get when they go to college. Has that changed? – It has changed because we’re serving a different society right now. So when you look at who was here, just, all you have to do is
look at the old photos. If I were to come here
and look at the alumni from, say, the 50s, the 40s, the 60s, and you look at who alumni are now, we’re here in Alumni House. It’s a different community
so what we really need to do is not reject all the structures that have built this great university but understand that it is
not necessarily position to serve the society that we need now, the students that we need now, our faculty and staff who are engaging in these existing structures that need to be helped to move forward and so that’s one of the things that I see E & I doing. We are kind of that arm that is helping, not responsible for the change but helping the rest of the
campus affect the change that it needs to have around
making the curriculum relevant, making sure that the needs
of our richly diverse and multicultural students are being met, understanding that faculty leadership and staff leadership matters. We always want to see
ourselves and our leaders and that really inspires
us to do even better. So all of these parts are
parts that E & I is involved in and we are there not to hold
that but to help and support the rest of the campus move
forward in these spaces. – So what do you think
the skepticism is about and why, somehow, diversity’s
become a politicized issue? Is it a matter of racism or it
a matter of different vision of what an institution of higher
education should be about? How do you see that? – I’ll say yes and yes. I think that it doesn’t
have to be an either/or. I think that depending on what areas we’re talking about on campus, on this campus or other campus. It could involve from racism to inertia, you know, especially I think
there’s a special challenge with an institution like U.C. Berkeley, which has been associated for so many years with excellence. So, if you’re an excellent institution, why do you need to change, right? And that’s how we think
about diversity and inclusion being a part of that change process. But the fact is is that
excellence, in my view, has, um, there’s a certain relativeness around what is excellence. So what was excellent 100 years ago is now being defined in a different way in terms of how it is excellent. And I think- – [Dan] Give me an example of that. – I do have an example. I was thinking about this. This comes up pretty often. I’m a big fan of, I’m not a big athlete but I like sports analogies quite a bit and I was thinking about,
for example, basketball. Who is an excellent basketball player? If you had to say, to say before the three-point
line came to exist, if you could shoot a
basketball from mid-court, it was still worth two points and that wasn’t deemed
necessarily as excellent. But now, with the three-point line, that’s a structural change, something that has happened in the game, suddenly, shooting above, beyond, what’s the three-point line? 20, was it 23 feet, or what is it? It’s something like that. Suddenly, that is a metric of excellence. So that’s not anything, that’s
something that has evolved in terms of what is viewed as excellent. We have that type of same
situation, the academy. because when you think about
what our mission is of, you know, our mission
is creating knowledge, on educating our students to become leaders and change agents. In what context are students
going to become change agents? What is relevant knowledge in society now compared to what it was 50 years ago? So, there is a certain, I
would say, temporal context to how we view excellence and how we position
ourselves as an institution and leading the way. – So, I wanna go now to the, in December, that Chancellor Christ sent out a message about the undergraduate diversity project. – [Oscar] That’s right. – Talk to me, talk to us a little bit about the significance of that message. Also about the goal that
has been established to become a Hispanic Serving Institution, I think, in 10 years, right? – [Oscar] In 10 years or less. – 10 years or less, sorry. And the challenges we face to do all that, given that we live in
a state where Prop. 209 is the law of the land. So about those three areas, sort of the significance of that message, the whole HSI subject, and
some of the challenges. – Okay, so as you all
know, there are laws, that the laws of the land
say we do not use race, gender and other identities to hire or admit. So every student who is
coming into the campus has been admitted by their own merit and the review of their application, not based on their
racial identity or gender but based on what they’re
going to contribute, their potential to
contribute, to the campus. The fact is is that we
have more applicants who are amazing than we can
accommodate to the campus and I think that’s where the conversation, part of the challenging conversation is, defining excellence like
I just mentioned before. You know, how are we
defining excellence and merit as opposed to qualification
in an application process? But I just want to reiterate that, regardless of the diversity efforts that we are embarking on, it’s not about changing
or circumventing any law that exists here on campus. So I just want to say that first. I think the professor, uh, Chancellor Christ’s, uh, statements around diversity, I think, really have
reverberated in our communities. I think now our communities are thinking about how will that
really come to fruition. HSI is one of those, HSI meaning Hispanic Serving Institution What does that mean in the
