We are committed to building and maintaining a healthy intellectual and professional community, which works for all its members. The health of this community requires that everyone in the department shares a sense of belonging, mutual respect, and responsibility for our community. Be mindful of your surroundings and the people around you. If you witness unacceptable behavior, speak up when it happens and/or report it afterward.
The UCI Philosophy community does not tolerate discrimination in any form, especially with respect to sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion, national origin, health or physical ability.
All members of the department are expected to treat others with respect and consideration at all times. Be considerate, respectful, collaborative, and constructive in your interactions with others.
Unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to the following:
o Any conduct which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
o Physical, verbal or psychological abuse of anyone, including students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, staff or visitors.
o Disparaging comments related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical and mental disability, physical appearance, age, socio-economic status, veteran status, race, creed, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital or domestic partnership status, or other protected characteristics.
o Harassment, intimidation or discrimination in any form.
o Unwelcome physical contact.
o Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images or discussion of private sexual experiences that would be deemed offensive to a reasonable person.
To support the department’s efforts with respect to these issues, we have created a departmental committee on diversity and inclusiveness, which includes both faculty members and graduate student representatives. In addition, the department also has appointed a DECADE Faculty Mentor, who supports the graduate student community, with a special focus on supporting graduate students from groups that are underrepresented in philosophy. The current DECADE Mentor is TBA, who will also chair the diversity and inclusiveness committee.
For more on UCI’s efforts to support a diverse, healthy and inclusive community see:
For the APA’s resources on diversity and inclusion, see:
Guidelines for Respectful Discussion
The use of these guidelines should typically be announced by a chair and/or determined in advance by the group. If the guidelines are perceived to be violated, the chair is encouraged to gently point this out, either at the time or later. There can be reasonable disagreement about violations, but debate is best left until afterwards. Violating these guidelines does not make one a bad person – violations of these guidelines should be treated as an opportunity to improve behavior.
1. Respectful Interaction
• Be respectful.
• Don’t be incredulous, roll your eyes, make faces, laugh at a participant, or start side conversations.
• Don’t present objections as flat dismissals; always leave open the possibility that there’s a response.
• Don’t speak over others, especially toward the beginning of an exchange (later in a long exchange or a long speech, there can be more room for back and forth with interruption, but it’s always good to let people get their point out first).
• Try to acknowledge your interlocutor’s insights as well as those of previous contributors.
2. Constructive Interaction
• Objections are fine, but it’s also always helpful to build on a speaker’s project. And objections can often be cast in a constructive way. Indeed, even destructive objections can often be usefully accompanied by a positive insight suggested by the target work.
• If you find yourself thinking that the project is worthless and there is nothing to be learned from it, think twice before asking your question.
• It’s ok to question the presuppositions of a project or an area, but discussions in which these questions dominate can be unhelpful.
• There’s no need to keep pressing the same objection (individually or collectively) until the speaker concedes the point. Understand that Q&A may not always be the best time to fully develop a response to some objection. Respect the fact that even very intelligent people think at different speeds “in the moment”.
• Remember that philosophy isn’t a winner-takes-all, zero-sum game.
• Don’t dominate the discussion (partial exception for the speaker). Be conscious of how much you are speaking and whether others have had a chance to speak.
• Try not to let your question (or your answer) run on forever. Raise one question per question (follow-ups developing a line of thought are often ok, but questions on separate topics can wait). When possible, try to save further discussion until after the Q&A or until everyone has had a chance to speak.
• It’s often extremely helpful to ask a question that you think may be unsophisticated or uninformed.
• Don’t use unnecessarily offensive or potentially triggering examples.
• Chairs should attempt to balance discussion between participants, prioritizing people who haven’t spoken before, and keeping in mind the likelihood of various biases (e.g. implicit gender biases) when calling on questioners and applying these guidelines.
Note: this content on Respectful Discussions is largely based on the NYU guidelines, https://as.nyu.edu/departments/philosophy/climate/initiatives/nyu-guidelines-for-respectful-philosophical-discussion.html
Studies have shown that all students benefit from learning in a diverse environment in which all students participate freely in discussion. In order to promote diversity and inclusiveness in their teaching, instructors (including TA’s) are encouraged to:
1. Create an inclusive learning environment and make use of teaching techniques that promote the equal and balanced participation of students. Be aware that there might be students in your class that have difficulties participating due to a variety of reasons, including some connected to their social identities, language barriers, and personal issues. Do not force students to participate, but adopt method that facilitate participation without anxiety, such as structured group activities, small group discussions, silent assignments, anonymous peer reviewing, and online discussions. Small group and collaborative projects, for instance, encourage non-competitive discussion and learning and cross-cultural communication, especially if assigned across racial/ethnic or gender lines.
