UC San Diego’s Black Academic Excellence Initiative helps strengthen support for our Black campus community and aims to improve the presence and experience of Black faculty, students, and staff.
In 2016, UC San Diego launched the Black Academic Excellence Initiative. Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Becky Petitt charged the BAEI Advisory Committee to develop recommendations that would improve the presence and experience of Black faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and staff.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of UC San Diego students, staff, and faculty with extensive professional and personal experiences in critical areas of campus life that impact Black populations: programming planning, expansion, and assessment, admissions, recruitment, retention, equity, access, and success, human resources, and many more.
Benefits to the Campus
Diversity of thought and ideas significantly enriches the academic experience and improves the depth and breadth of the experience for all at UC San Diego. Our Black community—that has been historically underrepresented at UC San Diego—contributes to this rich working, teaching, and learning environment.
Success of the Black Academic Excellence Initiative will be realized by a transformation in the experiences of Black students, faculty, and staff on campus through increased enrollment of Black students, persistence and graduation rates, increased levels of engagement and participation in co-curricular, academic and socio-emotional supports; improved retention for all groups, and an increased presence of Black faculty and staff. These successes will improve the climate for diversity, equity, and inclusion for all.
Of all ethnic groups completing campus climate assessments, Black students, faculty and staff report that they are least satisfied with their experience at UC San Diego. Low numbers of Black peers lead to generally feeling disconnected from campus.
It is important that we acknowledge, and not ignore, the current racial climate in the United States and the histories that produced it. As one of the world’s best public universities, we can start by changing our own campus, fostering an environment of equity, diversity, and inclusion for our Black community.
Challenges as Identified by the Committee
Dr. Jessica Graham from UC San Diego Black Studies Project
UC San Diego and the Black Alumni Council are partnering to strengthen support of Black students. The Black Academic Excellence Initiative will help grow the existing Black Alumni Scholarship Fund established by the UC San Diego Black Alumni Council in partnership with The San Diego Foundation. Gifts will support privately administered scholarships for admitted Black undergraduates to enhance campus recruitment and retention efforts.
Black students thrive in an environment that welcomes and validates all of their identities while nurturing their academic and personal development. This welcome, validation, and nurturing comes in part from faculty and staff who share similar identities and can act as role models and cultural guides as they perform their campus duties. Since this higher level of engagement and support of these students often competes for time faculty and staff need to excel in their chosen fields, our university needs to support them in achieving this critical balance.
With this in mind, the Black Academic Excellence Initiative will garner resources to support the scholarly work of Black faculty and the professional development of Black staff. In addition, the initiative will direct resources towards programs and activities that emphasize and elevate the Black experience throughout the campus community.
If you have questions about supporting the Black Academic Excellence Initiative, contact UC San Diego Director of Development John Duca at (858)534-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.