How is diversity defined?

The charge to the ad hoc Faculty Committee that developed the requirement was that the goals of the requirement should emerge from an expansive view of diversity. As part of the process, the ad hoc Faculty Committee sought input from the student advisory group and from individuals who attended meetings for faculty (May 2 & May 8 – see list of meetings/outreach efforts). The committee considered the UCLA Principles of Community and the recent Campus Climate Survey report; and received feedback from the College Faculty Executive Committee (May 31) and the Undergraduate Council (June 16 – see list of meetings/outreach efforts). This process resulted in the first criterion for fulfilling the proposed Diversity Requirement:

“Courses must substantially address conditions, experiences, perspectives, and/or representations of at least two groups using difference frames that include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, language, nationality, citizenship status and/or place of origin.”

Why is a diversity requirement needed?

Simply stated: To better prepare UCLA students for the increasingly diverse and interdependent campus and world that they inhabit and will lead.

The recent campus climate survey  demonstrates that there is a need for better preparation for our UCLA students. For example, 24% of respondents (n = 3,946) believed that they had personally experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct. Significantly, a higher percentage of ethnic and racial minority respondents and LGBQ respondents reported experiencing this conduct as compared to their majority counterparts. In addition, underrepresented minority respondents and multi-minority respondents were less comfortable than white respondents and other people of color respondents with the overall climate and the workplace climate. White respondents were more comfortable with the climate in their classes than other racial groups.

Research indicates that exposing students to courses with diversity content leads to a reduction of prejudice, an increase in civic behaviors, and greater cognitive gains (click on the “Research on Diversity” tab for details). This College diversity initiative is a step towards furthering UCLA values and improving campus climate, equality, and social justice.

What is the history of diversity initiatives in the College?

As recommended in a series of Academic Senate Resolutions passed on May 18, 1993, UCLA has made considerable progress over the last two decades in its efforts to incorporate “multiculturalism” into its curriculum. Perhaps the clearest example of this is the diversity requirement that the School of Arts and Architecture initiated for its student body in 2007. Faculty members from this school also identified an extensive and highly diverse list of courses in the university catalogue, which they believe introduce their students to the multicultural, transnational, and global nature of contemporary society.

Similarly, two College faculty ad hoc committees charged with developing a diversity requirement within the College’s General Education curriculum identified well over 100 courses from the university’s common GE course list that they believed would help ground students in the realities of a multicultural, transnational, and global society, as well as provide them with tools for studying the complexity of diverse communities defined by characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, age, and others. Finally, the College’s Division of Undergraduate Education is currently working to expand the array of community-based service learning and internship courses, as well as specially designed Fiat Lux seminars, which are specifically aimed at introducing undergraduates to the many different populations with whom they live and work in and around UCLA. Given this already diversity rich curriculum at UCLA, we do not believe that the proposed requirement would in any way impede student degree progress.

I have an idea for a new course that might fulfill this diversity initiative. Will there be a process for proposing and developing new diversity initiative courses?

YES! A process will be developed encourage development of new courses for the diversity initiative. Furthermore, there will be resources for new course development (see EVC Waugh’s letter of commitment).

Who benefits from this College Diversity Requirement?

Although this College Diversity Initiative focuses on College undergraduate curriculum, undergraduates are not the sole beneficiaries of this initiative. By providing the pedagogical framework for better understanding diversity and the roles that it plays in society, the benefits accrued to thousands of College undergraduates each year will extend to the UCLA campus community as a whole and to future colleagues and employers of UCLA College undergraduates.

Can courses from other institutions satisfy the diversity requirement?

Transfer students entering the College of Letters and Science at UCLA in Fall 2017 and after will have to satisfy the undergraduate Diversity Requirement in the College of Letters and Science. The ad hoc Diversity Requirement Committee recognizes that, as with many of their courses, transfer students may petition to have a course taken outside of UCLA to count for the Diversity Requirement. As such, the committee offers the following guidance regarding articulation of non-UCLA courses for the Diversity Requirement:

