November 30, 2020

Dear Pacificans,

Three months ago, I outlined a series of first steps to improve social justice and diversity at Pacific in an effort to make our university a model antiracist institution and a national leader on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. I am delighted to report that our colleagues have made outstanding progress on those initiatives. The following is the first quarterly report outlining progress on each.

Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We created and charged the national search committee that will be seeking Pacific’s inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (VPDEI), a new Cabinet-level position reporting directly to the President. Rae Matsumoto, dean of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, is chairing the committee. The other members are, in alphabetical order:

  • Elisa Anders, Associate Provost
  • Rhonda Bryant, Associate Vice President for Student Well-Being / Dean of Students
  • Martin Camps, Professor, College of the Pacific
  • Glena Carroll, ’77, Amplify Voices, Alumni Representative
  • Aquila Galgon, Executive Director, Financial Aid
  • Laura Hallberg, Assistant Dean, Assistant Professor, Benerd College
  • Randi Holguin, Student, ASuop President
  • Michael Hunter Schwartz, Dean, McGeorge School of Law
  • Sacha Joseph-Mathews, Associate Professor, Eberhardt School of Business
  • JuEun Lee, Associate Professor, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Semaj Martin, Student
  • Nader Nadershahi, Dean, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
  • Leonard Perry, Associate Head Coach, Men’s Basketball
  • Deadrin Peyton, Administrative Assistant, Department of Psychology
  • Madhu Sundarrajan, Assistant Professor, School of Health Sciences

The search committee has met several times and will be distributing the position description shortly. We will ask you to use your networks to help the search committee develop a great pool of candidates. This position will start July 1, 2021 with a candidate named by March.

School-Level DEI Leads: We set a goal of all Pacific schools and colleges to have their own school-level DEI leaders, joining the Dugoni School of Dentistry, McGeorge School of Law and the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Here are the newly named DEI leads for each school:

  • Assistant Professor Marisella Guerrero | Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
  • Assistant Professor Laura Hallberg | Benerd College
  • Associate Dean and Professor Scott Jensen | College of the Pacific
  • Associate Professor Sacha Joseph-Mathews | Eberhardt School of Business
  • Assistant Professor Gabriella Musacchia | School of Health Sciences
  • Assistant Dean Olivia Nash | Graduate School
  • Associate Professor and Head of Library Research and Learning Services Veronica Wells | University Libraries

They will join the existing diversity leads: Assistant Dean Stan Constantino at the Dugoni School of Dentistry, Diversity Coordinator Patricia Lopez at the School of Engineering and Computer Science and Associate Dean Rachael Salcido at the McGeorge School of Law. An appointment is pending at the Conservatory of Music.

These leaders will be driving DEI initiatives within their schools and working closely with the new VPDEI on universitywide initiatives.

Regents and DEI: The newly formed Regents Committee on Excellence identified diversity issues as a top priority and was charged with exploring how to infuse diversity conversations into each Regents meeting. Meanwhile, Regent Chair Norm Allen charged the Committee on Regents to make diversifying the board a top priority and to identify people of color who could be considered as future Regents.

Mandatory Annual DEI Training for Faculty and Staff: The Academic Council and the Staff Advisory Council were asked to consider whether to recommend mandatory DEI training. Academic Council reported that it was supportive of mandatory training; the Staff Advisory Council is reviewing the request.

New Protections Against Racial Discrimination: Title IX Coordinator Elizabeth Trayner established a working group to create new and clear protections against discrimination and harassment based upon race and other identities. A policy is being drafted and will be shared with the campus community when it is ready for public comment.

Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Faculty and Staff: Deborah Freeman, director of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity, delivered her first quarterly report to Cabinet on Nov. 10, focusing on personnel movement by race, and made recommendations on how to improve diversity in our workforce. The Cabinet also asked to review exit interview surveys and I directed that all exit interview documentation go to both the exiting employee’s direct supervisor and the appropriate vice president or dean for evaluation.

DEI Measures in Annual Evaluations: Human Resources is working with the University Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to create a new section of the annual employee evaluation. The team is working on sample language now and plans to have the new DEI section ready for 2021 evaluations.

Fundraising Scholarship Campaign for Black Students: Vice President of University Development and Alumni Relations Burnie Atterbury reports nearly $200,000 in new gifts to support Black students, including $97,700 raised for the new Lift Every Voice Endowed Scholarship, led by Regent Chair Norm Allen, and $87,500 to establish the Diversity and Inclusion Endowed Scholarship for Black Students.

Elimination of Standardized Tests for Undergraduate Admissions: Vice President for Enrollment Management Chris Ferguson is leading a comprehensive review of future use of the SAT and ACT, which have been found to have cultural and socioeconomic biases. Central to that review is a new holistic application evaluation process that includes more variables to weigh when shaping an incoming class for student success. Pacific already has committed to making the tests optional for new students this past year and the coming year.

University Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (UCDEI): The committee, led by Marshea Pratt, assistant director of alumni clubs and regional programs, and Professor Qingwen Dong, director of the graduate program in communications, played a lead role this semester in creating conversations around social justice and diversity issues through the well-attended weekly “Pacific Together” series. UCDEI sponsored 12 dialogues attended by nearly 800 total viewers addressing social, cultural and structural inequities in society and helped educate, engage and encourage Pacificans to be leaders in the fight for social justice. Additionally, UCDEI organized a “Let’s Talk Tuesdays” social media campaign to complement the DEI dialogues.

University Libraries Diversity Audit: A newly formed committee is working on organizing and developing methodologies and criteria for a DEI audit of the entire University Libraries collection, including printed materials, e-books, databases, special collections, the art collection and Scholarly Commons. Vice Provost and Interim University Librarian Edie Sparks said students will participate in the audit through internships and/or work study opportunities in the spring semester. The library plans to sponsor a series of conversations with students, faculty and staff in fall 2021 to discuss the audit findings and the following semester create DEI-focused guidelines for future library purchases.

Interactive Workshops on Law Enforcement: University Ombuds Hector Escalante, Dr. Carlton Oler of Counseling and Psychological Services and Safety and Security Executive Director Grant Bedford held the first workshops with the Pacific community on Sept. 30 and Oct. 21. More workshops are planned for the spring semester.

New DEI Programming for Students: The Division of Student Life organized dozens of DEI-related programs and events this semester, with an emphasis on financial aid education, health and wellness, study skills, spiritual life, gender equity and student success for Black, Latino, Native American, Asian American, LGBTQ and first-generation college students. Meanwhile, ASuop is analyzing the results of focus groups completed earlier this semester.

I am enormously thankful to the dozens of Pacific faculty, staff and students who have led these efforts to advance social justice and diversity at our university over the past few months. We all should be proud of the progress, but also understand that this is just the beginning as we strive to become a model antiracist university and a national leader on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education.

More to come.


Christopher Callahan