2. Be aware of implicit biases and adopt methods that help avoid them. Instructors can hold explicit and implicit assumptions about students’ capability for academic success, often tied to students’ social identities. Such assumptions affect students’ success. Examples are biases concerning the intellectual abilities, learning styles, and behavior of students of certain backgrounds, connecting accents and/or substandard writing capacities to lack of intellectual capacities, treating students with physical disabilities as if they also had mental disabilities, or assuming that students who need help will reach out for help. Techniques that help avoid implicit biases include self-assessing one’s biases (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html), anonymous grading when possible, and getting students’ feedback through surveys or mid-term evaluations.
3. Be aware of and avoid microaggression on your part; stop microaggression between students if you notice it or it is brought to your attention. Microaggression in the classroom can assume many forms, from misspelling and mispronouncing students’ names repeatedly, to improper ways of addressing students, from calling on students of different genders and races unequally, to connecting people’s abilities to their social identities. A useful list of common microaggressions can be found here: http://ucioie.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Microaggressions_Examples_2014_11_19.pdf
4. Educate students toward respectful learning activities and discussions. You might include a few lines on this in the syllabus and explicitly address the issue during class. Topics might include how to interact respectfully and constructively with each other, appropriate and inappropriate behavior in class, respectful disagreement, learning from differences, being aware of and opposing stereotypes, implicit biases, and microaggressions. In particular, instructors are invited to be aware of typical gender dynamics in classroom discussions, to encourage underrepresented minorities to speak, and to discourage a few voices from dominating the debate, when this happens. When instructors notice disrespectful interactions taking place, it can be helpful for the instructor to shield students by restating their questions and concerns so as to mediate the interactions between students.
5. Acknowledge racial, class or cultural differences in the classroom, and when discussing sensitive or controversial issues, anticipate emotional responses and sometimes conflict. If the situation creates hostility or disrespect, the instructor may need to intervene and remind students of rules of appropriate behavior; instructors should do so in a manner that helps students see the “learning moment” that the conflict provides.
6. Use inclusive language. This includes avoiding the use of masculine pronouns for both males and females during lectures and in teaching materials; avoiding or explaining American idioms for non-native English speakers; making use of different and non-stereotypical examples in lectures and teaching materials; encouraging students to make their gender pronouns explicit, if they wish (without asking them to do if they do not feel comfortable); possibly adding the instructor’s own gender pronouns to their email signature and LMS accounts (e.g. Canvas).7. Ensure the accessibility of your teaching materials, including files in word, pdf, power point and other formats, and videos. Examples are the use of recommended fonts, the addition of alternative text descriptions to images, the respect of contrast ratio requirement for colors, and the availability of captions and/or transcripts for videos. A checklist of accessibility requirements and recommendations is available through the DTEI website (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SCWY4f0XTb7ob-MiAYruGWESvnj-PLB21k_zyuWWH_w/edit#heading=h.i7en8n5vfrts).
In order to promote diversity and inclusiveness in their syllabi, instructors are encouraged to:
1. Include a diversity statement, possibly at the beginning of the syllabus. In it, instructors may both mention UCI’s and the Department of Philosophy’s commitment to diversity and inclusiveness and specify how their course helps to fulfill that commitment. The Department’s own diversity statement (which we need to prepare and attach to this document) may be used for the first part. Regarding the specific course, the statement should explain how the course values students’ diverse backgrounds and respects diversity in terms of gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture; how it fosters an inclusive learning environment, facilitates collaborative activities, promotes full accessibility to all materials, etc., depending on how the instructor plans to engage with these aims. The instructor may also invite students to become active agents in establishing and maintaining a respectful learning environment.
2. Incorporate diverse perspectives in the course contents by expanding bibliography and reading list beyond white male authors, as far as possible. This applies both to “classical” thinkers, to whom it is recommended to add other, maybe neglected authors or at least contemporary commentators, as well as to more recent authors and topics, for which it is probably easier to find female and minority representatives. The ideal is to achieve a representative balance with respect to the relevant readings (e.g. in the context of a standard class, instructors could aim for at least 50% of the reading list being texts written by non-male and/or non-white authors). The syllabus might also acknowledge the history of exclusion of people with marginalized identities and different backgrounds in the discipline, and/or explain why authors from such marginalized groups are present or lacking in the reading list. For some resources for syllabus construction, see:
3. Diversify course materials such as Power Point Slides, Videos, Word files, and lectures themselves by including examples, case studies, and images from a variety of human experiences and backgrounds, representing different perspectives in counter-stereotypical ways. For instance, use same-sex couples as examples of married couples, swap stereotypical representations of jobs or hobbies for males/females and for people of different ethnicities, include images of non-binary sex identities and of people with disabilities.
4. Include assignments and activities that promote an equal participation of students and encourage sharing one’s experiences and culture in a safe environment of mutual respect. Group projects are a good example. Be sure that group activities, projects, or assignments are structured with roles and instructions aimed at favoring the participation of everyone, preventing discrimination, and avoiding the emergence of few prevailing voices over others.
