The mission of the Biological Sciences Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is to:
Improve compositional diversity among faculty, staff and students in the School through enhanced hiring, retention, and professional development.
Create an inclusive community and climate that supports the growth and success of every School citizen with a focus on health and wellness first.
Develop strategies to remove embedded inequities from mindsets, values and practices, and encourage the adoption of broader perspectives on judgments of faculty and student achievement and academic merit.
Examine and improve institutional policies and practices for ensuring equity across all stakeholder groups in the School.
Work with the campus partners to frequently assess needs, create inclusive spaces for sharing and reflection, and commit to action to fulfill those needs.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have a long history in the School of Biological Sciences. For over two decades, Bio Sci’s Minority Science Programs (MSP) has been the top program in the nation for training students from historically underrepresented groups for research careers in biomedical science. The program has secured over $40M in federal grant funding and trained close to 2,000 students over the last 20 years.
In 2001, UCI became one of 10 universities nationwide to receive a NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation award to recruit, retain and advance women faculty in STEM fields. Through ADVANCE, the campus implemented the Equity Advisor Model (EQM), with Biological Sciences as one of the key schools involved. Equity Advisors participate in faculty recruiting by approving search strategies and raising awareness of Best Practices. Additionally, they organize faculty development programs and address individual issues raised by women and underrepresented minority faculty.
Biological Sciences also has been a long-time participant in the Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE) Program, which seeks to improve inclusive excellence by increasing the participation and retention of women and underrepresented minorities in graduate programs. Most recently, Biological Sciences implemented the Enhanced Academic Success Experience (EASE) which promotes academic success for first year students by providing access to smaller classrooms, guaranteed enrollment and peer coaching.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was created in October 2020 with the appointment of Dr. Michael Yassa as Biological Sciences’ first Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The goal of this new position was to formalize inclusive excellence as a pillar of success in the School and to advise and support the Dean of Biological Sciences, as well as the four Department Chairs on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Office is tasked with developing a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategic plan for the School, supervising the Minority Science Programs (MSP), developing new programs and activities to support the success of faculty, staff and students, developing and strengthening relationships with programs such as the Enhanced Academic Success Experience (EASE) initiative, BioSci graduate programs, and the campus Office of Inclusive Excellence.