  • In 2015-16, the Diversity Requirement Committee consulted with the Office of College Academic Advising regarding petitions for diversity credit, establishing “norms” for review and approval/denial of these petitions.
  • After this initial period, approval authority for petitions for diversity credit was released to the College’s “conveners,” as are other petitions for articulated credit. Only courses that are first accepted for UCLA credit in general will be eligible to receive diversity credit.
  • The conveners will apply the same criteria as the Diversity Requirement Committee, namely:
    • At least 35% of the course must address diversity content (50% of classroom time if the course is a service learning or field course)
    • Courses fulfilling the Diversity Requirement provide a minimum of four units and are expected to meet the following criteria:
      1. Course should be designed to include a focus on the structures, processes, and practices that generate inter-group inequities or conflicts as well as those that support fairness and inclusiveness. Course material must substantially addresses conditions, experiences, perspectives, and/or representations of at least two groups, using different frames that include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion,disability, age, language, nationality, citizenship status and/or place of origin.
      2. Course assessments must incorporate the analytical skills students need to develop critical and reflective perspectives on diversity and difference within domestic and/or global spheres.

Note that the course syllabus (e.g., course description, learning outcomes, reading list, weekly topics) and assessments (e.g., papers, projects, exams) need to explicitly explain to students how the course meets criteria for the Diversity Requirement. Therefore, syllabi will need to be submitted along with a blue petition  to the Counseling Unit.

Can my department submit a "batch" of courses for consideration?

Many departments at UCLA offer a curriculum that, prima facie, satisfies the criteria of the new undergraduate Diversity Requirement for students in the College of Letters and Science. In light of this, the ad hoc Diversity Requirement Committee offers the following guidance regarding “batch” submissions of multiple courses for diversity credit:

  • As an exception to the one “Diversity Course Information Sheet” (Info Sheet) per submission rule, departments may bundle together syllabi for courses that constitute a single, thematic sequence and provide a single Info Sheet for this group of courses.
  • Single Info Sheets submitted for multiple courses must reference each individual course (number and title)
  • These “batches” of courses must be thematically similar enough to justify the submission of only one diversity Info Sheet.
    • Similarly themed courses include:
      • Course with the same root title
      • Courses in sequence (such as 1,2,3, etc.)
  • The ad hoc Diversity Requirement Committee may reach out to the department to request additional Info Sheets if their review proves too difficult with the single sheet submitted.
  • As a reminder, at least 30% of each course’s content must address diversity content. “Diversity content” is defined using the following criteria:
    1. Course must substantially address conditions, experiences, perspectives, and/or representations of at least two groups using difference frames that include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, language, nationality, citizenship status and/or place of origin.
    2. Course must incorporate analytical skills needed to develop critical and reflective perspectives on diversity and difference within domestic and/or global spheres. The course should include a focus on the structures, processes, and practices that generate inter-group inequities or conflicts as well as those that support fairness and inclusiveness.

Can online UCLA courses satisfy the diversity requirement?

In light of the many varieties of online courses currently offered at UCLA and in the university environment in general, the ad hoc Diversity Requirement Committee offers the following guidance regarding online courses satisfying the Diversity Requirement in the College of Letters and Science:

  • “Online” courses will be defined according to the Undergraduate Council’s UCLA Policy on the Approval of Fully Online Undergraduate Courses (available here). Namely:
    • “Fully online” courses are those that use online contact hours and offer less than 1 hour of pedagogically significant in-person contact each week.
    • “Hybrid” courses are those that use a mixture of online and in-person contact hours. The most common model is the “flipped” classroom, in which lectures are delivered online and discussions are held in person.
  • A key goal of the diversity requirement is that “students develop a set of cognitive skills that can be applied in future settings.” (Report from the Diversity Initiative Implementation Committee Sept. 2014; p. 5) This development, which comes through an examination of structures, processes, and practices that generate inequalities or conflicts or support fairness and inclusiveness, in an interactive process, and is best achieved during in-person interactions with an instructor.
  • “Hybrid” course submissions that demonstrate that promote interaction, discussion, reflection, and analysis about diversity during their in-person class time will be considered for diversity credit on a case-by-case basis.
  • “Fully Online” course submissions must also demonstrate that interaction, discussion, reflection, and analysis will be achieved throughout the class. A thorough description of the online interactive methods planned for the class should be provided in the syllabus or should accompany the syllabus and Diversity Requirement Course Information Sheet (cover sheet). These submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.