Pipeline, Recruitment, and Retention


GOAL 1: Identify, attract, retain and graduate a diverse student body.

In his 2014 speech at the College Opportunity summit, President Obama noted, “We find an increasing divergence between those who have the skills that today’s jobs require and those who don’t.” The president indicated that higher education is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity for individuals and for the health of our economy. The population of California leads national trends in its diversity, with nonwhite populations representing 61 percent of the state. Races and ethnicities historically underrepresented in higher education make up 47 percent of the state’s population. Creating a diverse and inclusive community that reflects California and the world helps prepare all students for success in a global economy. The jobs of the future demand intellectual, creative and collaborative skill sets. To leave anyone out or behind is to ignore a great opportunity. 

Henry "Hoby" Wedler, a graduate student in chemistry
Henry "Hoby" Wedler, a graduate student in chemistry

Institutions of higher education compete for the most promising and talented students that reflect the state’s diversity, so it is both important and appropriate for UC Davis to partner with all members of California’s public education system to prepare students for their transition to the university. Preparatory programs, admissions, and student support services must be able to recognize the potential in each student and to anticipate their needs. We know that first-generation and low-income students, students with disabilities, veterans, international students, nontraditional students, and students with marginalized identities may need extra support, especially early in their education, to achieve, build resilience, and feel the sense of belonging that is essential to their success at UC Davis. As our campus population grows, we have an opportunity to broaden the experiences of all students. All students, from near or far, need to feel a sense of connection to the campus and the broader community that bridges language and culture. Increasing diversity contributes to, but is also reliant upon, an inclusive environment that provides students more than a teacher and classroom, rather an environment that is thoughtful about a student’s life inside and outside the classroom and that prioritizes students and their education.

In our focus on college transitions and preparations, we cannot forget the most basic barriers to access that influence our applicant pool—from admissions applications to parking to financial aid to housing. We cannot assume an inherent understanding of the pathways to and through our university. We must always look at our systems from the perspective of our first generation, low income, international, rural, and underrepresented students. We must seek to understand the burden of deciphering the rituals of higher education for students already stretched by their undergraduate or graduate experience.

A. Focus on identification, preparation and pipeline activities early in future students’ development/schooling and involve community and support networks such as family, K–12 teachers, counselors and schools, community organizations and community colleges.
B. Increase retention and graduation/completion rates of students with a focus on diverse, underrepresented and underserved student populations. 
  1. Engage all faculty equitably in mentoring diverse students. 
  2. Expand and replicate successful programs on campus that provide persistence, retention and support services; expand those services by providing easier access across our large geographic footprint and develop effective ways for support services to collaborate. Examples: Center for African Diaspora Student Success (CADSS), AB540 and Undocumented Student Center, Cross Cultural Center (CCC), Student Academic Success Center (SASC), TRiO, Academic Preparation and Enrichment Program (APEP), Medical School Preparatory Education Program (MSPEP), Center for Student Affairs Assessment (CSAA), Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success (CCLASS), Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS)
  3. Expand support services and flexible education models to serve the increasing number of students often referred to as “non-traditional” that have financial, occupational, or dependent-care obligations that make pursuing a postsecondary education more complicated. Examples: Transfer Reentry Veterans Center (TRV); Veterans Success Center (VSC); Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP); UC Transfer Pathways; University of California Cross-Campus Enrollment; Bernard Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship Program
  4. Incentivize college-, school-, and department-specific interventions that encompass access, progress and retention challenges specific to underrepresented students in the discipline. Example: Prep Medico, MURALS
  5. Respond to the needs of students with learning challenges, disabilities and mental health concerns. Respond appropriately and with compassion and cultural competence to those experiencing distress, and increase awareness and treatment options across campus. Examples: University of Denver’s Disability Services Program, University of Arizona’s SALT Program
  6. Promote student-initiated, student-led recruitment, retention and community empowerment efforts. Enable students to act as dynamic leaders in their communities. Example: Student Recruitment and Retention Center (SRRC) 
C. Invest in each student’s success, sense of belonging, and cultural competency.
  1. Recognizing the importance of nonacademic circumstances as they contribute to a student’s academic and social success, coordinate and improve access to services related to college/post secondary transitions. Examples: Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Special Transitional Enrichment Program (STEP), Linda Frances Alexander Scholars Program (LFA), UC Davis International Welcome Reception for Students, Parents, and Families
  2. Expand and enrich living-learning communities, cohorts and affinity groups to provide all students, prospective students and alumni/ae with rich networks of support throughout their affiliation with UC Davis. Examples: Casa Cuauhtémoc, African American Shared-Interest Community, First-Year Aggie Connections
  3. At all institutional segments (e.g., school, college, program), ensure that advising and service models are culturally relevant and sensitive to individual student needs. Provide resources and incentives to support new and existing departmental and program-based multicultural organizations. Example: Graduate Diversity Officers

Jump to:
Research, Teaching, Public Service, and Training
Institutional Commitment


GOAL 2: Identify, attract and retain a diverse faculty and staff.

UC Davis has a responsibility to reflect its global values in its workforce. Our campus community thrives when our workforce reflects the diversity of our student population and the patients we serve. To achieve this goal, we must effectively identify, recognize, and eliminate barriers, and increase accountability at the level of the division, college, school, and department.

