Incorporating Contributions to Diversity into Self-Statements

At UC Merced, we believe that our differences — of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, abilities, experience, geographic region and more — enhance our ability to achieve the university’s primary mission of research, teaching and public service.

University policy states that a candidate’s race, gender, ethnicity or other personal characteristics may not be considered in the evaluation of academic appointments or review cases. However, search and review committees can consider past or proposed contributions to diversity as part of the overall review process.

According to University of California Academic Personnel Policy (APM), to preserve and foster the quality of UC as one of the nation’s leading public institutions, peer review committees are expected to evaluate the contributions of all faculty in view of the critical need for equity and excellence.

“In addition to research, teaching, and general professional and public service, service contributions that promote diversity and equal opportunity are encouraged and given recognition in the evaluation of the candidate’s qualifications. Examples include, but are not limited to, developing strategies for the educational or professional advancement of students in under-represented groups; efforts to advance equitable access and diversity in education; and activities such as recruitment, retention, and mentoring or advising of under-represented students or new faculty.” -- APM 210-1-d

The purpose of incorporating “Contributions to Diversity” (or a “Diversity Statement) -- either at the application phase or within self-statements at review -- is to reinforce professional skills, experience, and/or willingness to engage in activities that would enhance campus diversity and equity efforts.

The Contributions to Diversity Statement should describe your past experience, activities and future plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, in alignment with UC Merced’s mission to reflect the diversity of California and to meet the educational needs and interests of its diverse population. Some faculty or faculty candidates may not have substantial past activities. If that is the case, we recommend focusing on future plans in your statement. A more developed and substantial plan is expected for senior faculty/candidates.

Past Experience  

Describe any past experience or background that has made you aware of challenges faced by historically under-represented populations.

Past Activities

  • Mentoring Activities: If you mentored students, post-docs, staff or faculty from under-represented groups, describe the specific context and objective of the mentoring, including your personal efforts. Include details that may be relevant, including the number of people who benefited, duration, and outcomes (i.e., success and progress of mentees during and after mentoring, including employment, educational success, etc.).

  • Committee Service: If you served on a committee or board that focused on diversity, equity, climate and/or inclusion, describe the committee’s accomplishments and your role in helping achieve them. Include your position on the committee, its duration, and other relevant details.

  • Research Activities: If any of your past research efforts specifically contributed to diversity, equity and inclusion, describe the work and any impact or positive outcomes it has had on the university or broader community.

  • Other Activities (e.g. recruitment/retention/teaching/community): Describe the activity and its context (e.g., a specific conference or organization, student retention or outreach activity, course development to reach a specific group, outreach to a local school, or work with a diversity-related non-profit). What was your role and personal effort? How did these activities relate to campus needs?

Planned Activities

The first step is to gather information on activities you would like to pursue while at UC Merced and how they might fit into the research area, department, campus, or national context. You may consider but are not restricted to current or ongoing campus activities.

For each proposed activity you include, describe the role you envision having and what you would like to accomplish in the next two to five years. Who would you like to engage in your efforts, and how would you plan to engage them? Be as specific as possible, but realistic in terms of your effort and time commitment.

There are many examples of activities that contribute diversity and equity, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Commitment to using a faculty position to be a force of enlightenment and change by opening up opportunities to students who may have never known of the intellectual and life options that abound at our university.
  • Creation of programs that provide access, promote success, and establish pathways for students in traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Enriching the classroom environment through exposure to new perspectives on cultures, beliefs, practices, tolerance, acceptance, and a welcoming climate.
  • Exposure to research opportunities for individuals historically excluded from disciplines on the basis of their gender or ethnic identity.
  • Leadership in any capacity that tangibly promotes an environment where diversity is welcomed, fostered, and celebrated.

Mentoring students from traditionally under-represented groups and at-risk students to provide the guidance needed to help ensure their academic experience is a welcoming and positive one, to promote university resources when needed for retention, and to serve as transformative role models for those who may not yet understand their real potential in an academic environment

 


The material for this document was adapted from UC Davis’s “Guidelines for Writing a Diversity Statement” and UC San Diego’s “Contribution to Diversity” websites.