UCR wins grant promoting faculty diversity efforts

Author: Imran Ghori
November 29, 2023

UC Riverside’s Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology department is one of the recipients of the University of California Advancing Faculty Diversity Program awards for the 2023-24 academic year.

The program provides support to increase UC’s faculty diversity efforts. Eight grants, totaling about $2.6 million, were awarded. The Advancing Faculty Diversity program focuses on two priority areas: recruitment and improving the campus climate and retention.

"The Advancing Faculty Diversity Program emphatically demonstrates the University of California’s unwavering commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion across the ten campuses,” said UC Vice Provost Douglas Haynes.

UCR was awarded $499,946 in the recruitment category for a plan to increase hiring and integrate biology and social justice teaching in the department.

The department formed a committee in 2020 to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion with one of its goals to increase faculty diversity to better represent its diverse student population, said Natalie Holt, an assistant professor in the department and the principal investigator for the grant.

“Since then, the department has worked towards this goal by developing and using an evidence-based guide to increase faculty diversity,” Holt said. “The Advancing Faculty Diversity grant is a huge boost towards achieving our goal by allowing us to conduct a cluster-hire of three diversity-invested faculty.”

One new faculty member will start in July 2024 and the other two by July 2025.

In addition to hiring, the grant will provide resources for mentorship of the new faculty members, the development of a “Biology in Society” core curriculum, and a plan for long-term monitoring of department demographics, climate, and student outcomes.

The recruitment process will draw heavily on the UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows Program, which encourages women and minority doctorate recipients to pursue academic careers in the UC system and offers fellowships, professional development, and faculty mentoring.