MAR 11, 2021
I am delighted to update you on our progress on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives since my last quarterly report, part of our new DEI mission and goals articulated in the original August 2020 communication. Thank you to the many Pacific students, faculty, staff and leaders who have made these advances possible.
Inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
Our search committee, led by Dean Rae Matsumoto, worked tirelessly on finding and vetting a superb pool of candidates for Pacific’s inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (VPDEI). We hope to make an announcement shortly now that the university community has had the opportunity to spend time with our three excellent finalists and provide feedback. I am indebted to the great work of the search team. When you have a chance, please thank our colleagues who served:
- 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, president, ASuop
- 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 representative
- 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
DEI Leads at Each School and College:
We now have in place a designated DEI leader in each of our schools and colleges: a fantastic mix of some of Pacific’s best and brightest. These leaders will collaborate with faculty, staff and deans to drive DEI initiatives within their schools and will work closely with our new VPDEI on universitywide initiatives. Learn more about our DEI leads and their most recent work.
Black History Month:
Thanks to many of your efforts, we had an extraordinarily rich and rewarding Black History Month (I personally found the evening with two members of the Exonerated 5 particularly powerful). There are so many Pacificans who played a role in last month’s events, but I wanted to give special recognition to our leaders—Black History Month Committee co-chairs Randall Ogans of Pacific Technology and senior Semaj Martin. The committee partnered with many other leaders and organizations around the university, including Alpha Phi Omega, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, ASuop, Black Student Union, Diversity Week Committee, departments of Ethnic Studies and History, Intercultural Student Success, McGeorge JD Admissions, Pacific Alumni Association, Pacific Arts and Lectures Committee, Pacific Technology, University Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (UCDEI) and White Coats 4 Black Lives. Thank you all! You can see some of the Black History Month events at https://calendar.pacific.edu/group/Blackhistorymonth.
The Department of Human Resources, working closely with the UCDEI, has designed and distributed revised performance appraisal instruments to employee supervisors (on the Sacramento and Stockton campuses) that now include DEI assessments. Supervisors can find the new form under the Management Resources page under the Supervisors tab of insidePacific. Meanwhile, Deborah Freeman, director of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity, delivered her second quarterly report to Cabinet on how to measure and improve diversity in the Pacific workforce. The vice presidents also conducted a comprehensive review of each exit interview survey within their department in the past year and reported to the Cabinet.
Board of Regents:
The Pacific Board of Regents’ newly created Committee on Excellence has created a portal to share DEI resources with all regents. The committee also hosted a two-hour DEI training session and conversation with Carlton Brown, former president of Savannah State University and Clark Atlanta University. Dr. Brown leads the Association of Governing Boards’ Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative. Meanwhile, the Committee on Regents, working with Board Chair Norman Allen and me, met to continue to identify potential new Regents from underrepresented groups.
The Academic Council is working on a revised course evaluation instrument to measure DEI principles in classes and plans to work together with the new VPDEI to collaborate on DEI faculty training.
A group of students, faculty and staff, led by Title IX Coordinator Elizabeth Trayner, has nearly completed drafting a potential new university policy prohibiting identity-based harassment, discrimination and retaliation. That draft will be reviewed by the University Policy Advisory Committee. Upon completion of the review, it will be shared with the entire campus community for public comment.
Safety and Security Executive Director Grant Bedford met with the ASuop leadership on new DEI measures by the Department of Public Safety. The Department also has sponsored interactive workshops for employees that include cultural competence on crisis intervention, de-escalation, wellness and the complaint process, and will hold two upcoming community conversations on social justice and DEI within law enforcement.
The Office of Enrollment Management has committed to being a test-optional university for two years while the issue continues to be studied.
The Office of Development reports more than $100,000 has been raised in total for the new Lift Every Voice Endowed Scholarship, led by Board Chair Allen. In addition, new scholarships have been established to increase student diversity, including $346,000 for Asian immigrant undergraduate students, $100,000 for Hispanic students enrolled in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and $50,000 for Hispanic students enrolled in the Eberhardt School of Business or the School of Engineering and Computer Science. SOECS also received $50,000 in new funding to enhance DEI initiatives for the school.
During the first half of spring semester, the Division of Student Life hosted three programs in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Friday Sessions for supporting first-generation students have addressed mental health, the FAFSA and a “First Gen” panel from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Meanwhile, students who identify as members of specific identity communities have received personal phone calls from the Intercultural Student Success staff. By the end of 2020, more than 2,500 students were contacted. The phone calls are continuing this semester.
The University Libraries launched the planned DEI audit of the library and art collections. Student interns have been hired to assist in the analysis. The goal is to analyze 4,000 titles and, thanks to a grant from the UCDEI, purchase $10,000 worth of new titles to start. An update was provided at the annual Assessment Conference last month. The project also will be the subject of a Research Tuesday presentation April 20.
University Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (UCDEI):
In addition to UCDEI members working on many of the projects outlined above, the committee also is working with the University Assessment Committee to develop a rubric to integrate DEI into the curriculum and is working with the General Education Committee to help evaluate and approve courses with DEI requirements. Faculty members from UCDEI and GE will work together on developing an assessment plan and exploring how to expand Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the GE program.
Meanwhile, the UCDEI’s excellent work continues to be amplified on social media channels with the addition of @pacific_dei on Twitter and a new social campaigns (#LetsMoveMonday and #WhatsInaWordWednesday). UCDEI also re-envisioned its social justice series by pivoting to a TEDx Talk-style presentation with small group discussions. And UCDEI leaders Qingwen Dong, Marshea Pratt and Christian Cardona recorded a session for this week’s National Association of Diverse Officers in Higher Education conference, “Promoting DEI—Concepts and Action Through Dialogues: A Case Study of the University of the Pacific.”
I am so proud of our Pacific community and these many efforts to make our university a more inclusive and caring institution and one that becomes a national model for diversity, equity and inclusion. Thank you for all of your tremendous efforts. And stay tuned for our VPDEI announcement!