Department of Education? It means that 25% of the
undergraduate students being served here on campus are from
a Latinx background. There are also additional criteria around cost of attendance, and around student, demonstrated student need, that population or the campus overall has for undergraduates. So it’s a little bit more
complicated than just in the city. But I think that’s what
important in this case is to really understand that even if we hold admissions constant, so we’re not changing anything there, we could do a lot to help students to become more attractive or what I’ll say more
compelling candidates by just helping them, for example, not just in preparation
but also helping them to understand the admissions process. Helping understand what it means to write a compelling set of
statements, of four statements. What does it mean to think of Berkeley as a place that is their dream come true to come here, right? The fact is is that Berkeley’s continued to be highly selective. Unless something changes
dramatically, you see why. So it’s not really about
changing that selectivity. We could work in the margins on that but it’s really making sure
that we are reaching out, engaging our high school students and our community college students to consider Berkeley as an opportunity that they just can’t
pass up in applying for because it’s just so
compelling to be here. There’s another side of that, which is what happens here on campus. So, it’s not just about saying, Well, you know, we are a great university. We have, this is an amazing university. Every time I come here, I
think and I talk to students and see what they’re doing, when I see what the faculty does, when I see that spectacular work that staff performs here, this is an amazing place so but sometimes that
narrative doesn’t translate into what students are hearing, what the message is that
we are sending to students to make them interesting and making Cal one of their destinations. So, it can’t be, Oh, we’re so good. You are just going to
apply because we assume you wanna come to a good place. It can’t be that. It has to be, Why do you belong here? What are we doing to
encourage belonging of you with your, in your experience that is going to make, be relevant here? So, if I am a student who does not see other
students like me on campus, that’s a challenge because what’s the message that I’m sending? I’m sending the message
that Berkeley isn’t for you. So that’s why encouraging diversity but also encouraging belonging of all of our diverse
populations here on campus is instrumental to sending the message that Berkeley is a place for everyone. It’s still competitive. It’s still rigorous. We need to meet you where you’re at, not just tell you, Come where we’re at. And that’s part of the work of E & I. So, but it really is that interplay of engaging before students come in but also making sure that students see that this is a place where they belong and that the place that
they should aspire to. It’s like going to the Olympics, you know. We can’t all become Olympic athletes but, you know, we all can
have dreams of, you know. My daughter does gymastics for leisure. Maybe she’s dreaming about
going to the Olympics even though she may, she’s likely never to go to the Olympics. But you can still aspire to that and that aspiration itself is a huge gift that allows you then to go
in and explore yourself, challenge yourself and
realize your potential. – So we’re gonna dive
into some of the questions that have come from the audience. And the first one is equity and inclusion is often, and in
parenthesis, unfairly seen as the campus PC police. I’m assuming that’s political correctness. Can you take a moment to respond to that and talk about your specific
goals for your office? And I think that behind
that is some concern that maybe we talk the talk well, but when it comes to
sort of walking the walk and specific goals and
metrics and all the rest, that maybe there’s a disconnect there. So, if, think about sort
of that broader context. – You’re gonna have to
read the question again – Sure. – Because the part of
(crosstalk) distracting me. – No worries. E & I is often seen as the campus PC police. Can you take a moment to respond to that and talk about your specific
goals for the office? – So this is, E & I is here to
serve the rest of the campus on being able to promote
belonging for everyone. So, we are not the holder of that. We are here to help others. It is the case that sometimes, if it’s a campus climate issue, by the way, we’re going to
have a campus climate survey. It should’ve launched Monday
but we had a little glitch. But we are going to, it’s
launching, do we know? It’s going to be launching very soon and you’ll have two months to fill it out. I really ask and urge you to help us gain information about us
so that we can do better. So, that’s my only, that’s a plug. The My Experience survey,
it’s gonna be coming out. But, I’m going to say one thing around, you know, the word political correctness has its own political implications. I would argue that if
political correctness means, I respect you for you, who you are and I’m going to agree to disagree while not insulting
any part of who you are in your multiple identities, we all hold multiple identities, then I’m for political correctness. What is wrong with having that level civility with each other? And I think to say that
E & I is doing that, I welcome that. I welcome that opportunity for us to find ways to engage with each other for who we are, respect our differences, but understand that we are
