Tackling equity, inclusion, and diversity
“I was happy with my career at Stanford, but the big draw at UC Berkeley is that you have an administration and a faculty in the midst of creating national leadership on this research.”
Rare is the opportunity for an institution of Berkeley’s scale to commit to comprehensive research, teaching, and public service advancing equity and inclusion — and to transforming its own culture — but in 2010 the university did just that.
Thanks to a $16 million investment by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the campus launched the UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity. The sweeping 10-year effort affects and involves every person and area on campus, and places Berkeley as a national leader on this front.
“The single most important skill that a 21st century student must master is ‘intercultural competence,’ which is the ability to navigate successfully among diverse groups in an increasingly globalized society,” said Chancellor Emeritus Robert J. Birgeneau.
The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society — a focal point of the initiative — houses eight endowed faculty chairs tackling discrete areas of diversity-related research. This comprises six chairs supported by the Haas, Jr. Fund, which built on an earlier chair by the Levi Strauss Foundation in honor of Robert D. Haas ’64, and includes a chair by Robert D. and Colleen Haas.
The effort created endowed scholarships for community college transfer students, who disproportionately come from economically disadvantaged communities across the state; 30 new or revised American Cultures courses, part of an undergraduate requirement; and a host of resources, grants, and tools for students, faculty, and staff.