Be an equity leader! Work proactively to increase equity and inclusivity in your department, and respond constructively if problems arise.


Colloquia and seminars
Work with colloquium and seminar organizers to develop diverse speaker pools, with representatives from all career stages. If your hot shot speakers are typically white men and your speakers from minoritized groups are typically postdocs or non-tenured faculty, address that imbalance.

Advertise colloquium talks given by researchers from minoritized groups to as broad an audience as is appropriate. Ask speakers from minoritized groups if they’d be interested in giving a second talk geared towards graduate and/or advanced undergraduates, or participating in an informal Q&A session with students. If they’re interested, work with the relevant student organizations to promote the event. Events of interest to a relatively broad audience can be submitted to the campus events calendar.

Community standards
Community standards establish clear expectations for interactions within the departmental, divisional, and campus communities. Well-crafted community standards will reduce the likelihood of DEI-related complaints and will help you to respond effectively to any problems that may arise.

Your department’s standards must be consistent and compatible with divisional standards and campus wide policies, including the faculty and student codes of conduct, but can and should address situations and potential issues specific to your program. Clarify key DEI terminology and concepts―particularly those with both technical and colloquial meanings―using links to appropriate resources.

Strive to increase knowledge of and respect for community standards among all members of your department―faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduates. Your statements and actions as chair will communicate the importance of equity and inclusivity in your program. The Science Division
DEI committee and the UCSC DEI Office can assist you in developing your department’s community standards and enhancing buy-in within your department.

Department meetings
Use your time together to do things that require being together. When there are major pieces of information to share, share that information in advance and use your meeting time to collect and answer questions, collaboratively discuss how the information affects everyone present, or to brainstorm next steps.

Position in the organizational hierarchy, identities (especially race and gender), personality, and communication style all influence participation and impact in meetings unless there are intentional efforts to make space for everyone. Implement and consistently enforce checks and balances that ensure that everyone can speak and be heard, especially when decisions need to be made. Call out “I know this won’t be worth listening to” displays (e.g. ostentatious transitions from participation to checking email or reading unrelated papers) and ‘bropriation’ (observations or suggestions made by a woman are summarily rejected, but lauded when repeated a few minutes later by a man).

Ideas that are shared in meetings can be interpreted in many ways. When one person creates the meeting minutes, some viewpoints may be excluded or misinterpreted. Collaboratively create a shared document, rather than limiting participant input to revision of draft minutes.

Inclusive instruction
Encourage adoption of inclusive pedagogies by all faculty and teaching assistants in your department, and in all courses. Organize training and presentations pertinent to the specific needs, challenges, and opportunities in your program.

When reviewing proposals for new courses, consider accessibility of materials (e.g., captioning of videos, screen reader-compatible media) and activities (will all students be able to participate fully in-class group activities and wet labs, and if not, what alternatives will be available). Building universal design into a course is typically easier and more effective than “aftermarket” modification.

Encourage your faculty to explore funding opportunities for course development, e.g. Project REAL (Redesigning for Advancing Equity and Learning) and UC Online Education. Coordinate proposal preparation with curriculum planning; verify that new courses or course redesigns will be compatible with other courses in core pathways. If multiple versions of a single course will be offered, and/or multiple instructors will teach the same course, ensure that all offerings will mesh smoothly, and cultivate instructor buy-in before committing to a redesign.

Personnel actions

Faculty contributions to diversity

APM-210 is a powerful tool for recognizing and rewarding faculty members’ DEI work, and motivating faculty with limited DEI contributions to up their game. UCOP guidelines are summarized in Evaluating Contributions to Diversity for Faculty Appointment and Promotion Under APM-210.

Teaching courses with diverse student populations is not a priori a significant contribution to diversity; it’s part of being faculty at a HSI. Instructors should employ pedagogy that supports equity and inclusivity, and should document those aspects of their teaching in their file.

The “minority tax”

Faculty and staff from minoritized groups frequently bear a disproportionately large burden of DEI service (e.g., mentoring of students from minoritized groups, committee work, outreach efforts). Proactively check in with faculty and staff before personnel actions or performance appraisals to identify possible workload inequities related to DEI issues and discuss possible strategies for recognizing the importance of that work and the impact of that service on their performance of their other duties.

