Becky Petitt will soon mark her one year anniversary as Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of California, San Diego. In the past 11 months, Petitt has made progress in implementing new campus climate programs and policies to create a more inclusive community for faculty, staff and students.
Validating that progress is today’s launch of UC San Diego’s newly reconfigured Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, composed of campus and community stakeholders. The committee’s charge is to advise the Chancellor with particular attention to institutional access and representation, campus climate and intergroup relations, and institutional transformation.
“I am personally grateful for the leadership and partnership of Becky Petitt,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Since her arrival nearly a year ago as Vice Chancellor, she has made many strides in our efforts to advance the diversity component of our university mission—including the new EDI Advisory Council convening for the first time today.”
Advisory council mission
EDI Advisory Council members are appointed by the Vice Chancellor in consultation with relevant campus units. The work of the 24-member council supports campus efforts to become a more equitable, inclusive community where all feel welcome, supported and able to thrive.
Petitt noted, “The advisory council is somewhat large, but ‘inclusion’ is an important part of my office, so I’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible in populating that council. The way that it is different from the preceding councils is that this council is designed to do work through committees focused on key issues.”
The council action subgroups include:
- Climate and Intergroup Relations—To focus on challenges and opportunities related to climate.
- Access and Success—To focus on improving outcomes for historically underrepresented and marginalized students.
- Education and Scholarship (chaired by a faculty member)—To focus on ensuring diversity is an integral part of the academic mission.
- Institutional Viability and Vitality—To focus on transparency and accountability in our diversity efforts.
The council will provide a forum for the discussion of diversity-related issues and ideas. The group will encourage campus engagement and dialogue about diversity by hosting scholarly colloquia, periodically convening issue-specific meetings and establishing a webpage.
Strategic plan for diversity
As Petitt discusses in the accompanying video conversation with Academic Senate Chair Bob Continetti, the initial core function in which the group will assist is co-creating a university-wide strategic plan for diversity.
“With regard to the strategic plan for diversity, the idea is to create a sustainable structure that keeps equity, diversity and inclusion high among many competing priorities,” she explained. “And the way the campus community will be involved first is by those who populate the advisory council. It’s composed of students, faculty and staff from many constituent groups as well as folks in the community. The plan will outline policies and processes that increase the chances of success for everyone. This is diversity in terms of race and ethnicity and presence, diversity along gender lines, sexual orientation and disability issues. The umbrella is really broad. The issues we will deal with are really broad.”
Petitt added that the working committees will be chaired by members of the council and that will be the opportunity for the campus at large to advise the council as well. “Giving the campus community an opportunity to help shape the strategic plan for diversity is really important because they will then be a part of the goals,” she said. “When you involve people in the creation of something, they support it.”
This article originally appeared on This Week at UC San Diego.