In July 2020, Vice Provost Lisa García Bedolla and fellow Graduate Division staff convened a working group to meet with Black graduate students and hear their concerns and suggestions about increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at Cal.

Using what we heard in that forum, together with what other students and departments have shared with us in the past and the recommendations of the Graduate Diversity Task Force, we worked to co-create a set of concrete initiatives, focused on areas within our purview, that would begin to address needs of graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.

As of July 2021, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve met all the goals outlined, and have addressed some of the structural pipeline challenges to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body. But there is still much work to be done, and our division looks forward to continuing to partner with students and the rest of our campus community to make Cal a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion for graduate students.


Diversity & Community Fellows Program

The inaugural cohort of 18 Diversity and Community Fellows supported their peers by holding office hours for current and prospective students and supporting cross-campus and outreach initiatives through “Anti-Racism in the Academy” events and a “Mardi-Grad Send-Off” for graduating students. A new cohort of 20 fellows began on August 16, 2021.

Graduate Diversity Pilot Program

In July of 2020, the Graduate Division established the Graduate Diversity Pilot Program, awarding a total of $1.5 million in grants to nine departments across campus. This substantial commitment — one of the largest single financial investments toward diversity efforts made by any graduate division in the nation — specifically seeks to support and improve departmental climate for graduate and undergraduate students, staff, faculty (including lecturers), and postdocs; faculty graduate student mentorship; and diversity in graduate outreach and admissions. With the first round of funding, the awardee departments — Architecture, Chemistry (including Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Comparative Literature, Geography, History, Integrative Biology, Linguistics, the School of Information (I School), and Sociology — have begun making progress. Read about each department’s progress.

Supporting Climate-Related Programs Across Campus

The Graduate Division remains committed to collaborating with other units on larger structural changes. Below are a few of these campus collaborations and funding opportunities.

  • The Graduate Division is partnering with Berkeley Engineering’s Empower program to help them expand their programming to more departments and to develop new workshops to advance anti-racism and improve the climate on campus.
  • Through the Dean’s Graduate Diversity Innovation Fund, the Graduate Division has provided financial support to programs to advance anti-racism initiatives in support of graduate student and the department as a whole. Read about how five graduate students in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management used these funds for their course, open to graduate students, faculty and staff.
  • The Black Graduate Collective Fellowship is a joint partnership between Graduate Division and EVCP to support Black graduate students.

Annual Awards in Recognition of Institutional Change

The Graduate Division established an annual award to graduate students acknowledging significant work in creating and/or facilitating anti-racism initiatives within their programs or in support of fellow graduate students. The Graduate Division will be soliciting nominations in Fall 2021 for the inaugural awards.

Professional Development Pipelines

Path to the Professoriate Program

In Fall 2020, the Office for Graduate Diversity launched the Path to the Professoriate Program to engage 40 first-year Ph.D. students from underrepresented backgrounds in workshops and structured activities around demystifying the route in their discipline to the Assistant Professorship and establishing and building a publication pipeline. Participants created individualized roadmaps for their journey to the professoriate as well as individualized publication workflows. Read more about this program.

Future of Higher Education Postdoctoral Fellowships

UC Berkeley launched a new postdoctoral fellowship program designed to expose participants to and prepare them for careers in higher education administration. The Future of Higher Education Postdoctoral Fellowship Program seeks to address the need for career pipelines and pathways beyond the professoriate, and the critical lack of diversity in higher education leadership. We are currently selecting fellows for the 2021-22 postdoc. Read more about this unique postdoctoral fellowship.


The Office for Graduate Diversity hosted or partnered with other campus organizations to host 85 virtual events during the 2020-21 academic year, including 34 events for prospective students, 48 events for current graduate students, 3 events for staff and faculty. More than half of these events were held with external partners (e.g., Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students, Native American Student Development, First-Generation Low-income Graduate Students , Undocumented Students Program, and GradPro).