Vice Chancellor Jerry Kang to Step Down
Chancellor Block sent the following message to UCLA Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Administrative Officers, Faculty, and Staff in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang has informed me that he will step down on June 30, 2020, at the end of his five-year term. While I am pleased that he will return to his role as distinguished professor of law and Asian American studies, his energy, wise counsel and leadership as vice chancellor will be sorely missed.
Diversity has always been fundamental to the mission of UCLA. We created this vice chancellorship in 2014; since Jerry assumed the new role in 2015, he has led and coordinated our efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, staff, faculty, alumni and community partners. As the inaugural vice chancellor, Jerry faced the extraordinary challenge of setting up a new office and oversaw rapid growth and development of the Discrimination Prevention Office and the Title IX Office. Drawing on his expertise in antidiscrimination law, legal procedure and critical race studies, he established formal investigation procedures, pressed for appropriate discipline of faculty misconduct and provided unusual transparency through annual public accountability reports and public summaries.
Jerry also established BruinX, a research and development think tank for the campus that, under Jerry’s leadership, helped ensure greater diversity in UCLA’s faculty hiring. All search committee members now learn about implicit bias through videos that have been viewed more than 200,000 times and are recommended by more than 55 institutions. Recognized systemwide for this work, Jerry has trained search committees hiring for senior positions at UCLA and across the UC system. Additionally, the faculty search process is now guided by the General Campus Faculty Demographics Dashboard, data-driven checkpoints and best practice checklists (PDF) that enhance UCLA’s ability to hire the best faculty from within diverse groups. He has also helped implement a systemwide requirement to consider a candidate’s contributions to equity, diversity and inclusion in the hiring and promotion process.
Through his CrossCheck Live conversations, insightful posts on the EDI website and guidance around free speech issues, Jerry has created national models for how we might teach and learn from one another. Collaborating with other campus leaders, he has helped develop crucial protocols (PDF) and policies that guide how a great public research university should address the inevitable conflicts over controversial speech and protest.
This work was made possible through deep collaboration with fellow administrators, faculty, staff and students. Jerry guided the council of Equity Advisors (drawn from each of the academic units) and collaborated with special advisors to the chancellor on immigration policy and Native American/Indigenous affairs. He worked closely with deans and the provost to hire and retain key faculty, consolidate key programs and stabilize departments. He also backed initiatives that imagined culture change from the bottom up by creating a Student Advisory Board and formalizing grants programs to allocate more than $230,000 in funding to more than 200 student, staff and faculty groups.
Jerry’s vision for the EDI office was to “build equity for all” by holding the entire campus community accountable to those ideals. He has done so with clarity and grace, under at times enormous pressure. The procedures and systems he established will long outlast his tenure. While our efforts remain a work in progress, Jerry has helped to make UCLA a more equitable, diverse and inclusive place, and he will leave us with an institutional map for how we might progress even further. For all of this, I am deeply grateful.
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emily Carter and I intend to launch a national search for Jerry’s successor, and we will soon announce the formation of a search advisory committee.