The actions of each UC Davis employee have an impact on campus climate and in enabling an environment in which opportunity is present for all. Members of the faculty and staff serve as the key interface for all our students and postdoctoral scholars by providing instruction, research opportunities, and mentoring. As a result, the work of diversity and inclusion cannot and should not be done by only one office or individual within a department, and must be integrated into the current work of all faculty and staff. This shift requires appropriate acknowledgements by institutional leadership that this will require some reprioritization of workload demands.

 Andrea Tsatoke, a UC Davis mission continuity planner, and Joan Zimmermann, director of administration of the School of Education
 Andrea Tsatoke, a UC Davis mission continuity planner, and Joan Zimmermann, director of administration of the School of Education

There is a critical need to accurately assess and increase the diversity of faculty, which includes both Academic Senate and Academic Federation faculty positions. Going further, we must acknowledge and engage all those who have an impact on learning, research, and service outcomes—including those who may not directly serve in an instructional capacity. 

As one of the early campuses in the UC system to require diversity statements for all faculty applicants, UC Davis is well-positioned to be a model for our peers. Additionally, as one of the largest employers in the region, UC Davis is positioned to lead in diversity and inclusion excellence as it relates to staff. Members of the staff touch every aspect of the UC Davis mission and have a significant influence on campus productivity and student, faculty, visitor, and patient experience. The University of California has the unique advantage of preparing its own workforce; we can recruit internally for staff and future faculty in one of the most diverse undergraduate and graduate student populations in the nation. 

Federal, state, University of California, and UC Davis mandates are already in place to positively affect the diversity of our institution. However, compliance with these guidelines continues to fall short of expectations, creating a sense of crisis among many members of the campus. Decisive action on existing policies and an awareness of how hiring and promotion decisions affect the university’s composition at the unit and department level, is key to achieving the goals set forth in this strategic vision. Furthermore, engaging all faculty and staff is essential to this effort.

Recruitment and retention must be closely related. Diversity goals for faculty and staff cannot be achieved if objectives related to campus climate, institutional commitment, research, teaching, public service, training, and diversifying the student body fall short and thus jeopardize the retention of a talented workforce. Our diverse workforce embodies many different lifestyles and work-life orientations. Creating a work environment that is flexible and healthy enough to accommodate those diverse needs, that provides universal accessibility, and in which supervisors and peers feel competent working within a diverse community, will help to make UC Davis a desirable workplace for all.

A. Broaden the diversity of faculty and staff by cultivating a diverse pipeline and ensuring that campus policies, departmental incentives, and funding models are aligned to make aggressive progress on hiring goals.
B. Hold every division, college, school, and department accountable for bringing diversity and inclusion excellence into recruitment and hiring practices.
  1. Enforce the mandatory use of diversity statements for hiring decisions at UC Davis and promote consistent use campuswide and systemwide. Create transparent guidelines for using diversity statements in evaluations that rewards both scholarship and service. Expand and adapt the concept to include staff and administrative positions. Example: UC San Diego Diversity Statement policies and guidelines 
  2. In collaboration with units and Human Resources, develop a clear and intentional outreach strategy to increase the pool of diverse and talented candidates with the goal of achieving hiring and retention goals, for example, reviewing job postings to include language that is more inclusive. 
  3. Overcome bias and discrimination in hiring by employing policies and practices that disrupt the status quo. Examples: Strength Through Equity and Diversity (STEAD) Workshops, University of Oregon’s and University of Michigan’s guidelines for faculty search committees
  4. Increase assessment and accountability for pools and yields at the administrative and academic department level. Hold deans, department chairs, and administrative leaders accountable for hiring decisions and for how those decisions are coordinated and communicated to candidates. As much as possible, hiring authorities should diversify Recruitment Advisory Committees (RACs) to ensure diverse perspectives/voices in the assessment of applicants. Example: UC Recruit, Affirmative Action Program for Minorities and Females
  5. Proactively utilize assessment tools such as exit interviews and turnover metrics to understand and act on the reasons behind employee turnover.
C. Ensure that people thrive—for compliance, retention, and improved climate. 
  1. Streamline and improve the communication of diversity and inclusion policies, services, and accomplishments to all prospective and current employees.
  2. Provide robust mentoring and professional development opportunities, especially at critical career and professional transitions. Examples: CAMPOS, Faculty Academic Development Program, UC Davis Launch Committee, UC Davis Graduate School of Management scholarships for UC Davis employees, Mentoring at Critical Transitions
  3. Value efforts that promote participation in mentoring, training, and professional development activities through such strategies as providing release time and rewarding contributions to diversity and inclusion during performance appraisal, merit, and promotion decisions.
  4. Provide incentives for administrative and academic departments to embed diversity and inclusion training, professional development, and education into their activities.
  5. Accept and facilitate a broader range of career options—conventional and unconventional, academic and industry, at the University of California and beyond. Example: UC Career Paths
  6. In consultation with advisory groups, update policies and practices related to accessibility, accommodation, work-life balance, health and wellness, and universal design so that all members of the campus community can thrive and achieve their full potential.

Jump to:
Research, Teaching, Public Service, and Training
Institutional Commitment

You can download a PDF version of the plan here.