Our Commitment to Equity and Inclusion
The UC College of Arts and Sciences supports and celebrates a diverse community
Because we value the race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and religious diversity of our students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community, the College of Arts and Sciences holds diversity, equity, and inclusion among our core values. In support of this commitment, the College of Arts and Sciences provides resources and programming that inform research, teaching, learning, advising, and mentoring in the college and other communities where we are engaged.
Mission Statement, College of Arts and Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Council
Diversity in the Curriculum
More than 100 A&S faculty pursue research in social justice and inclusion across disciplinary lines, and bring that research to the classroom, engaging students with challenging questions around social disparities, immigration, racism, the legal system, human rights and educational processes.
A&S students have the opportunity to explore issues related to equity and inclusion as they impact individuals and society, yesterday and today, in courses from Human Rights in History to Feminist Theory to Sociology of Hip Hop. Recent additions to our ever-evolving curriculum include a certificate program in social justice, a certificate program in human rights, and a major in international affairs.
Departments Lead the Way in Embracing Inclusion
A&S has long sought to address issues of access and success, educational experiences and opportunities, scholarship and climate for underrepresented students. Fall 2015, the Diversity Liaisons became the A&S Diversity & Inclusion Council to include faculty, staff and student members. The Council provides the Dean with recommendations on diversity, equity and inclusion; develops goals and objectives that advance diversity and inclusion; provides diversity resources to departments and units throughout the College; and, actively seeks to ensure that A&S is an inclusive and welcoming community.
In 2005, the A&S Department of Chemistry developed a strategic plan to increase diversity in the study of chemistry at UC. It has since created the Graduate Consortium for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry, and in 2016 the department won UC’s first-ever Provost Exemplary Department Award for making inclusion an integral part of its work—and its success.
As of 2016, the Chemistry department already had nearly double the number of female faculty, triple the number of African American faculty and close to quadruple the number of Hispanic faculty of its national peers. Eight of the department’s last 16 faculty hires have been female, Hispanic or African-American, which far exceeds national averages.
In 2018, the Department of English and Comparative Literature earned the Provost Exemplary Department Award for its effort in graduate student recruitment and retention, particularly for underrepresented students.
Through the Department of Africana Studies, students are encouraged to the explore many dimensions of African and African American experiences through both research and scholarship, because the faculty believe that the task of bringing about needed changes in this society rests with those who are intellectually prepared. The late Dr. Terry Kershaw, previous head of the department, coined the term “scholar-activist,” and used it to encourage students to get involved, and to make a positive difference in the community with their education. UC’s history of scholar-activism dates back to 1892, when Charles Henry Turner, zoologist and scholar, became the first African American to graduate from the university.
As one of the oldest and most respected academic programs of its kind, the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) remains on the cutting edge of this movement. Through its path-breaking Master’s Degree, its innovative MA/JD joint degree in WGSS and Law, its graduate certificate, and its popular undergraduate major and minor, students gain a broad and in-depth understanding of women's, gender and sexuality issues.
The Department of Sociology has a long track record of training students for academic and research careers in the public, nonprofit and for-profit sectors. With a specialization in the study of social inequality, the faculty focus on community and urban, health and medical, race and ethnicity, and gender and family. Sociologists for Women in Society have consistently recognized the department for gender scholarship.
Making an Impact in the Community
The Cincinnati Project (TCP) was founded to connect researchers in the College with marginalized people and the agencies that serve marginalized people in order to create a more equitable Cincinnati. Professors and students work with community members to conduct and communicate research that helps community groups achieve their goals. The Cincinnati Project also provides connections between policy makers and professors, who share their expertise on topics like health and housing.
In its first 2 ½ years, approximately 400 faculty and students have partnered with approximately 30 community agencies to engage in research projects that benefit the community partners’ needs, including access to quality health care, hunger and nutrition, reproductive health and more.
“The Cincinnati Project is growing quickly as we have developed relationships that lead to productive collaboration,” says Jennifer Malat, Professor of Sociology and co-founder of TCP. “We are proud to work with community organizers, community groups, local funding organizations, and local governments to foster a more just Cincinnati.
“As we move forward, the value of our contribution to Cincinnati will continue to grow as the strength of our relationships grows. The Cincinnati Project, and the College of Arts & Sciences in general, is just one piece of making a better Cincinnati. Being connected to leaders on the ground and to those with policymaking power helps us see how we can best connect our skills to broader justice work in the city.”
Another important way the college partners with its surrounding community is through the Cincinnati Public Schools Community Scholars Program. Through it, A&S automatically admits the top 10 percent of every graduating class from every Cincinnati Public School and three other neighboring schools serving our local community. These students now participate in the Running Start summer program and will partner with college success coaches.
Organizations Unify Faculty, Student Groups
The University of Cincinnati has a rich heritage of inclusion, and out of that history has grown a variety of organizations that seek to foster equity on campus and within our university community. The College of Arts and Sciences faculty, staff and students have been—and continue to be—instrumental in helping these organizations form and flourish.
For more than quarter century, the African American Cultural and Resource Center (AARC) has served as a resource for enlightenment about the Black experience and for a variety of organizations both on campus and in the Greater Cincinnati community. The AACRC helps prepare students to become effective leaders, and plays a key role in the mission of the university by influencing academic excellence through programming, providing connections, building community relationships and recruiting and retaining students.
In 2016, the Black Faculty Association was formed to help unify and enhance the morale of black faculty across campus. “Our organization has had a chance to really examine the unique challenges that face black faculty at the university, and develop strategies to alleviate these hurdles,” said James Mack, co-chair and associate dean of the graduate school, and professor of Chemistry. The group serves to leverage the skills and interests of existing faculty to provide networking, mentoring and support for recruitment, retention, tenure and promotion.
In order to support black women staff members on campus, and to help establish a culture of social justice and change, Black Women on the Move seeks to empower women and develop lasting professional and personal relationships. Black Women on the Move counts among its values: Networking, collaboration, inclusion, mentoring, professional development and more.
Established in 2017, The Latino Faculty Association is dedicated to creating a supportive environment for full-time Latino faculty. Providing opportunities to develop a forum for discussion and actions related to concerns of the Latino population on campus, The Latino Faculty Association strives to create an environment that values Latinos as an essential component of UC’s diverse community.
The LGBTQ Center enhances the campus community for LGBTQ students and their allies through intentional advocacy, providing a safe space, intersectional programming, and access to culturally relevant resources. Supported in part by the A&S Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department, the center is committed to bringing to life a community where LGBTQ people and allies are appreciated, safe and included in the entire UC experience.
The UC Women’s Center (UCWC), one of the oldest continually operating university women’s centers in the US, was established in 1978 to promote the personal, political, professional, and intellectual growth of women students at UC. Through its programs and services, UCWC strives to challenge gender inequities and advance the rights of all women through elevating student activism and leadership, bridging feminist theory and praxis, building mentorship and community networks, cultivating collaborative relationships with campus and community partners, and amplifying student voices.
The University of Cincinnati Diversity and Inclusion Policy
The University of Cincinnati embraces diversity and inclusion as core values that empower individuals to transform their lives and achieve their highest potential. Find out more about the University-wide policy here.