coming from different places and we can still have a conversation. To me, that is really at the heart of what I would call, the way I see, what political correctness is. So, now does political correctness mean that I’m going to, I’m
free to attack someone based on some, their identity
that they might hold? Well, you know, free speech means that so long as you’re not in some areas, that you can say things that
are rather heinous, right? And that’s part of the free speech. That’s the price that one pays for having that incredibly
important right. But it doesn’t mean that I
have to endorse that behavior and I think, again, sometimes
PC is couched in that context but I think if we all
want to be productive in collaborating with each other, we have to accept all of who we are and be able to agree to disagree, while understanding that if the fullness of who we bring to the
table of and in ourselves, that really makes a difference of why Berkeley is so special. And so, I’m happy to hold that and I think that my goal is to make sure that I support all of
you in holding that too, of having those conversations, respecting each other for
who you are in your fullness and being able to agree to disagree. – [Dan] And the specific
goals that your office has? – All right, so right now we have a number of specific goals. You know, our goals have
evolved a little bit as we have, as the chancellor has moved
forward with her vision and also with the
strategic planning process. But there is no doubt that
a couple of concrete goals are really to make sure that the work of Equity and Inclusion is
really, that we are connecting and engaging all of
you beyond our division so one of my personal goals
is always to find ways to make sure that while we are promoting an inclusive climate in our spaces, that we are also creating
and supporting you in creating inclusive
climates in your spaces because it can’t be that we’re okay here in most of our spaces and there are challenges over here. So that connectivity across
campus is really important. I specifically see that
to be really important in the academic units. I think the fact is that
we are a faculty-governed institution and so we need to get all of our faculty, or as many as we can,
engaged on the mission of equity and inclusion, on the mission of
co-creating the institution, of producing belonging by
co-creating all together. So, that happens through
having leadership and staff and faculty that reflects who we are. So we have initiatives working there, working with our campus partners. It means that we’re going to work on making sure that we pursue HSI, this increase our population
of Latinx students, but not just for the numbers but for what it reflects
about how making sure that Cal is seen as a
place that is welcoming, not only to Latinx but to others. Right now, you may know that over 50% of California public high
school graduates are Latinx but we are less than 15% of
the undergraduate population. So, what is that about? You know, we are working on
those types of issues as well. Another, other things
that we are working on, of course, are on African-American
initiative, right? Making sure that our community,
African-American community, not just students but
also faculty and staff are also feeling that they belong here, that they feel belonging so that we can benefit from the talent and the richness of that
community in our enterprise. There are issues, we
also work with a number of faculty diversity initiatives that we’re working on
because that is something that we work with the vice
provost for the faculty on moving forward. But I think, ultimately,
the way I want our work is about helping the campus make sure that every member of our community feels valued and supported
for success in their work and that is our students,
our staff and our faculty. And that, to me, goes back
to this issue of belonging, where we want to feel that we can bring our full, authentic selves
to all parts of campus and that means that we
need to be co-creators of the very structures
and policies and practices that are impacting that local environment. And all our programs are really designed to help move that forward, helping the institution
meet our community members where they’re at to the extent that we can rather than always asking everyone to say, This is where we’re at and
you need to come here, change, to those structures that
I talked about initially, those structures that
are initially designed to serve a different
community and population. – So these next two questions,
I think, go to the heart of some concerns people have or a certain degree of dissonance. They hear words about co-creation but what they see around campus stands in contradiction to that. And I’m gonna read both
of the questions here. The words diversity,
tolerance and community are tossed around a lot but the real work actually includes not
just a seat at the table, but true power-sharing. Is the university positioned
to work toward power-sharing even as the chancellor’s
cabinet is overwhelmingly white? The second one, which is related, Do you have advice or suggestions on how to manage the white fragility of department and
institutional leadership? And are there resources
available to support the staff of color who often take on the educational/emotional burden? So again, I think you roll these up into, there’s a pretty a clear picture being painted by these pictures and how do you respond? – I must say that I’ve been on this campus for almost 30 years, it
will be 30 years in August. I came here as a graduate student. I’ve been a faculty member
for almost 20 years. So there are always challenges. I think that’s true of any organization. I feel very fortunate,
