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Advancing Faculty Diversity Program at UC San Diego

With seed grant support from the UC Advancing Faculty Diversity Program, and significant ongoing investment from campus leadership, UC San Diego launched three cluster hire initiatives to accelerate our progress in building a more diverse cadre of faculty and providing culturally responsive curricular, research, and mentoring opportunities for underrepresented students. While the 20 new faculty hired thus far span different fields across STEMM, arts, humanities, and social sciences, they are united by a common interest in using their academic expertise to advance equity and social justice.

AFD faculty wish to answer complex questions by centering the perspectives, lived experiences, and voices of people of color, and including students in the process. Their presence will elevate the visibility and expand the impact of our curricular programs in Black Diaspora & African-American Studies; Chicanx/Latinx Studies; Latin American Studies; and inclusive, human-centered Design.

Modeled on a Collective Impact framework, the Principal Investigators of each initiative worked with the Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion to design each cluster in a way that leveraged existing institutional strengths, resources, and needs. We focus on timely interdisciplinary issues with relevance to students, faculty, and society at large, and introduce best practices for a diverse and inclusive search.

Meet the New AFD Faculty

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Bridging Black Studies and STEM (AY 2020-2022)

The Advancing Faculty Diversity Cluster Hire Initiative: Strengthening STEM Research and Teaching for the Black/African American Diaspora leverages UC San Diego's institutional strengths, student needs, and opportunities to diversify faculty, research, and curriculum at the intersection of the social sciences and STEM. Located in the Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Wertheim School of Public Health, a multidisciplinary cluster hire of up to 14 faculty whose research is focused on racial/ethnic disparities in health, medicine, and the environment will contribute a significant focus on African American communities and the Black Diaspora. The cluster serves three purposes: 1) to increase faculty diversity; 2) to advance research on and for communities of color; and 3) to diversify curriculum in STEM affiliated with the DEI course requirement and African American Studies Major and Minor. This innovative proposal is both timely and globally relevant, especially as we witnessed social disparities translate into disparate health outcomes during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

➤   Bridging Black Studies and STEM PIs


Thandeka K. Chapman
Professor of Education Studies


Makeba Jones
Associate Teaching Professor of Education Studies


Linda Awdishu
Professor of Clinical Pharmacy


Ivan Evans
Professor, Provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College

Latinx/Chicanx Cluster Hire Initiative (AY 2021-2023)

The Transforming UC San Diego from an Emerging Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) to an Hispanic Serving Research Institution (HSRI) through a Latinx Cluster Hire Initiative (LCHI) leverages a strong campus commitment to diversifying the faculty while simultaneously working to fulfill our student-centered mission. As an Emerging HSI, UC San Diego is uniquely positioned to transform into an HSRI and STEM HSI with the support of leadership and commitment to meeting the curricular, co-curricular, and cultural needs of Latinx, URM and increasingly first-generation students. The LCHI will hire up to 14 faculty whose research and pedagogy focus on issues affecting and of interest to Chicanx/Latinx students. Moreover, it would leverage the Chicanx/Latinx Studies and Latin American Studies programs, strong EDI initiatives underway, and the expertise of campus Faculty Equity Advisors. A robust hiring initiative across four divisions and nine academic departments that serve a critical mass of Latinx students will serve as a catalyst for UC San Diego becoming a Latinx serving and responsive institution.

➤   LCHI PIs


Luis Alvarez
Professor of History


Marisa Abrajano
Professor of Political Science


Jody Blanco
Associate Professor of Literature

 Robert Castro

Robert Castro
Professor of Theatre & Dance


Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra
Associate Professor of Sociology


MarDestinee Perez
Director, Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion


Daphne Taylor-Garcia
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies

Designing Just Futures (AY 2022-2024)

The Designing Just Futures Cluster Hire Initiative builds on UC San Diego’s previous Advancing Faculty Diversity awards and draws on the geographic, academic, institutional, and cultural strengths of our tri-national region to recruit scholars focused on design and innovation that center Indigenous, Black and migrant communities. As an interdisciplinary cluster hire, the proposal team will collaborate with the Design Lab, Indigenous Futures Institute, School of Global Policy and Strategy, Jacobs School of Engineering, School of Arts and Humanities, and School of Social Science, to recruit up to 12 scholars who work at the intersection of design and social justice. Our goal is to address significant underrepresentation in the professoriate at UC San Diego and across the UC-system and simultaneously recruit scholars whose research and service center communities, perspectives, and epistemologies of communities that have been traditionally left out of mainstream social, economic, cultural, and political systems.

➤   Designing Just Futures PIs


Nadir Weibel
Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering


Theresa Ambo
Assistant Professor of Education Studies


Victor Ferreira
Professor of Psychology


Keolu Fox
Assistant Professor of Anthropology


MarDestinee Perez
Director, Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion


Mai Nguyen
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning


Wayne Yang
Professor & Provost of John Muir College

In the Media

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

UC San Diego Today

Inside Higher Ed

In 2022, the Advancing Faculty Diversity Through Cluster Hires Initiatives Teams were recognized for their leadership in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion, and for their strong commitment to the UC San Diego Principles of Community with an Inclusive Excellence Award.