Dear E&I Colleagues,
Over the past two years that I have been the Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, I have repeatedly been inspired by the remarkable work that is taking place across campus to create a university where everyone belongs. This division is an engine for progress in both leading and supporting this critical work, and each day, I witness first-hand the deep commitment of our staff. At the same time, I also see opportunities for us to grow our impact by better understanding the relationship between the division and its structures with our campus-wide vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
To this end, we have decided to conduct an independent assessment of the division’s infrastructure to address, improve, and create an equitable campus experience for all. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners will be invited to provide constructive feedback and recommendations on how the division can advance diversity, access, equity, and inclusion efforts on campus. This will be done through a series of campus listening sessions, one-on-one interviews, and data collected through a confidential online survey. The goal of this process is to accelerate our work with the help of recommendations and strategies that emerge.
We have obtained the services of Dr. Damon A. Williams and his team of researchers affiliated with the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation in Atlanta, GA. Over the next six months, beginning July 31, 2019, in partnership with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, Dr. Williams and his team will host a series of campus visits to conduct themed listening sessions designed to better understand the lived experience of diverse students, faculty, and staff. These sessions will be undertaken formally beginning in September 2019, and the campus community will be invited to participate. We will share the schedule of events in the coming weeks and months.
Dr. Damon A. Williams is the author of the books Strategic Diversity Leadership and The Chief Diversity Officer and one of the original architects of the Inclusive Excellence concept in American Higher Education. He also serves as Senior Scholar and Innovation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was the founding Vice Provost and Chief Officer for the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement. To ensure everyone’s voice is included, the research team will also administer a brief online open-ended survey for those who are unable to attend one of the listening sessions. An invitation to take the survey will be forthcoming. Please note that the data and information collected throughout this process will remain confidential and will be shared only with Dr. Williams and his research team.
We understand that the beginning of the academic year is a busy time. We appreciate your willingness to participate in the upcoming listening sessions and offering your support to the assessment process in general. Your transparency and partnership will allow us to understand better where we are on these critical issues and position us to take essential steps now and in the future to improve the experience of all students, staff, and faculty at UC Berkeley.
It is our goal to share the recommendations collected from this process available for the campus by December 2019.
Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion