Town Hall – Black Lives and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

June 2020

Dear UCLA Extension Community:

As follow up to yesterday’s UCLA Extension Town Hall meeting, I am sending additional details about what I presented regarding our first steps in addressing racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Black Lives Matter

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have raised, once again, that racism and inequities persist across the globe. More specifically, in the United States, our country’s history of slavery, racism, and dehumanization of Black life is deeply embedded within our culture and institutions through racial bias and systemic racism. We are well past the point of performative allyship and must take immediate action to create a better world for current and future generations of African Americans. It is to that end that I announce concrete steps that we, as a community of learners and scholars, will undertake to begin addressing racism and bias toward our African American friends and colleagues.

Action to support our Black community of learners, scholars, and staff

Hold intentional conversations around implicit bias and racism aimed at the Black community – a Town Hall meeting is forthcoming (will be led by outside leadership)

Establish a Special Advisor to the Dean position related to Black students, instructors, and staff. The position will advise the Dean and UCLA Extension leadership on opportunities to improve climate and policies and create programs in support of the Black community

  • Establish a UCLA Extension Dean’s Advisory Council for Black students, staff, and instructors
  • Create a UCLA Extension scholarship for Black students
     

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at UCLA Extension

Two years ago, an ad hoc task force focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion formed. That group worked on several pressing matters and developed a list of recommendations presented to UCLA Extension’s interim leadership team. Unfortunately, due to the transition to a more permanent leadership structure, the recommendations were not thoroughly reviewed or implemented. In reviewing the task force recommendations, I was impressed by the group’s thoughtfulness and direct approaches to ensuring that UCLA Extension moves toward becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. I am taking immediate action to adopt several of their key recommendations from their initial report, outlined below.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Taskforce Recommendations

We will immediately adopt the following recommendations from the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Taskforce:

Recommendation 1.

Establish a permanent Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee for UCLA Extension

Committee composition shall include*:
Two continuing members from the original taskforce
Two new staff members
Four instructors
Four students
 

*At least 50% of the committee’s members should be people of color and diverse backgrounds. 

Charge of the Committee and for UCLA Extension:

 “UCLA Extension is a powerful change agent in the Los Angeles region and across the United States. Our academic programs empower people to build better futures for themselves and their communities. Over time, our influence will alter the demographic makeup of the fields and industries in which our students work. For this reason, we are invested in embedding equity as a core value and conducting all our work with inclusive strategies as a top priority.”

Recommendation 2.

Establish an institutional practice of collecting, reviewing, and benchmarking self-reported demographics for students, instructors, and staff.

Recommendation 3.

Center equity and inclusion in recruiting and hiring practices

Include equity and inclusion values statement in job postings and recruitment communications for UCLA Extension Instructors

“We achieve educational equity through inclusive strategies that recruit an instructor corps trained and developed to serve UCLA Extension’s diverse and ever-changing student body.”
Ask instructor candidates to provide statements on working in multicultural environments
Include instructor statements on inclusive teaching as part of instructor statements
Redesign instructor and staff job posting information to highlight commitments to equity and inclusion
Develop a self-assessment tool for new hires to help them address their readiness for inclusive teaching
Shape new hires into cohorts to develop instructor community, trust, and discussion related to equity and inclusion

Recommendation 4.                        

All UCLA Extension course syllabi will be required to contain the following statement:

“UCLA Extension commits to fostering an inclusive classroom environment that honors the diversity of our students. If, for any reason, you feel uncomfortable because of an interaction with other students or between you and an instructor, please reach out privately to your instructor or UCLA Extension staff member to explain the situation.”
 

Additional Action Steps

In addition to the task force recommendations, as Dean of Continuing Education and UCLA Extension, I am adding the following priorities to our collective work:

  • Conduct a campus climate review of UCLA Extension related to equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Create a strategic action plan for addressing inequity
  • Review the organizational structure and consider establishing a Director for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion position at UCLA Extension 
  • Strategic outreach to and recruitment of students of color
  • Incorporating anti-racism and racial equity as required content across all UCLA Extension programs and curricula
  • Establish a Race & Equity Center for continuing higher education, to be led by UCLA Extension

Please know that these are only the first steps in what will become part of a broader strategic plan and process for UCLA Extension’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Information on the next steps related to the actions mentioned above will be forthcoming, including a process for applying to serve on the committees and advisory boards.

I welcome your feedback and look forward to working with you to implement changes both within and outside of UCLA Extension.

Sincerely,

Eric

Eric A. Bullard, Ph.D.
Dean of Continuing Education and UCLA Extension

UCLA Extension | Office of the Dean
10960 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1700
Los Angeles, CA 90024

uclaextension.edu

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