Salary inequities

In addition to ensuring equitable advancement for faculty in your department, work with department members and the Division to remediate past inequities. The UC Faculty Salary Equity Studies and Career Equity Review (APM-412) process can help you to identify past patterns of inequitable advancement.

Family friendly policies

Ensure that personnel actions and performance appraisals are compliant with UC’s family friendly policies regarding family, medical, childbearing or parental leave, temporarily stopping the clock, or deferring a personnel review.

Recruitment and hiring

UC programs for increasing faculty diversity

Proactive Outreach to Underrepresented Groups

An inclusive search plan identifies strategies for attracting a diverse applicant pool and specifies steps for active outreach to potential candidates from underrepresented groups. Encourage faculty/staff, particularly minoritized faculty/staff, to recommend candidates and to make use of conferences and professional meetings to reach out to promising scholars from minoritized groups. Follow up and maintain ongoing relationships with these prospects, e.g. inviting them to visit campus for informal conversations and/or research presentations.

Evaluating letters of recommendation

Ensure that the recruitment committee members are aware of the possibility of unrecognized bias in candidate’s letters. An analysis (Trix & Psenka 2003) of more than 300 letters of recommendation for medical science faculty found that letters for women were more likely to:

  • Use grindstone adjectives, e.g. “hardworking”
  • Use fewer standout adjectives such as “outstanding” or “excellent”
  • Use the word “research” less frequently (62% for men, 35% for women)
  • Emphasize social skills, e.g. “works well with others”, and teaching
  • Lack alignment to the job description
  • Include doubt raisers and references to personal life.

More information

Workshops and Training

Learning how to be an agent of change to support diversity, equity and inclusion is, in some sense, a life-long journey of increasing self-awareness and re-commitment to seeing and honoring diversity in all its forms. UCSC offers workshops and trainings to guide you on this journey:

One effective step to being an equity-minded leader is to organize workshops for your department that facilitate the development of DEI skills of each student, staff and faculty member. Department chairs are encouraged to contact UCSC’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) and Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL) to schedule workshops and training.  For example, one possible series of workshops to start with are as follows:

Three ODEI workshops: 1. Campus Climate and Anti-Racism; 2. Microaggressions; 3. Bystander intervention

Three CITL workshops:  1. Inclusive Teaching;  2. Mentoring Graduate Students; 3. Equity-centered Graduate Mentoring


Despite your best efforts to increase equity and inclusivity in your department, you may need to address violations of community standards within your program. This is a stressful but vital component of service as department chair. Familiarizing yourself with the relevant policies, resources, and campus units will help you navigate the challenges.

The Equity and Equal Protection Office
The Equity and Equal Protection (EEP) Office administers UCSC’s policies and procedures regarding discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, religion, disability, sex, gender, age and other protected identities. The Title IX Office and Disability Accommodations and Resources Offices are both under the EEP umbrella.

Responding constructively to potential incidents of bias or harassment is a thorny challenge, and concerns about the potential consequences of missteps can be daunting. Every field has its own terminology and foundational knowledge; the EEP experts can help you to efficiently get up to speed while avoiding potential problems that might not be apparent to a novice. Don’t feel that you’re expected to already know all of the relevant information, or to learn everything in one sitting; your contacts in EEP can guide you step by step.

Clear, timely communication about the roles of the relevant campus units, particularly EEP offices, Respondent Services for Academic Employees (under APO), and Employee and Labor Relations (under SHR), is invaluable in shaping expectations regarding responses to problems. Transparency regarding your duties, capabilities, and limitations as department chair will help you to retain or rebuild stakeholders’ trust.

Members of your program may directly contact one of the offices under the EEP umbrella with a complaint or concern. In such situations, you may be contacted by EEP, rather than by the complainant.

Confidentiality and anonymity
Everyone involved in the reporting process should be aware of any pertinent mandatory reporting requirements. For example, very few individuals on campus can promise full confidentiality regarding Title IX violations, and the scope of Title IX has evolved over time. If you or the complainant have any concerns about confidentiality, hypothetical scenarios can be invaluable in preliminary exchanges.

In situations without mandatory reporting requirements, you can avoid explicitly revealing the name of a complainant, but keep in mind that even a small amount of information about the situation may enable others to identify the complainant. Campus equity experts can help you and the complainant(s) you’re assisting to decide on an approach that will address the situation without unintentionally revealing anyone’s identity.

Are you aware of other resources or initiatives/programs we should include here? Please let us know.