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New Initiatives and Continuing Commitments

Advancing Racial Justice: 

Program Updates and Initiatives

New Initiatives and Continuing Commitments

Santa Clara University has committed additional resources to support the recruitment and retention of Black students, staff and faculty. The following new support initiatives will address diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom and curriculum, training and education, engagement opportunities, and community accountability.  We welcome your continued input here. If you would like to get involved in an initiative, feel free to write to us.

  • Student Recruitment, Belonging, and Support

    • Establishment of a Black Excellence Scholarship Fund: A new endowment will award scholarships to incoming and transfer Black students beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year. Donations to this fund can be made here. This Fund is being organized by a Committee consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The University seeded the fund with previously undesignated gifts, totaling $100,000. Currently, funding is at approximately $123,000 and growing.
    • Increase in mental health resources: The mental health of all our students is more important than ever. In April, just after the shift to virtual learning, the Cowell Center hired Nicole Banks as the Outreach Coordinator. Nicole’s role is to connect students to mental health resources offered through the Cowell Center. Later this month, we will move forward with re-posting four vacant positions in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to be filled at the start of the academic year. These four positions include an Assistant Director for Training, a Staff Psychiatrist and two Staff Psychologists. In addition to these positions, CAPS will hire two post-doctoral fellows in the fall. The first post-doc has been hired and the search process for the second is underway.  We are heeding the call from Black students and other students of color about the importance of diversity and cultural competence in the access we provide.
    • Support for emerging intra-department initiatives such as STEM Diversity, Inclusion and Student Engagement (DISE) (with faculty, staff and student members), and STEM Student Advisory Representatives (StAR) (with members representing all STEM disciplines) as well as diverse STEM student organizations in the College and School of Engineering, including Engineering Diversity Council). The STEM student committees hosted open forums to collaborate with faculty, staff and administrators on issues related to gender neutral bathrooms in the new SCDI building, bias reporting, inclusive teaching and learning, and recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty and staff.
    • Amplifying and supporting student voices about classroom climate, inclusive teaching, and fostering antiracist pedagogy and practices. With the support of a grant from Faculty Development (Office of the Provost), a team of faculty and 2020 graduates from the Ethnic Studies Department, developed a website, Anti-Racist Teaching Collective (ARTC):

Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Belonging, and Support

    • Announcement of new tenure-track lines in Ethnic Studies (Black Studies emphasis) and Women’s and Gender Studies (Critical Race and Gender Studies). The searches to fill these positions will begin this summer/fall for the 2021-22 academic year.
    • The incoming cohort of new tenure-track faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Leavey School of Business, the School of Engineering, the School of Education and Counseling Psychology and the School of Law represents a very successful hiring season. In September we will welcome the largest and more diverse faculty cohort in the University’s and College’s history. This was made possible through the dedicated efforts of the faculty, staff and administration in the College and Schools, working in close collaboration with the Provost’s Office and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
    • Strategic priorities for diversity and inclusion: We are exploring gift opportunities for diversity and inclusion initiatives and bolstering efforts across campus toward diverse recruitment, retention, and support. 
    • Enhanced inclusive search training of faculty and staff: Across campus, we see increased recognition of  the importance and value of these inclusive search trainings for faculty and staff, resulting in more intentional outreach throughout the search and hiring process. We have enhanced these trainings to provide strategies to improve participation of talented and diverse candidates at all stages of the process. The training provides an opportunity to talk about best practices, engage in a discussion of SCU’s mission and values, the University’s demographics, understanding bias, and ways that University processes can be more inclusive. We are further engaging individual departments to explore strategies uniquely tailored to their department trends and needs. These enhancements have improved our hiring metrics across our units and departments, most notably with our Assistant Professor ranks.
    • Continued commitment to offer the resources of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity to all faculty through SCU’s institutional membership, and full funding for every new assistant professor to participate in the Faculty Success Program. Expansion of College of Arts and Sciences Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellowship Program: The College of Arts and Sciences, in partnership with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, will provide funding to support an Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow for 2020-22. The purpose of the program is to support the early development of teaching scholars who are from historically underrepresented groups. The program aims to increase the diversity of faculty members in the academy and at Santa Clara University. 
    • Spring 2020 Surveys of Student Experience: The Office of Assessment conducted a series of three spring surveys of SCU student experience in the online learning environment, including issues of belonging, bias, and access. The complete assessment report is forthcoming in August.
  • Training and Education

    • Antiracism workshops and learning opportunities for the entire community--including many that have already begun in departments and other units this summer.
    • Establishment of a speaker series and symposia focused on racial justice and antiracism.  
    • The President’s Cabinet will read books in common and have facilitated conversations on topics related to antiracism. The first book selected is How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (2019). We look forward to exploring the excellent antiracist books and resources recommended by the Anti-Racist Teaching Collective (ARTC), Community Conversations, and we welcome your continued suggestions here.
    • Athletics convened a new Athletics Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that includes student, staff, faculty, and alumni representatives.
    • University Relations convened a new Black Excellence Scholarship Fund Committee of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to discuss a new scholarship fund for Black students. The Black Excellence Scholarship Fund has been established and endowed with a commitment from the University to raise additional funds.
  • Community Accountability

    • Continued work on restructuring and enhancing Bias Incident Reporting Structure to ensure greater outreach, education, and transparency.    
    • The Alumni Association is developing a specific plan to address all our FY21 commitments. Right now, we are specifically working to convene our Black Alumni Group and connect them with Igwe student leaders so we can communicate, collaborate, and set some common goals for the coming year.


Summer 2020 Actions


Racial Justice Resources Historical Reports and Unity Movements


Submit ideas and additional updates

For additional information and questions, please contact:

Margaret Russell, Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion:

Ray Plaza, Director, Office for Diversity and Inclusion: