I am committed to promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity in the academy at every stage in the academic pipeline. The breadth of my work in this area has taken the shape of several multiyear collaborative projects engaging students and scholars at many campuses. The bulk of my work focuses on marginalization in philosophy, however, more generally, I am an advocate for and emerging specialist on graduate student mentorship and professionalization, especially with regards to pursuing careers outside of the academy. Using every avenue available to teachers and scholars at the University of California, I promote diversity through my teaching, research and service, developing initiatives that create inclusive access points to pipelines for academic success.
In philosophy, the pipeline problem is well documented. One of the earliest bottlenecks appears at the stage of recruiting members of underrepresented groups into the philosophy major. My five years as an Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl coach constitute my largest contribution to undergraduate outreach and recruitment efforts. Ethics Bowl is a debate-style competition where undergraduates learn how to use philosophical argumentation to discuss contemporary social issues. Because I ask students to adopt “middle of the road” views, which demonstrate an appreciation of a broad range of perspectives, those with inflammatory views tend not to participate. As a result, I have attracted a diverse range of students who regularly feel alienated in the philosophy classroom or while participating in other philosophy clubs, making Ethics Bowl an excellent forum for recruiting and training students in philosophy who otherwise might not have considered the major. Several of my former Ethics Bowl students, all women of color, have entered philosophy PhD programs, and I continue to mentor them as they navigate the challenges of graduate school.
Because barriers to recruitment in philosophy often stem from a general lack of familiarity with philosophy as a discipline prior to undergraduate, I am also working in the Santa Barbara community to develop a Regional High School Ethics Bowl Program, with the aim of exposing low-income students to the practical value of philosophy before they attend college. My recent work with High School Ethics Bowl is conducted in collaboration with Jon Ellis, at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Public Philosophy, and is supported by the $30,000 UC Humanities Research Institute [UCHRI] Engaging Humanities Grant. This project is also apart of the National High School Ethics Bowl/Minorities and Philosophy [MAP] collaboration, and we have received supplemental funding from the Marc Sanders Foundation.
Members of underrepresented groups in philosophy also bottleneck at the threshold of graduate school. To address this, I joined a team of philosophers at UCSD during my first two years as a PhD student, to develop and implement the UCSD Summer Program for Women in Philosophy [SPWP]. Alongside other PhD students, I mentored undergraduates on applying to PhD programs and navigating the first two years of graduate school. I now have the good fortune to call a number of women from SPWP my colleagues, all of whom point to SPWP as a deciding factor in their decision to earn the PhD in philosophy.
Once members of underrepresented groups enter PhD programs, they often require additional support to complete the dissertation in a timely manner. I have mentored many PhD students in philosophy and other fields. To demystify the processes of earning the PhD and completing the dissertation, I established weekly writing groups, encouraging them to share their work early and often. In my experience,the inability to seek feedback is a roadblock to completing. I also advocate for effective graduate student professionalization and advising. As a member of the UCHRI Graduate Advisory Committee, I worked with a multi-campus interdisciplinary team of PhD students to develop one of the most successful models for graduate student professionalization in the nation. We established the importance of fully involving graduate students in understanding what services are required and how best make these services attractive. The model entirely restructured the way Berkeley and UCLA approach career counseling for humanities PhDs. My efforts were recognized by the UCSB Graduate Student Association with the Dixon-Levy Service Award.
To enrich the educational experience for members of underrepresented groups in my department,I founded UCSB’s chapter of MAP. As UCSB’s regional representative, I co-coordinated SoCal MAP, a large-scale multi-campus collaboration across six major universities in Southern California. SoCal MAP established a supportive network of similarly minded philosophy PhD students, working together to collectively address inequity in the discipline. SoCal MAP is now an international model for successful collaborations between MAP chapters, a result I take pride in. Consider just two of our many successes. I proposed, and, for the last four years, co-organized the SoCal MAP Regional Workshop, mobilizing over 100 philosophy PhD students in Southern California to meet and discuss issues associated with underrepresentation in philosophy. At these workshops, we work on a broad range of issues, such as critiquing the cannon of western philosophy, creating inclusive syllabi, understanding implicit bias, and best practices for the philosophy classroom. The SoCal MAP Regional Workshop was the yearly capstone of the Multi-Campus Working Group on Philosophy and Inclusive Pedagogy, which UCHRI supported with $10,000. In addition, I coordinate SPEECH (SoCal Philosophy Exchange for Expanding Career Horizons), which is an intercollegiate graduate colloquium for Philosophy PhD students who are members of marginalized groups or who work on marginalized philosophies in Southern California. We offer opportunities for graduate students to present research and workshop papers, while providing funding for travel expenses. Sponsored by MAP UCSB, SPEECH is funded by the APA Fund for Diversity and Inclusiveness.
For those underrepresented philosophers who earn their PhDs and successfully gain employment in full-time faculty positions, things do no get any easier as they climb the professional ladder. The next bottleneck in the professional pipeline is tenure and promotion. As the Co-Director of the Demographics in Philosophy Project, I conduct research to identify tools for alleviating the academic pipeline problem in philosophy. Most recently, we have collaborated with journal editors, and many other invested parties, to develop a tool-kit for inclusive editorial practices in philosophy journals, since publication is central to hiring, tenuring, and promotion in academia. Our newest project focuses best-practices for creating an inclusive departmental climate. Both projects received sponsorship by APA committees for presentation at the Pacific APA (Spring 2018 and 2019), and our work has been featured on the APA Blog as well as Daily Nous. I have one publication in this area, R&Rs at Ethics and Ergo, and additional papers in the pipeline.
These endeavors show that I am committed to promoting equity, inclusion, and diversity in the academy, and the discipline of philosophy in particular. I make contributions at every stage in the academic pipeline, from undergraduate recruitment to hiring,tenuring, and promoting full-time philosophy faculty. I would show the same level of commitment to supporting fellow faculty and students in my new academic communities (after finding professional employment).