Black lives matter

We are shocked, enraged, and grief-stricken at the continuous stream of anti-Black violence at the hands of those in power. Using language of order and civility to further an agenda of oppression is a betrayal of the principles of justice and equity that are part of democratic society. This racism affects us all, but it is important to acknowledge that these events impact members of our community in different ways.

To succeed as a department, as a field, and as a society, we must recognize our own shortcomings and be open to improve. One area in which improvement is long overdue is the broadening of diversity in the applicant pool for faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. Underrepresentation at all levels unfortunately remains a pervasive problem in our field. The Department of Cognitive Sciences is committed to taking an action-based approach to increase representation and to incorporating feedback from multiple sides.

As members of the UCI community, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are among our core ideals. To further these ideals, the School of Social Sciences—of which the Department of Cognitive Sciences is part—has announced a number of new programs and activities, outlined in Dean Bill Maurer's message below.

These programs are organized through the School's Office of Faculty Development and Diversity that target sustainable and sustained change and a culture of inclusion. The department of Cognitive Sciences participates in these programs.

Statement by Dean Maurer

Dear all,

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Ahmaud Arbery are but the most recent in a centuries-long line of tragedies, visible and hidden, underscoring the deep history of anti-Black racism and violence. Challenging this sedimented legacy requires that we work for the institutionalization of the commitments we say we hold--not just a one-time burst of activity, but the setting in place of new durable supports and structural changes that will help us all alter our practices to bring about the university that will truly support Black lives.

For the past four years, I've been greeting our incoming first-year and transfer students with a quote from the author N.K. Jemisin: those of us in positions of privilege have to advocate "for those who have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question." We need to use the institutional levers we can move to set the trajectory of this great university toward greater and greater justice.

We will continue to advocate for resources to expand our efforts to enhance the recruitment of faculty from backgrounds underrepresented in the academy. We also recommit ourselves to attract and retain graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds. But we will also take action with resources at our disposal today to begin to create change.

To that end, and to mark #ShutDownAcademia, I am announcing the following initial changes to our own structures and practices. I am hopeful that these steps will generate other ideas, and I look forward to everyone's input. With a combination of school and donor funds, I commit $150,000 to the activities and programs enumerated below.

Several items below require Senate consultation and approval, and I will be consulting with the school's Executive Committee, as well. The associate deans and I will be reaching out in the coming days and weeks to listen, learn, plan, and actualize these and other steps, with you, toward transformation.

I want to thank the assistant and associate deans, and in particular associate dean Belinda Robnett, whose powerful message you may read here. I also thank my colleagues, students, staff and members of our community for all the hard work you have already done to fight anti-Blackness and for pushing me and others to do more.

With gratitude,

Bill Maurer
Dean

School level

Expansion of the Office of the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity:

The school commits to seeking campus approval to hire a full-time program coordinator and additional administrative support for the associate dean to expand and execute the important work of this office. We will also augment the budget for this office. This work includes support for Black student organizations, galas, and activities, depending on yearly requests. It also includes Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues Town Hall Meetings; Addressing Slavery Speaker Series; Thriving in the Academy Graduate Student Program; Thriving in the Academy Faculty Program; Faculty Diversity Ally Program; Excellence Through Diversity Speaker Series; Diversity Education Faculty Certificate Program; Diversity Education Graduate Student Certificate Program; Mentoring Across Differences Series; Diversity in the Classroom Series; and the Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

Support for the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center (TRHT):

This past academic year, through the efforts of Teresa Neighbors, Belinda Robnett and others, UC Irvine was awarded a $20,000 grant from the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to establish on campus a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center. Social sciences will consolidate existing diversity-related outreach and education activities (Global Connect and the Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Healing Ambassadors program) under the TRHT Center. This effort will result in greater coordination as well as assist in attracting additional philanthropic support.

I am pleased to announce that with a generous gift from Larry Kugelman as well as a gift from Tom Boellstorff and myself, we will match the funding provided by the AAC&U in support of the TRHT Center. I invite others to join me in supporting its important work. Those in a position to give can do so here or contact Tracy Arcuri at tarcuri@uci.edu.

Valuing Diversity Work in Academic Personnel Reviews:

The school will draft a statement of our commitment to value the hidden labor of faculty serving our diverse student body and contributing to an inclusive climate, and supporting anti-racism through research, teaching and service. Departments will be expected to use these guidelines when reviewing contributions to diversity in personnel reviews.

Diversity and Equitable Inclusion Awards (junior and senior faculty awards, graduate student award):

While the school has led the campus in recognizing our colleagues' achievements in activities promoting diversity and anti-racism in service, teaching and research, our awards are currently unfunded. We commit to deploying donor funds to properly honor the recipients of these awards.

Research

Research Funding for Pilot Projects:

With the generous support of the Dean's Leadership Society, the school will launch a new small grants program ($15,000 annually) to support faculty and graduate student activities to address systemic racism; police use of force; alternatives to policing; alternatives for economic empowerment; addressing implicit bias; disparities in health, education and housing; and global and critical race scholarship across the disciplines. This effort will be coordinated by the associate dean for research and graduate studies.

Undergraduate Research Funding for Black Lives:

The school will provide funding for undergraduate student research to address racism and anti-Blackness. This initiative will be coordinated by the associate dean for undergraduate studies. We announce $1,000 annually in support of this effort from the school's Board of Councilors, our philanthropic leaders.

Justice and Equity Research Paper Awards:

The school announces a paper award funded to the amount of $1,000 annually from our Board of Councilors for top graduate and undergraduate research paper(s) addressing race, racism, equity, justice, and other related topics. This will be administered by the associate deans for undergraduate studies and research and graduate studies.

Student support

Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP):

For over 20 years, SAEP has been supporting first-gen and underrepresented minority students through an intensive, residential summer academic program. The school will expand and enhance SAEP, and explore other models for its programming and curriculum in order to reach more students, with the aim of at least doubling participation.

Anti-Blackness and Fighting Racism Scholar Program:

The Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, which provides career development and resources for undergraduates seeking internships and applying to graduate and professional school, will launch a new program to host panels, faculty dialogues, and book talks devoted to anti-Blackness and racial justice.

Competitive Edge:

This year the school is supporting 3 additional Competitive Edge graduate students (above the number already admitted) to participate in the Competitive Edge program. The school will at least double this commitment going forward.

Curriculum

Change School Requirements:

The school will work to create a new undergraduate school requirement devoted to cultural competence, empathy, and humility. The requirement will be for all incoming freshmen and transfer students.

Create and Maintain a Curated List of Courses, and Incentivize New Course Development:

The school will create and maintain a curated list of existing classes on race and racism, and will work with chairs to identify curricular gaps and develop a call for proposals to incentivize the creation of new undergraduate and graduate classes and mini-classes addressing systemic racism and inequality. Such incentives will include funded, part-time graduate student support for course development.

Outreach

Associate Deans for Access:

The associate dean for undergraduate studies will enlist her colleagues across campus to conduct outreach at low-income schools with predominantly racial ethnic minority students. The school will support undergraduate student "Access Coaches" to serve as mentees to guide racial ethnic minorities in their college application process. The program will have an ongoing set of activities for students who are accepted to UCI and join our school.

Anti-Racism Resources

Campus Resources and Incident Reporting

Videos and Recorded Discussions