to be frank with you, to have the opportunity to
work with the leadership that I work with now. I find allies. I have allies in those
conversations that we talk about, that you’ve mentioned. We need to have allies and we need to have allies
who don’t look like us and I think that when I think of myself as a Latinx faculty member. When I was in grad school, didn’t know really any other
Latinx Engineerings PT students but I found allies and I found ways to understand what it means to, I need to be in community, I need to be in multiple communities. Some communities fulfill
one part of my need as a person, as a human being, as a Latinx person, as a male. There are other communities
that fulfill other types of needs that I have. Those could be intellectual,
around research, around whatever my preferences are and being able to go across
communities is very important because we are not in a place where one community will
address all of our needs. The important part around this is that sometimes it’s not easy to go across from one
community to another. We go from one community
where we feel comfortable. We’re bringing our full, authentic selves. Then we go to another
community where I have to check a part of who I am. You know, I won’t maybe bring my Latinx in a certain space, right? And so navigating through that is really what we’re trying to eventually disrupt so that I can always not worry about what space I’m entering but just being in that
space in that moment. When it comes to leadership,
it’s very similar. I need to, if I am not bringing my full perspective to, say, cabinet, I’m not doing my job. So that’s where I sometimes
get out of my comfort zone and say things that maybe
I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable, or why
do I have to say that? But at the same time, I
know that I have allies in that cabinet and while they may not
look like me exactly, I don’t look like them, but I know we are working together to resolve issues that
will impact the campus and making sure that we’re always there working together on that
is really important. And I think that, frankly,
if I didn’t feel that way, I probably would have not done this job and I had this amazing, I always say, I had this amazing job in
the Hearst Mining Building, where I’m a professor. And so as long as I feel
that I can make change, that I can be in partnership and allyship, I see some of you here, I think that’s what change is about. It’s not always waiting for
that perfect circumstance but it’s sometimes understanding
that you find allyship in places that you don’t
normally would expect and you move forward with that and really then create something that will be in the
benefit of many others. In terms of white fragility, I would say that, um, we are … All of us, whoever, I’m not going to judge
others, what it means. I think the important thing
we always need to understand is, you know, how is this, how is any organization
including U.C. Berkeley, how is it structured around power? And how is it structured around privilege? And those are things that
are not always transparent but they’re always
operating one way or another throughout our organizations. And it is sometimes hard to explain that but it’s certainly something
that we always need to have that conversation and to eventually be able to do what I was mentioning before, which is accept each
others in our wholeness and then agree to disagree. – To move on to a related
subject, but you know we’ve seen particular,
I think, in the context of rising tensions between
the United States and China. The chancellor just put out a message having to do with
unfortunate interactions. We’re also getting a lot of scrutiny from the outside about our relationship with graduate students from that country and faculty and corporate
partnerships and all the rest. In the context of that,
here’s the question. Came from the audience. What is the U.C.’s vision
for supporting and valuing our international student population? Often, international students are left out of equity and inclusion efforts that primarily focus on, I think
it says domestic diversity. International students may also identify as first-generation,
people of color, et cetera, while also facing issues related to nationality, immigration
status and culture. So I think the request here
is just to sort of address efforts, priorities,
values and commitments around that portion of
the campus community. – So, I’ll say that’s actually something that is very important and
relevant to someone in my space because, as you may know,
the field of engineering, the college is actually richly diverse and we have, I have faculty colleagues, I have, you know, my department, I have students who have
been international students. I think that we can never underestimate the important and, I’ll
say, crucial value it is to have that global engagement. And the way I mention it is, the way I think about it
is that when we’re trying to affect change, say, in
either creating knowledge or developing a vision for
what society can be like and should be like when
we have those aspirations, whether it’s a green economy, but also very other social justice issues that Berkeley is, people look to Berkeley, say around disability. You know, we were the
leaders in the disability, disabled students’ revolution that happened decades ago, right? We are known internationally for that. If we don’t engage with a
broader global community, then we are not going to be able to have the type of impact that
others are asking us to have. So I think that’s a really important part. The other important
