Diversity Science Initiative at UCLA

Diversity Science Initiative at UCLA aims to advance theoretical and research perspectives on underrepresented minority groups in the behavioral sciences. Scholars study topics spanning disparities in health and mental health, bio-behavioral mechanisms explaining disparities, intergroup relations and conflict, social identity and social cognition, and diversity in development across the lifespan and across social contexts. Diversity Science extends behavioral science to understudied populations including racial/ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, individuals with minority sexual orientations, and diverse socio-economic classes. This research can both test the boundaries of current psychological theory and make new discoveries in identifying unique psychological processes relevant to the experiences of minorities.

Toward Improving Persistence in STEM

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
UCLA has established a highly successful mentoring program that enhances the persistence of underrepresented undergraduate students to continue as STEM majors – the Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS). CEILS is coordinating an assessment project that encompasses evaluating the roles that research mentoring and math preparation play in the effectiveness of PEERS. This information is being compiled into an online handbook (http://www.stemprograms.ucla.edu/) made available to academic institutions wishing to replicate this highly successful PEERS program.

Building Inclusive Classrooms Initiative

UCLA Institutional Project
The goal of this project is to identify priorities focusing on educational improvements campus-wide. CEILS is facilitating data collection and analysis in collaboration with multiple campus units.

Teaching Assistant Training Initiative: Preparing Future Faculty to Create Inclusive Classrooms

UCLA Institutional Project
Current training efforts for Teaching Assistants (TAs) in Life Sciences tend to focus on providing fundamental information about classroom management, some experiential learning activities, and opportunities to observe other TAs. By and large, there is insufficient emphasis on the importance of incorporating student-centered pedagogy and addressing diversity issues affecting classroom climate, much less training to put this knowledge into practice. The Life Sciences Division is exploring ways in which to improve TA training and integrate these elements into the graduate student curriculum. Aligned with this initiative is interest in engaging with the CIRTL network, which is a NSF-funded online learning community that promotes the professional development of graduate students and post-docs by using graduate education as a lever to develop future faculty committed to implementing effective and inclusive teaching practices.

Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS)

The UCLA Program for Excellence in Education and Research in the Sciences (PEERS) is 2-year program for incoming freshmen, aimed at engaging students in research and increasing the success and persistence of underrepresented and underserved students in the sciences. PEERS is part of a controlled study, which has shown that PEERS students outperform their counterparts. PEERS students have higher overall GPAs, they take more science classes, have a shorter time-to-degree, they are more likely to engage in undergraduate research, and they are more likely to persist in a science major. Information on PEERS is available to universities who are interested in improving retention and the academic/professional success of undergraduates in STEM.