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Pathways to a Diverse Faculty

A new grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help UC Merced further diversify its community of graduate students and faculty, beginning with the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

The University of California, Merced's Pathways to a Diverse Faculty project is designed to create pathways to the professoriate for a diverse population of graduate students, support development and success among a diverse cohort of junior faculty, and develop an environment in which all faculty can thrive. This includes creating and nurturing strong networks and a sense of community to attract new faculty who are members of groups underrepresented in their fields, and to retain and support these faculty as they build their research and teaching portfolios. We also aim to identify a model for assessing and, ultimately, compensating URM faculty for the hidden labor they perform.

The program focuses on two pivotal phases: 

  • Growing the pool of candidates from underrepresented minorities for ladder-rank faculty positions in the humanities and humanistic social sciences through the Competitive Edge Summer Bridge Program.  
  • Providing career enhancements that will position our faculty for success through the Pathways to a Diverse Faculty Year-Long Program and the Mellon Faculty Summer Institute.

Pathways to a Diverse Faculty Year-Long Program

The grant will fund five new humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members per year to attend a two-week orientation before the start of the fall semester. They will be selected based on their likely contributions to diversity efforts.

Aspects of the year-long program include:

  • Personalized feedback on their writing including a weekly write-in

  • Meet and greets with tenured faculty

  • Accountability groups

  • Research and teaching support

  • Planning workshops

  • Decompression workshops

  • Relief from all service obligations for the year

  • Grant/Book/Article proposal with feedback

View this year's current program's agenda

2019-20 Faculty Participants: 

Faculty Participant Faculty Department
Nicola Lercari                            Anthropology and Heritage Studies
Lorena Alvarado Global Art Studies, Media & Writing
Yehuda Sharim Global Art Studies, Media & Writing
Patricia Vergara Global Art Studies, Media & Writing
Kit Myers History & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Sabrina Smith History & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Whitney Pirtle Sociology

Mellon Faculty Summer Institute

The grant funds five new humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members per year to attend a two-week orientation before the start of the fall semester. They will be selected based on their likely contributions to diversity efforts.

The Mellon Faculty Summer Institute begins Wednesday, August 14 and ends on Tuesday, August 27, the day before instruction begins. This summer program and orientation will introduce humanities and sociology faculty to resources and support services designed with underrepresented students and faculty in mind. 

The summer institute will also offer workshops on teaching challenges and best practices for advancing research, and provide networking opportunity with supportive senior faculty and administrators. Each day will consist of a light breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m., a daily write-in, a workshop and a lunch ending at 1 p.m.

View this summer's current program agenda

2019 Faculty Participants

Faculty Participant Faculty Department
Daniel Thompson                            Anthropology and Heritage Studies
Lorena Alvarado Global Art Studies, Media & Writing
Yehuda Sharim Global Art Studies, Media & Writing
Maria Martin History & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Sabrina Smith History & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Romina Ruvalcaba History & Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Camila Alvarez Sociology

Competitive Edge Summer Bridge Program

The grant supports six humanities doctoral students and one peer mentor in the campus’s Competitive Edge Summer Bridge program for the next four years. UC Merced began the program in 2015 to assist new graduate students — many of whom are first-generation and/or underrepresented minorities — in making strong transitions to their doctoral programs and, ultimately, help to cultivate a diverse professoriate.

Program Leadership:

  • Marjorie S. Zatz, Ph.D.

          Vice Provost and Graduate Dean, Professor of Sociology

          PI, Mellon Foundation Grant

  • Teenie Matlock, Ph.D.

          Vice Provost for the Faculty, Professor of Cognitive Science

  • Zulema Valdez, Ph.D.

         Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty, Professor of Sociology

Senior Faculty Mentors:

  • Tanya Golash-Boza
  • Dalia Magaña
  • Jeffery Yoshimi

For more information on the Andrew W. Mellon Pathways to a Diverse Faculty grant and program, please contact gradresources@ucmerced.edu.