part is that, you know, is as important as we
become more globalized for our own students to understand what does it mean to engage with students from other countries, not just, what does it mean to engage with students from other states, right? So, just that whole picture around what diversity
really means is essential. Now, there are very specific situations that are happening with China and the U.S. And the fact is that the
national dialogue and climate does come to bear, not just in this space but in other spaces at Berkeley because we are that stage
where many want to come and stake a position. I think, I really
supported Chancellor Christ and Vice Chancellor Katz’ statement that we really, of community is community. It’s everyone and while
it is a fact that we, as a division, are working to support groups, in particular,
that have experienced historically high levels
of marginalization, that is our responsibility. That’s a societal responsibility that is in our societal context. That is really important. It doesn’t mean that when
we have opportunities or when we can have strategies to engage the community more broadly, that we don’t. We do that actually also. But we also have a responsibility to the society that we have
here today with our context. So I’m gonna say, like, this
year is the 400th anniversary when the first ship arrived with Africans who came here
against their will as slaves. That’s this year, 400th anniversary. We have a special and unique obligation to address issues around the
African-American community, around the history and
acknowledge that history. We can say the same with so many, with Native American community. We can talk about the
Chinese Exclusion Act and how we discriminated and perpetrated injustices
to other communities. So our job as a university, a public university in
California, in the U.S., is really to address many of these issues as we’re also trying to serve and also engage a global community. And that happens through
graduate students, it happens through visiting
scholars and others, and they are an essential
part of our campus as well. – So the next one is a seemingly simple but I think it’s a complex question and in some ways goes right to the heart of what you’ve been
talking about and it is, What institutional barriers
do you believe exist that contribute to our
chronic underrepresentation? Reading from the question. – Okay, so chronic underrepresentation, there are different
populations so, for example, I will say right now
one of my major concerns and something that I
think a lot as a leader of the E & I Division is the chronic underrepresentation of faculty and staff leadership. That is a certain challenge. That has to do, what I would say, is around practices in hiring, visions of, that replicate around what we determine to be excellent or most qualified. – [Dan] So I want to stop
you just for a second. – Yeah. – So you would say hiring
practices are an example of an institutional, or
institutionalized, barrier that we currently have? The way we hire people? – Um, yes, I’m gonna say that. It’s not that we’re violating the law but we fall into certain
practices that happens, that I see it in every dimension. So it’s not around, not
going through the process, but it’s understanding how are those search committees formed? Are we using a rubric to identify the most qualified candidate? Or are we using other types of connections that lead to someone rising to the top? – [Dan] You mean, like who they know? – Who they might know, or yes, that’s would be an example. So I don’t think that it’s something that, there’s a, there’s this
idea, say, for example, racism without racists. So we may all embrace not being racist but it still doesn’t mean that racism is not going to exist because the very structures that are there have been leaning to that
type of disparate impact based on race, ethnicity,
gender, what have you. So, when I’m talking about, when I say that we could
do better in hiring, we could be more intentional about how we design our hiring committees, what are our best, our
practices around identifying a rubric that is identifying what are the specific qualifications and only and looking at those and evaluating the candidates for those, as opposed to, Oh, it’s not a good fit. And I’ll say it’s not just around staff. It’s around faculty. Happens all the time, right? So I see that and it’s this
kind of self-reproduction that sometimes happens. So, I think from the faculty and staff, I think that we are
actually, are taking measures and that’s what makes me very excited. I think there’s a real intentionality around understanding this
is how hiring practices need to change. And I’m not saying just around staff but also around faculty and be more intentional about making sure that we’re not falling back
to those comfortable practices that haven’t always been equitable. When it comes to, I would
say, graduate students, I’m gonna punt on the
graduate student piece, um, not because it’s important
because it’s so important that a lot of people are
involved in that process. Every single department, for example, is involved in that process, which is different from
undergraduate admissions. When you think about
undergraduate admissions and you think about, Wow, we have this
demographic in California and we have this demographic on campus. I personally think that our
campus is actually quite diverse but it’s not diverse in
the way that is reflecting what that potential input
is within California. And so what does that mean? That means, actually, if you
