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Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Teaching + Learning Commons was founded in 2016 with a vision of advancing student success by transforming educational practices so that all members of our student and faculty communities can thrive. Central to our work is the understanding that institutional “readiness” is best tackled head-on, by addressing educational inequities. Our support for educators is built upon current education principles of deep teaching and inclusive pedagogy. Our services for students likewise address systemic barriers to success through innovation and evidence-informed practice.

Access and Success

Undergraduate Students


The Commons integrates equity and asset-based frameworks into our educational programs that encourage educators to examine how their instructional practices contribute to (or not) equitable outcomes for our students. These instructional practices are incorporated into the Commons’ student-facing academic and co-curricular programs and services for undergraduate and graduate students. Examples include:

Graduate Students


  • Anti-Racist Pedagogy Learning Community A quarter-long learning community for UCSD educators that meets every other week for two hours to discuss ways to unpack anti-blackness and dismantle systemic racism in educational practices.
  • Changemaker Faculty Fellows Program The Commons partners with CSI and the campus Changemaker initiative to provide an opportunity for selected faculty to integrate community-engaged service-learning into their teaching, research, and public service, while being recognized campus leaders in CESL pedagogy. 
  • Creating an Inclusive Classroom workshops The Commons partners with the Center for Advancing Multidisciplinary Scholarship for Excellence in Education (CAMSEE) to offer two half-day workshops to support faculty in learning about immediately implementable and sustainable strategies to cultivate inclusive classrooms, as well as guidance in creating learner-centered syllabi that address the diverse needs of our students. These workshops also aim to increase awareness of the challenges faced by students on our campus and the support resources that are available to address those challenges.
  • Promising Practices in DEI Course Support The Teaching + Learning Commons is researching how learning outcomes are developed and deployed for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) courses at UC San Diego as well as identifying and designing promising practices to support DEI instructors in achieving their outcomes.

Hiring Practices

Since our founding in 2015 we have intentionally and purposely endeavored to attract and retain professional and student staff who are committed to our campus values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to increase representation within our unit for practitioners who are members of groups that have historically been excluded from or marginalized within higher education. From the onset,  we have been strategic and mindful about employing processes to sustain our efforts in this area:

  • Crafting a statement on diversity to include in all job postings (in addition to standard EEO statement),
  • Including vision and leadership around equity, diversity, and inclusion both as an area of responsibility in job cards and as a component of the annual review for all director-level positions, and
  • Introducing screening questions for all applicants which ask about understanding of, and experience enacting, principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Hiring student staff reflective of our student body, in terms of ethnicity, gender, first-gen status, and academic major.

Organizational Culture

 Within our unit, we have taken a deliberative approach for our bi-weekly staff meetings, using this forum to introduce and reinforce our core values (being constructive, collaboration, inclusion, integrity and sustainability) and to foster professional development on topics including equity, diversity, and inclusion. We maintain a rotation (among all professional staff) for leading staff meetings and provide opportunities for members from various subunits to collaborate in structuring and running these meetings. Our goal in developing this structure has been to foster inclusion and to support agency for every member of our team. We also support an EDI workgroup, which serves to identify specific opportunities for goal-setting, training, and professional support.

We have gained valuable feedback during our annual retreat on our progress in supporting a welcoming and inclusive workplace for all employees. We are engaged in discussions to identify means of increasing our accountability in this area, including fostering an environment that supports constructive feedback. In particular, we look forward in the 2019-2020 academic year to undertaking a more systematic assessment of our employees’ experience, by obtaining disaggregated analysis of our staff@work survey data, with support from the EDI unit. 

Campus Community

Given our role in supporting the campus’ educational mission, the Commons is uniquely situated to influence campus culture in the broader university community. As such, it is the center of our work. We provide services directly to faculty and students, and we partner with faculty and staff in programs and units campus-wide. In our educational programs, we utilize equity and asset-based frameworks that encourage educators to examine how their instructional practices support equitable outcomes for students.

Sample underrepresented student utilization statistics (FA18-WI19 reporting period)

  • Across the range of services offered by our Academic Achievement Hub, approximately 30% of participants are from underrepresented groups (Black, Hispanic, or Native American), a figure which compares favorably to the proportion of students eligible (based on course enrollment) for program support (22%) and the proportion of underrepresented students among the campus undergraduate body at large (23%). We see even greater representation (40%) in learning strategy sessions.
  • For one-on-one writing consultations at our Writing Hub, the demographics of undergraduates are approaching campus demographics: 20% of our users are from underrepresented groups. Further analysis helps us to focus our efforts, by identifying modest over-representation among Black students, and underrepresentation among Hispanic students, and especially among first-generation students.
  • As adoption of the Co-Curricular Record (CCR) increases, we see solid and growing participation among students from underrepresented groups. The CCR captures student experiences and competencies developed beyond the classroom, and 34% of those adopting the tool identify as Black, Hispanic, or Native American.
Sample Representation of Commons’ Staff on UC San Diego EDI-Focused Workgroups and Committees