March 7, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Our GSAS staff understand anti-racism work as an ongoing effort, not a set of practices that ever end. Accordingly, we have been working systematically on aspects of the GSAS anti-racism plan and offer here an overview of our work to date. Our plan emerged from anti-racism discussions that commenced in Fall 2020 across the University designed to engage all of us in critical self-reflection and collaborations with colleagues to consider how personal and institutional policies, practices, and attitudes can have a disproportionate and adverse impact on members of some racial groups, especially those who have been historically marginalized and minoritized. 

To date, GSAS has:

  • Employed a universal training model for departmental admissions committees to support holistic application review including using an equity lens in admissions evaluations. GSAS hosted two workshops to support this initiative. The first workshop was in December 2021 and featured Josephine Moreno, Graduate Diversity Officer at UC Davis who leads the Five Year Alliance for Multi-Campus, Inclusive Graduate Admissions Project (AMIGA). In February of 2023, GSAS welcomed Julie Posselt, Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Southern California and Associate Professor in the USC Rossier School of Education, to discuss her most recent book Equity in Science: Representation, Culture, and the Dynamics of Change in Graduate Education. Dr. Posselt also serves as an Assessment Lead and Alliance Advisor for the AMIGA Project.    
  • Created and participated in a multi-series training for GSAS leadership and staff focusing on anti-racist workplace practices.  
  • Held focus groups with GSAS BIPOC students and recent graduates and integrated learnings into the work of GSAS.   
  • Conducted an internal review of all GSAS policies and made them more easily accessible and transparent to reduce inequities;   
  • Developed university-wide policies for all graduate students related to leaves of absence, medical leaves, parental relief that are consistent, transparent and equitable across the university.   
  • Collaborated with all GSAS degree programs to ensure program requirements are clear in the University Bulletin, consistent with GSAS policies, and integrated into degree audits that students, faculty and administrators can all access. We are working in the calendar year 2023 to ensure that all programs have handbooks that address a consistent set of questions, and are consistent with university and GSAS policies and the university bulletin.   
  • Collaborated with the Division of Science on Norms and Expectations which aims to create a supportive culture for a diverse community of scholars that is equitable and inclusive, and to provide an inclusive workplace for all its members.   
  • Encouraged all GSAS programs to move towards annual reviews for all students, with the goal of transparent communication around academic performance expectations and milestones. This is part of making visible the “hidden curriculum” of graduate school, which is often a barrier for underrepresented and first generation graduate students.   
  • Supported the Dean of Arts & Sciences including questions about DEI work in annual faculty reviews.

Our efforts are ongoing and continue to support advising of GSAS students as well as in efforts to recruit and support a more diverse GSAS student body. Questions about campus climate and DEI will be incorporated into future graduate student exit surveys both for students who receive degrees and those who do not.  In addition, the Office of Institutional Research is working with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, to analyze the results of the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) climate survey and intends to release results for all students (undergrad and grad), faculty and staff this spring.  

We are grateful for the collaborations that facilitated these changes to date and are making them part of the fabric of GSAS and its programs. 

With thanks,