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2019-2020 Grant Recipients

The following projects will take place during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Building Community for Staff of Color - Community-based Dialogue - $5,000

Submitted by staff member Armando Contreras. Co-sponsored with the Dean of Students Office

Read the proposal and budget form

At UC Merced, student success results from a collaboration and shared responsibility among students, faculty, staff, and administration. Of those responsible, staff of color work tirelessly to serve students and faculty but rarely find the time to build community outside of work. Through the Dean of Students Office, this new initiative will allow staff of color to come together once a month to build and strengthen a community of educators. I hope that through collaboration and informal mentorship, staff of color can meet outside of their day-to-day to build community, heal, live in their truth, and ultimately create deep and personal connections amongst one another. I strongly believe that happy and healthy staff directly influences student success at our campus. Through community-based dialogues rooted in empowerment, healing and truth, this initiative aims to bring together staff of color and support their growth at UC Merced. The empowering monthly sessions will focus on four main themes: healing, community, retention and advancement. The goal of community-based dialogues is to ultimately improve climate for staff of color and create a support network as staff face work/life challenges.

Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion in Academia: Applying to Graduate School Workshop Series - $5,000

Submitted by graduate students Tashelle Wright and Avia Gray. Co-sponsored by Health Sciences Research Institute

Read the proposal and budget form.

Our team will host a series of workshops for underrepresented undergraduate students interested in applying to graduate school programs. These workshops will discuss crucial steps for successfully preparing for graduate school applications. Sessions will cover topics that include:

  • Graduate Readiness Exam (GRE) preparation
  • Requesting letters of recommendation
  • Identifying undergraduate research opportunities
  • How to create a curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Establishing a faculty and/or graduate student mentor
  • Identifying best fit programs
  • Writing a statement of purpose

This series will give students who may not have access to graduate preparation courses a chance to be exposed to and prepared for graduate school earlier. Content will be tailored for underrepresented students of color in academia (i.e. Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+), first-generation, non-traditional and transfer students to bridge the gap for graduate degree attainment. We will foster a supportive and inclusive environment and create a course webpage using CatCourses or Weebly to ensure students have access to the series regardless of their class and/or work schedules.

DEI in STEM - $5,000

Submitted by Professor Sora Kim

Read the proposal and budget form.

We propose to build a hub of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in STEM research, teaching, and mentoring. Currently, there is an array of DEI in STEM efforts by faculty and staff at UC Merced, but they are largely run independent of one another. Here, we propose to initiate a hub for faculty and staff to exchange and synergize ideas. The reality of UC Merced is that faculty demographics are different from the students. While the faculty is very receptive and well intentioned to serve the students, to fully embrace DEI, especially across all academic facets within STEM, efforts need to go beyond intention. We will bring one seminar speaker to UC Merced during this funding cycle and hold periodic lunches to help build capacity and momentum for DEI in STEM. The seminar speaker and lunches will give faculty and staff time and space to interact and on DEI efforts within STEM capacities. Each lunch will have topics with structured prompts to address different aspects of DEI in STEM at UC Merced.

Merritt Writing Program Diversity Initiatives: Curriculum and Pedagogy - $2,646

Submitted by Non-Senate faculty Angela Winek and Mariana Abuan. Co-sponsored by the Merritt Writing Program

Read the proposal and budget form.

Through a series of faculty workshops, the Merritt Writing Program will introduce a finalized program-specific diversity statement, continue piloting and assessing diversity-themed writing prompts based upon the UC Merced Principles of Community for the Writing 01 and Writing 10 courses, and develop a Diversity Course Learning Outcome for each. A guest speaker with expertise in implementing inclusion pedagogies will address Merritt Writing Program faculty in fall 2019 to discuss research-based practices that can be applied in writing classrooms. In spring 2020, the Merritt Writing Program will host a symposium that will provide faculty members an opportunity to share approaches to integrating the common prompt and incorporating the Diversity Course Learning Outcome in the classroom. The Merritt Writing Program teaches roughly half of all UC Merced students in each academic year and teaches all first-year students through Writing 01 and Writing 10. As such, this project has the potential to influence approximately 3,000 students during the 2019-2020 academic year with further reaching implications for future students who will be impacted by the establishment of a diversity course learning outcome and common diversity prompt.