Fostering a Climate of Inclusion: A Strategy for Enhancing Faculty Diversity at Berkeley’s School of Public Health

Fostering a Climate of Inclusion: A Strategy for Enhancing Faculty Diversity at Berkeley's School of Public Health, is an innovative project to improve the climate for and retention of faculty from underrepresented ethnic and racial minority groups (URMs), as well as for other under-represented populations such as women, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities in our School of Public Health (SPH). Led by the SPH Senate Faculty Council (FAC), the pilot will be modeled after a successful faculty-led effort to advance gender equity via a FAC standing committee of both male and female professors from all divisions within the School. It also builds on the School’s longstanding commitment to diversity, focusing attention on solving climate issues identified by URM faculty and staff -- cultural sensitivity, unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and structural/ historical inequities.

By institutionalizing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) goals within the existing faculty structure, the School of Public Health will take advantage of a natural gathering point for all 150 faculty members in twelve areas of study, from infectious disease to health policy. Rather than being seen as a marginalized issue to be addressed primarily by underrepresented faculty and students, this project places diversity, equity, and inclusion squarely within the purview of the School’s core faculty governing body. We are adopting the University of California’s tradition of shared-governance and pursuing the concept that all faculty should share in the responsibility for improving climate within our School.

Specifically, funds for the pilot effort are being used to:

  • Conduct research on resources and best practices for nurturing a positive faculty climate;

  • Bring in skilled consultant(s) to conduct interviews, focus groups, relevant trainings to gain insight into barriers and needs regarding equity among underrepresented groups, and to facilitate sensitive and necessary conversations within the faculty and the larger school community;

  • Organize a school-wide speaker series on diversity, equity, and inclusion scholarly research and evidence-based best practices;

  • Provide research fund compensation for School of Publich Health faculty participating on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into curriculum, and developing/implementing strategy;

  • Build a web site for sharing diverity, equity, and inclusion resources and fostering communication.

For questions about this initiative please contact Darlene Francis (darlenefrancis@berkeley.edu).