Sociology professor receives grant to help build a more representative professoriate

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Beginning this fall, incoming School of Social Sciences graduate students will have an opportunity to participate in the Enhancing Diversity and Equitable Inclusion Thriving in the Academy Program. Spearheaded by Belinda Robnett, professor of sociology and associate dean of faculty development and diversity in social sciences, the program is supported by a five-year, $349,996 grant from the UC-Hispanic Serving Institutions Doctoral Diversity Initiative.

“Studies show that nearly across the board, Latinx, African American and Native American graduate students are far more likely than are white graduate students to report feeling research topic discrimination by faculty and students; less social inclusion within their department; less power in their department; like a minority in their department; that the teaching assistance they do is less valued within their department; disrespected by the undergraduate students; and disrespected by a faculty member in a class,” Robnett said.

The program’s small, 15- to 20-student cohort style will be key to its success, she said, particularly as the inaugural group enters graduate school remotely due to COVID-19. Each year, cohorts will attend eight professional development workshops focused on topics ranging from year-by-year graduate school expectations and career goals to selecting, pursuing and presenting high-quality research and best job market practices.