August 14, 2020
To the Campus Community,
There is no doubt that we are at a historic moment in time and in our nation’s history. CSUN has a role to play in shaping this history and realizing a better, more equitable world. During these past months since the horrific murder of George Floyd, I have heard from many asking for meaningful changes to ensure that CSUN’s Black communities of students, alumni, faculty and staff are supported and for CSUN to expand our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
I have been listening and working with CSUN’s leadership team to create a campus action plan to address the issues and concerns that have been raised. This action plan will address goals such as increasing the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of Black students to increasing our faculty, staff and administrator diversity to providing funding for a wide variety of impactful initiatives. It is truly a cross-divisional endeavor. I look forward to sharing the action plan with you in the coming weeks.
I am pleased to report that across campus numerous areas are also actively working to better understand, strengthen and support our diverse communities. These activities include virtual town halls, workshops and forums; departments, colleges and athletic teams issuing statements supporting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement; training opportunities for faculty and staff; and much more. Here are just a few examples of this transformative and important work:
• The University Student Union has offered and continues to offer a series of anti-racism discussions and healing circles.
• Police Services is working to create a complaint review board and has initiated a comprehensive review of policies and procedures in their department.
• The Black Faculty and Staff Association, CSUN’s California Faculty Association (CFA) chapter, CSUN Academic Professionals of California (APC) and other union representatives have created an anti-racism workshop series for faculty, staff, administrators and students.
Building on these efforts, on behalf of the Cabinet and in partnership with our Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, the Diversity and Equity Innovation Grant (DEIG) Fund has been established. In keeping with CSUN’s mission, goals and longstanding commitment to addressing diversity, equity, access and inclusion, this new grant fund will make available funding to support projects aimed at increasing the presence and participation of traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups.
All members of the CSUN community are invited to submit proposals that assist the campus in achieving its goal of becoming a more inclusive and equitable environment for learning, student support, research, service and outreach. Eligible applicants include faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni and auxiliary employees. Some projects will be funded for one year, but in support of true institutional transformation, projects that require more than one year of funding will also be considered and renewal funding requests will be considered in future years if renewal applications are received.
The inaugural grant period will begin with grant proposals that will be accepted beginning today and will continue until September 30, 2020. Grant awards will be made on or about October 15, 2020. The grant funds must be spent/encumbered on or before June 30, 2021, and a final report on the outcome(s) of the project is due on or before August 31, 2021. During this inaugural year, proposals that impact the recruitment, retention and inclusion of African American/Black students, faculty and staff are especially encouraged.
Each submission will be reviewed by the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion and grant awards will be made following consideration by the President’s Cabinet. Collaborative projects are encouraged and more information about the type of projects contemplated as well as the grant scoring rubric is available at https://www.csun.edu/commission-on-diversity/diversity-equity-innovation-grant.
Again, I will be sharing more details on the campus action plan in the coming weeks and look forward to the launch of the Diversity and Equity Innovation Grant Fund. Together, we can continue to be the spark that drives change and helps increase social justice for our campus, nation and the world.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.