BUILDING THE CAPACITY to do the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion on the UC Davis campus has been a multi-year, multi-pronged process to assess and understand the opportunities at UC Davis. The importance of this work and a desire to sustain the momentum has led to the appointment of Dr. Renetta Tull as the first UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The Vice Chancellor will oversee a new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (VC-DEI), which will comprise four previously-existing units: Office Campus Community Relations (OCCR); Office of Academic Diversity; the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Davis Campus (UCD-ODI); and UC Davis Health’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (UCDH-OEDI). Affiliated units include the Office for Student and Resident Diversity (OSRD); Faculty Development and Diversity at UC Davis Health (FDD); and the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD).
UC DAVIS IS POSITIONED to be a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion in part because of its identity as a leader in health, teacher education, ethnic studies, agriculture, and engineering, among others. As a land grant research intensive university in the most diverse state in the nation, UC Davis sits at the border of the rural and urban, within wealthy and impoverished communities, and where government and private industry co-exist. UC Davis’s commitment to social mobility is part of its DNA, which is to say that attention to issues of institutional diversity, systemic inclusion, social equity are paramount to maintaining our relevance to our students, patients, employees, and community. The Principles of Community guide efforts to partner with business and community entities to better represent the underserved. Our office is excited to take a leadership role in fulfilling UC Davis’s land grant mandate, most centrally through its Aggie Square initiative.
When our values intersect with opportunity, we have demonstrated our agility and ability to engage broad and disparate coalitions around a singular effort. Our efforts to support Rising Scholars through our Hispanic Serving Institution Initiative is an example. The Rising Scholars framework seeks to re-orient our campus community toward a changing demographic in higher education, represented by a growing proportion of our students. It suggests how the institution might adapt and build on the different assets Rising Scholars bring to the campus, including: multilingualism, connection to family and community, resilience, debt resistance, cultural knowledge, and a drive to succeed in order to improve the lives of those around them.