Life Sciences’ Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) was assembled in 2011 to advise the dean on actions that would promote a more inclusive academic culture in Life Sciences, starting with undergraduate education. DAC members include Life Sciences faculty, as well as post-doctoral scholar, graduate student, and undergraduate student representatives.
- In its first year, the DAC advised Dean Sork in the establishment of an innovative hiring strategy: Life Sciences’ Mentor Professor Initiative. This initiative significantly increased the number of faculty leaders in our division who are not just outstanding scientists but who are also committed to mentoring students from diverse backgrounds.
- In 2012, the DAC advised that all Life Sciences faculty members be required to submit their “Contributions to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)” (a document listing their recent contributions to promoting DEI) as part of their promotion process. This shows faculty that the division is accounting for what they are doing to promote DEI in the context of their work. At the time Life Sciences started this practice, it was not required by UCLA, but now it is.
- The DAC recommended that Life Sciences’ departments reduce the weight of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for admissions to their graduate programs, since research has shown that GRE scores are not predictive of a student’s future success, and disadvantage students from diverse backgrounds. The following Life Sciences departments have done away with the GRE requirement: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Integrative Biology and Physiology; Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics; Society and Genetics; and Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology. Since 2013-14, enrollment of domestic underrepresented-minority (URM) graduate students in Life Sciences has increased from 14% to 29% URM. Over the past 5 years, the total number of URM graduate students in Life Sciences has nearly doubled, from 81 in 2015-16 to 153 in 2020-21.