start looking at the numbers, there are things, and
I always bring this up, many of you may not know that when you look at,
say, number of applicants for our freshman admissions, um, college admissions from California, northern California U.C.s receive around 20,000 fewer
applicants from Californians than southern California U.C.s. So when you look at a U.C. as the U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C.L.A., compare us to U.C. Berkeley,
U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, the delta, the difference is 20,000 so what does that mean, for example, in the Latinx community? It means that we are receiving
8,000 fewer applications from Latinx students than, say, U.C.L.A. So we have very similar admissions rate but the pool looks different. We are not yielding in
some of these populations in the same way we need to. Why? Because we have a different narrative than maybe U.C.L.A. might have, even though, again, that
admissions bottleneck is very similar. So, I think that’s what,
partly what Chancellor Christ is mandating that we
do in these work group, which is really understanding, What are we doing to really
understand that landscape? And then be very tactical
about how we’re going about in achieving our goals. We’re not changing admissions in terms of what has been
dictated by the academic senate. We’re not using race. We’re not using gender
to impact admission. All we’re doing is we’re
reaching out and saying, Take a look at Berkeley. That’s what we need to do. And then on the other
side, we need to say, This is how it would look
like for you to be here and let us connect you with
students and communities that you might have a connection with so you can see what it means for you to be here on this campus, and that be a positive experience. And that’s what we need to do as in E & I but also in the campus at large. – So before we go on, I
just want to note our, the campus Human Resources
lead, Jo Mackness, was just here and had to leave but she shot me a look and I’m pretty sure I understood what that look was, and that meant was to remind everybody that the chancellor is going
to be sending out a message in the next couple of weeks, parallel to the undergraduate
and faculty messages about campus plans and initiatives around staff diversity. – Yes, which I’m very
excited about, by the way. I think there are just
a lot of things going on and then there will be
one following up that, about graduate students. So the chancellor’s going step-by-step through the different constituencies. They are all important. There’s a lot of exciting work happening. There’s a lot of heavy lifting. Some of you all can see that. I know that change
sometimes doesn’t happen at the time scale that we want it to but we need to always be consistent so that we make sure that
the change does happen. I’ll say it, I have a
daughter here at Cal now and I want this university to be as good as possible for her. And so, you know, I think
about it through that lens as a parent now. I think about it as an alum. I know there’s a lot of heavy lifting but things have changed. So, for example, when I mentioned that when I was a grad student, I didn’t know any other Latinx
engineering grad students. I knew other social science grad students but not engineering grad students. Now, there’s a group that has membership of around, I think it’s like,
40 or 50 Latinx grad students and those are just the ones
who are active in the group. So things are changing. They’re not changing at
the rate that I would like. I think they’re not changing at the rate that most of us would like
but change is happening and we need to be
consistent and persistent. – So I wanna drill down to one area based on another question
that was submitted here and it’s about faculty diversity. – [Oscar] Yes – Um, and again, a question
that’s looking for specifics. What does success look like
10 to 15 years from now in terms of faculty diversity? And number two is, Which or what institutions
do you personally emulate in terms of faculty diversity? And I assume that means, you know, Is there an institution out there that we should maybe model ourselves after because they’ve figured
out how to do this? – Um, I’ll say that, in my view, I’ll start with the latter. I can’t say that I can name an institution that is just hitting
it out of the ballpark in this space. As I mentioned around hiring, there’s a lot of self-replication happens a lot in hiring. I think we’ve moved a
long way in recent years around hiring faculty and understanding that
excellence isn’t just from my own personal lens
but it looks different, it can look different and
trying to understand that. I think we have a lot of allies now that are really, you know,
sometimes intentions are there but the allyship doesn’t happen because it’s not knowing how
to go about being an ally. But I think that we are moving forward in that space. I think the work that happens in the Office for Faculty
Equity and Welfare with Angie Stacy, Associate Vice Provost, is pretty phenomenal right now. It’s data driven but
it’s also very practical around what are the types of practices that we need to do to
transform the institution? We are here for a long-time faculty so that, we are 1500 faculty. We hire on the order
of 50 faculty per year. You know, right this year we’re actually moving forward to hiring
a little bit more. You know, trying to get around 75 to 80 but when you think about it, it’s a very small share of the total. So how do you affect change? So my goal, to be honest with you, is not, I think it’s important
to have a diverse faculty but it’s also important to make sure that the faculty members who are hired hold the principles of
