One America - Principles of Community, UC Davis

Program: Principles of Community, UC Davis, Davis, CA
Contact(s): Janet C. Gong, Assistant Vice Chancellor - Student Affairs: (530) 752-8787
Purpose: To promote diversity, equity, community and understanding across and among cultural groups at the University of California, Davis

Background Program Operations Outcomes

Background

As one of the nine campuses of the University of California, the Davis campus (UC Davis) believes that the pursuit of, and support for, a diverse community is an integral part of its commitment to excellence. In enacting this commitment, UC Davis' students, staff, faculty and alumni have developed an array of guiding documents and programs focused on diversity awareness and education. Some of these programs are the Principles of Community, Office of Campus Diversity, Cross Cultural Center and Cultural Days Programs. These practices collectively play a prominent role in demonstrating that the campus remains committed to building a "true community of spirit and purpose, which is based on mutual respect and caring."

Program Operations

In 1990, UC Davis created, and in 1996 reaffirmed, the "Principles of Community" (Principles) as a fundamental declaration of its institutional values. The Principles established an expectation of how the campus will operate as a community. The Principles represent the multiple constituent groups of the campus (university administration, the academic senate, student governance and staff leadership), and articulate a collective commitment to equity, access, diversity and freedom of expression, while rejecting all forms of discrimination and hatred. The document is unique in its form and quality, and is widely distributed in visible, symbolic locations to function as a tool for action. The statement is used as a resource in student orientation and first year programs, student leadership development, residential education, student employment and professional workplace settings, and numerous training initiatives. Most importantly, it functions as a constitutional statement from which annual goals and objectives can be developed by departments and student organizations. The Office of Campus Diversity (OCD) operates as a critical agency within the Provost's Office at UC Davis. OCD is charged with promoting a host of multicultural education and diversity awareness programs. One of its most innovative efforts is a training program which develops a cadre of facilitators prepared to offer workshops on diversity within their own departments or campus organizations. These facilitators extend OCD's reach to all corners of the campus in ways that promote dialogue and "real-life" application of diversity into the workplace and the classroom. The program for facilitators requires an intensive two-day training and a six-hour follow-up session. Workshops include 16-20 participants and initially focus on examining self-perceptions, stereotypes and common problems in the workplace. The curriculum also provides facilitators with content and format ideas for the workshops that they lead. The UC Davis Cross Cultural Center (Center) was established in 1990 in response to the students' need to promote understanding and appreciation for the many races and ethnic traditions, which make up the UC Davis community. This "student center," coordinates diversity and cross-cultural communication efforts. The Center coordinates annual forums featuring nationally known scholars, allocates grants to student organizations and establishes programmatic partnerships with faculty members whose curriculum includes issues of race or intercultural relations. Lastly, students actively participate in promoting diversity through the Cultural Days Programs which, although occurring throughout the year, are featured during each Spring Quarter. These events focus on both cultural heritage and current social issues, and often include a week of activity and celebration. To develop the Cultural Days Programs, students organize planning committees within each of their ethnic or cultural communities. Staff and faculty function as mentors and the Student Programs and Activities Center provides administrative and funding support. In addition to the activities of each group, the Cultural Days student interns can work together to focus on multicultural awareness. Last spring, the groups staged a Multicultural Children's Fair as part of the UC Davis open house attended by 40,000 visitors.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Operating continuously since 1979, the Cultural Days are planned and implemented completely by students and offer service learning opportunities. Nearly ten years old, the Cross Cultural Center has helped to create a climate where the complex societal issues of race, ethnicity and identity can be discussed openly, respectfully and intelligently. The Center sponsored a mini-conference, "Race Relations: Taking Action for the New Millennium," in response to the President's Initiative on Race. The UC Davis community works collectively to create a climate in which the complex societal issues of race, ethnicity, gender and other cultural differences can be discussed openly and respectfully. Most importantly, UC Davis utilizes the educational framework of the University to foster habits of lifelong learning and citizenship in all of its students.



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