I am so pleased and proud of the hard work that our division is doing to bring equity and inclusion into everyday practice, and with far reach. Today, I am especially honored to work alongside and acknowledge members of our E&I family who have been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award (COSA). I’d like to take a moment to share with you who they are - and highlight the services for which they have earned this high distinction.
Elisa Huerta – Multicultural Community Center
Elisa has helped steward the Multicultural Community Center (MCC) from a little known space at Cal, to a dynamic, accessible, student-led space that has become absolutely critical to the successes of students from low income, first generation, LGBTQ+, persons of color, and other marginalized communities on campus. Under stewardship of Elisa, the MCC is a place where theory meets practice and comes to life, promoting a deeper experiential understanding of material learned in classrooms. Elisa’s impact extends beyond the walls of the center. When students or staff need help navigating the complex structures of UC Berkeley, Elisa is there to make sure they succeed. Multiple students have shared stories of how, when other campus resources failed them, Elisa’s mentorship helped them stay at Berkeley.
Recently, Elisa has initiated programs outside of the day-to-day scope of the MCC including a writing workshop she facilitated for undocumented students that culminated in the anthology “It Was All A DREAM: Writings by Undocumented Youth at UC Berkeley”, and a cross-campus “Student of Color Retreat” where students from isolated pockets at Cal came together to build community.
Sidalia Reel - Staff Diversity Initiative
Sid is a tireless change agent, working to address issues with campus climate and make UC Berkeley a more equitable and inclusive workplace. Sid is recognized for creating the annual NOW conference, which each year gives hundreds of staff a forum to focus on their career growth. Additionally, last year she established and co-facilitated the “Whiteness, Power and Privilege” study groups, where staff gathers monthly to learn more about white identity and its impact on campus and beyond. Recently Sid helped these study groups translate learning into action, crafting a letter of inquiry to UCPD which resulted in study-group members being invited to a swearing-in of officers and leading to conversations around police training initiatives. Sid was invited to serve on a police hiring committee. While police killings of African Americans have been drawing national outrage, Sid and her study groups have opened new communication channels that will bear fruit for a long time to come.
Sid is commended for leveraging limited resources by building collaborative partnerships, recruiting volunteers, and mentoring colleagues. Sid’s efforts have been instrumental in building campus commitment to equity and inclusion and growing the cohort who contribute to this vitally important work. Her leadership is making UC Berkeley a more welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment.
Equity and Inclusion Admissions Advisory Committee (Team Award)
Phenocia Bauerle, Yvette Flores, Miya Hayes, Marsha Jaeger, Daniel Kodmur, Garrett Naiman, Quame Patton, Nikko Roxas, Lisa Walker, Ronald Williams, rita zhang, Susan Pendo and Amy Jarich (Office of Undergraduate Admissions).
The Equity & Inclusion Admissions Advisory Committee was formed so that reading and assessment of student applications is done in a more nuanced, culturally-fluent and equitable way. This is critical work, given the campus’ commitment to recruiting the very best students to Berkeley, and the opportunity gap between affluent students from high-resource schools and communities and low-income, educationally underserved students.
The committee worked tirelessly and effectively under a very tight timeline, as the committee was assembled in the beginning of fall and needed to submit recommendations before the beginning of the Admission reader training in November. The process was a stellar example of partnering across university units, and the work of the committee relied upon and was deeply respectful of the incredible work done in Admissions.
The committee produced a series of implementable recommendations for addressing implicit bias and expanding cultural fluency and equity in the admissions evaluation process, thus supporting the campus in its efforts to admit a highly talented and diverse freshman class.
Recipients will be recognized by Chancellor Nick Dirks on Thursday, April 27th, 2:00-4:00 PM when he and Chancellor-Designate Carol Christ presents the award. You may view the live stream broadcast of the award ceremony.
Please join me in congratulating our E&I 2017 COSA luminaries, and thank them for making us all proud!
With best regards,
Vice Chancellor, Equity and Inclusion