belonging, of equity inclusion as valuable parts of how they
see their work to impact. Not just in the intellectual side but also in how they
serve and how they teach. So in my ideal world
of yes, let’s continue with this vision towards diversity and diversifying the faculty, but really let’s think
about what it means for us to support our faculty
members, to perform, to having a pedagogy
that’s more inclusive, to help our students to
be more collaborative across differences, to have curriculum that not only speaks to one group but it speaks broadly to the rich diversity of the campus. You know, I personally
think there’s certain areas where that happens. You know, I think Ethnic Studies is one where that happens. But it can’t be just left to certain units to carry that identity piece. We all need to find a way of, how are we connecting with
the future generations of change agents, of
innovators, of entrepreneurs, of community activists? And it can’t be just
with the same old thing. It’s really creating that,
teaching that content that is relevant to their lives and that’s part of what
it means for the campus to meet them where they’re at. So, it’s all of these other pieces. It’s having bonafide
processes that lead to hiring that is not biased in ways that
they have been historically. You know, so it’s not just about how the faculty itself looks, but it’s also about
what are our practices, how we’re pursuing our teaching, how are we developing curriculum, how are we exploring different
areas of intellectual pursuit and have those areas be valued? So it’s all of these broader things that, of course, helps
when it’s a diverse faculty but it doesn’t have to be that way because there are, you know … people of color don’t hold it all. And certainly faculty of
color can’t hold all of that because that is a really
unreasonable burden as well. We have about 150 faculty, I’ll say, who are African-American,
Latinx and Native American, and the Native American
number is extremely small. We have a new initiative
that we’ve launched and those searches will happen next year, around to diversify what I would say Native American thought
and Native American service to the Native American community so those, that combine. And we will have other
types of initiatives, cluster hires that will
happen in subsequent years. – So I mean, sounds like
the measures of success are to some degree numericals,
some degree process, some degree policy, some
degree just a feeling that people have of
belonging and representation. Is that right? – Yes, I’d say that’s true but we can’t measure progress by factors that we can’t measure. Progress needs to be
measured by measurables so we need to find ways
to measure belonging. It may not be just a survey but it could be other areas around, Are we closing equity gaps? How are those equity gaps
associated with belonging? So, it really is not
just about the numbers but it really is making sure that if we have measures for success, that for impact, that those
actually are measurable. So we can’t just say, Oh, we did a good job. We see this anecdote of x, y and z. It really has to be measuring
success with measurables, not just, uh, say, Oh, we’ve moved forward. – Got it. Another question, again, addressing a different
part of our community. The questions are amazing and the extent to which you really, I’d say
we get a feel of our challenges but also of what this campus is made of. It goes as so: So often,
queer and transgender folks must choose between
being stealth, not out, at work, in class or explaining their
existence to professors, other students and staff. Are there specific actions
Cal is taking to educate all parts of our community about the unique needs and experiences of the transgender community? How can we shift the onus of educating from marginalized trans folks to cis folks who don’t have to deal with
transphobia on a daily basis? – Thank you for that question. I think that is really a
truly important question. There is a body represented
by faculty, staff and students that does advise the chancellor
around these matters. But what I’ll say is action does, we need to demonstrate
action in this space. Of course, the Gender
Equity Center is an area that really helps our students but it’s not just about students. It’s about the entire community. One of the things that
I’m extremely pleased about is that as we, I think everything has to start from the top. So one of the actions
that is going to take is that the cabinet is going to have, I would say, a guided conversation. I don’t want to say training. That’s not what it is. But gonna have a guided conversation around transgender awareness. What does it mean? Why do pronouns matter? The whole issue of what the
climate and experience is and that’s something that
we were supposed to have a little earlier but due to
some unforeseen circumstances around someone not being able, someone got sick and we couldn’t do it. But that’s something
that we are rescheduling and that’s something, to
me, is very important. Because the first thing
we need to do as leaders is acknowledge that we don’t always have that cultural competency and
so that is a very first thing and I encounter that on a daily basis. I don’t have the cultural competency to engage many communities
and what I’m trying to do, I have tried to do over
the last couple years is just learn, learn to be
more culturally competent but I do think that in
this specific space, it is important. We are moving forward with