5. Privilege anonymity in grading whenever possible, in order to neutralize implicit biases on the instructor’s part. Explain this choice to students by explicitly addressing implicit biases, their pervasiveness, the near-impossibility of being aware of them, and the importance of adopting techniques and methods that prevent them. If anonymity conflicts with the possibility of giving feedback to students while they are working on their assignments, include assignments that do not require personalized feedback, and/or discuss the issue with students themselves, allowing them to have a say in your decision.
6. Make the course syllabus as accessible as possible to all students by providing multiple means of engagement, representation, and action & expression, according to the principles of Universal Design for Learning (http://udlguidelines.cast.org/). Accommodate students’ sensory impairments and students’ special needs in cooperation with the UCI Disability Services Center. Invite students with disabilities to contact the Disability Services Center in order to get accommodation services.
7. Include links to campus resources that support diversity initiatives and policies.
If you encounter unacceptable behavior, please document it and report it to at least one of the following people.
Please note that, given the university’s retaliation policies, the department cannot on its own exclude faculty, students, or staff from academic activities. Such interventions are only possible as a result of a formal investigation (which would be carried out by OEOD) – the department itself has no power to restrict access to such activities.
For more OEOD, see the following report: http://www.oeod.uci.edu/harassment_guide/report.php
Please also note that Mandatory Reporters must follow up with the OEOD on any compliant that involves prohibited behavior such as sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, sexual harassment, invasions of sexual privacy, or engaging in retaliation. Although they will strive to respect your privacy, they cannot guarantee anonymity.
If you wish to remain strictly confidential, you can seek advice or help from these campus sources:
Counseling Center, which is open to everyone associated with UCI (students, faculty and staff), and useful especially in cases of emergencies: 949-824-6457, http://www.counseling.uci.edu
Ombudsman’s Office, a channel to discuss complaints, concerns, or problems confidentially in a neutral environment: MSTB 205, 949-824-7256, http://ombuds.uci.edu
EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for staff, postdoctoral researchers & faculty: 949-824-3273
CARE (UCI Campus Assault Resources and Education), who can provide counseling and consultation free of charge to enrolled students: 949-824-7273, http://care.uci.edu
|Contact||Role||Affiliations||Mandated Reporter to OEOD?|
|Annalisa Coliva||Supports the graduate student community with a focus on issues of diversity and inclusion.||UCI Dept. of Philosophy
|Phong Luong||Supports graduate students and postdoctoral scholars with their academic journey. This includes additional academic support, time management skills, effective communication skills, and referrals to campus or community resources.||Graduate Division||Yes|
|Kirsten Quanbeck or Teresa Truman||Title IX and Americans with Disabilities Officers
This office is responsible for formal investigations in all such matters on campus.
See Discrimination Policies of UCI
|UCI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD)
|UCI Counseling Center
|Strives to assist students with their academic success by developing dimensions of well-being. The Counseling Center provides short-term individual, couples, group, and family counseling. The Center also assists students with urgent care and psychological testing.||UCI Counseling
UCI Student Health
|No, with a few exceptions|
|Ombudsman’s Office 949-824-7256 http://ombuds.uci.edu
|An alternate channel to discuss complaints, concerns or problems confidentially in a neutral environment.||No, with exceptions|
|EAP (Employee Assistance Program) 949-824-3273||Personal issues, planning for life events or simply managing daily life can affect your work, health and family. Provides support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues.||UCI Work Life Wellness
|CARE (UCI Campus Assault Resources and Education) 949-824-7273 http://care.uci.edu||Can provide counseling, consultation and a variety of services free of charge to enrolled students.||No, with exceptions|
Through MAP's network, students can exchange ideas on topics related to minorities and philosophy, meet and support peers, and learn from other philosophy departments. MAP chapters can choose to provide their respective departments with regular feedback on the department climate. Once a year, representatives from each participating school meet to discuss their chapter's progress.
The UCI MAP Chapter is comprised of graduate students from the UCI Department of Philosophy and UCI Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science. The chapter has focused on issues such as inclusive pedagogy, equity and “diversity” training, pipeline issues, and gender discrimination. Notable contributions developed by the chapter include: the organization of a Southern California Coalition of MAP chapters (current participants include: UCI, USC, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, UCR) and a conference “Perspectives on Gender” co-sponsored with they UCI Hypatia Society. UCI MAP chapter members have also contributed to the development of the TH!NK Program- a program that connects UCI graduate philosophy students with 5th grade students at local elementary schools with the aim of introducing young people to philosophical thought and discourse, develop critical thinking skills through philosophical discussion, and introduce young students from traditionally under-represented groups to philosophers working toward the advancement of such groups in the discipline.
Diversity & Inclusivity Resources
- APA Diversity and Inclusiveness Syllabus Collection
- Best Practices for an Inclusive Philosophy Classroom
- Diversity Reading List for Philosophy
- MAP Organization Website Link
- SoCal Regional Coalition Reading List on Inclusive Pedagogy 2015
- The UP Directory
Resources for Women in Philosophy