also the implementation of S.B. 179, which is gonna add the box X to all of our forms and applications, around not just having male/female. I think that when you look
at the My Experience survey, you’ll find that we really
have tried to identify to the best we can, you know, being inclusive in how
we are supporting you in identifying yourselves because I think that
it’s important to know who we are serving and what that experience
is for individuals. So I think we’re slowly
working in that space. I think that’s part of what it means for the faculty diversity and
the campus to move forward. If, as faculty, we don’t hold it, the campus doesn’t move forward and I think, ultimately, it’s important for not our leaders, also our
faculty members to hold that so that the rest of the campus models and sometimes we don’t do
that well enough as faculty and I think that’s something that I always think about a lot, myself, as part of that community. – Think we only have time
for one more question, maybe two, but, you know,
you talked a little bit about different criteria, different hiring practices
that might include, and I think the chancellor’s
message included it as well, that the hiring practice for faculty might include statements
about their accomplishments, their commitment around diversity issues. So, this question: Diversity
statements are nows becoming the norm or required for faculty across the
U.C. for employment. What can be expected for staff in terms of producing such statements, or being asked to produce such statements, in terms of the hiring practice? And if that’s under consideration, perhaps just share your
thoughts or opinion about that idea. – So I am, as you all may know, H.R. is not my portfolio
so I’m not going to, I don’t wanna speak on
behalf of Human Resources and hiring practices. Certainly, I always work,
I do work with Jo Mackness and with Vice Chancellor Marc Fisher, to whom Jo reports, and, uh, working on these issues. These issues are important. I’m still, I go myself,
I’ll be very frank with you, I just go back and forth around this. I recently filled out my own merit review, not as a staff member in my role, but as a faculty member in my role. And, you know, there’s this
part where faculty members can write quote, unquote,
contributions to diversity. And this year, I decided not to do that. I decided to say where
my work in that space, not related to my staff position
but as a faculty member, how it connected to my service statement, or my teaching statement. To make it part of, I felt this time, that it’s important to make it part of what
is normally expected as opposed to having it as this add-on. So, I’m going back and forth right now but that’s something that
I’ve thought about more because I want that work
in diversity and inclusion to be valued in my service, to be valued in my teaching, and not seen as an add-on. I don’t know how that would
translate into hiring practices. I do think that there’s
nothing wrong with expecting individuals right here to uphold our principles of community. You know, I think that’s,
there’s nothing wrong with that and I think that what a lot
of these statements are about, upholding our principles of community, agreeing to disagree. I don’t know how that gets operationalized because I, even myself as I mentioned, in my own process around faculty, my own thought around as a faculty member what it looks like, I’m still going back and forth about that. But I do think it’s important
to be able to call out that that work is valued because that hasn’t always been the case. It’s always been as, Well, that doesn’t really
count towards service. That doesn’t really
count towards teaching. So I think that’s where
part of the conversation is. – So unfortunately, we have
to wrap up but I’ve a feeling we could go on for quite a while. I just note we’ve been doing
this for a year and a half and never have we received
this amount of questions. I’ve tried to pull questions to reflect the various communities and populations that are interested. I’m gonna ask, Oscar, if your office, if we could work together and perhaps provide online questions, answers to the questions that- – Love to do that. – That weren’t answered. Where would people see
those questions, LaDawn? – [Female Off-Camera] So we’ll
get ’em typed up and we’ll send ’em to
– Perfect. – [LaDawn] office and we’ll put it on the Campus Conversations website. – We’ll put it on the Campus
Conversations website. Give us a couple of weeks for that but you clearly sit in a really hot seat with, if you’ll pardon the expression, a really diverse range of issues
that you have to deal with. So I just really want to thank
you on behalf of everyone for exceptional grace and
generosity in your answers today. (applause) Do you want to say anything?
– Thank you very much. Want to say? – Yeah, I just want to say, I just want to say Dan,
thank you very much. I’ve had, I’ve really
enjoyed getting to know you over the last two years, for better or for worse. (laughing) You can put that, but also,
so thank you very much, Dan. He provides actually a lot
of important guidance for me when I just– – Now you’re really scaring them. – To wrap my mind around things. But I’d also like to thank you. It is my privilege to
serve you in this role. It’s not my right and I
know that it’s a opportunity that I don’t take for granted and I do want to do the
best I can in my ability to serve you in seeing
that this is your campus and this is where you want to be and that you feel that you belong and that you have access and
support to be successful. So, thank you so much. – Super. (applause)

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