A unit within the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion aims to increase its engagement with undergraduate students through mock graduate-level classes.
Devon Carbado, associate vice chancellor of BruinX, said he came up with the idea to hold mock graduate classes at an event called “BruiNext: Pathways and Possibilities” last year. BruinX expanded the event to more students this year, drawing over 100 attendees per day on both Jan. 17 and Jan. 24.
“Last year we got interest from other constituents and we thought it made sense to broaden it to other undergraduates at large,” Carbado said.
BruinX is a research-focused unit of the UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion that collects and evaluates data on the campus to create more equitable learning opportunities and more inclusive work environments, according to its website.
“There was a realization that transfer students don’t have a lot of time to anticipate the ‘What next?’ question,” Carbado said.
Students generally rated the courses favorably and expressed a desire for more course offerings in the future, according to 133 evaluations compiled by Aaron Kinsfather, a BruinX research assistant.
Courses at the event included business, law, sociology, medicine, and social psychology and education. A reception after the event allowed students to interact with graduate school representatives.
Radmehr Nowroozi, a third-year political science student, attended the law course that was instructed by Carbado. Nowroozi said he appreciated how Carbado made the material approachable but still representative of a real law course.
“The mock class was by far the most helpful in assuring me that I wanted to go to law school,” Nowroozi said.
Madilaine Venzon, a fourth-year English student, said the event made her more confident she could pursue graduate school.
“It made me feel like this could be a possibility for me, and that this is something that I’m definitely considering pursuing in the future,” Venzon said.
BruiNext is part of a larger effort by the BruinX team to inform and engage the campus community about issues related to the aims of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Carbado said.
One of BruinX’s projects involves collecting demographic information on campus leadership, faculty, staff and students, and presenting them through the BruinX Dashboards on their website.
“We want to provide useful information that can inform policy choices that different parts of the campus might make,” Carbado said.
Another initiative is called CrossCheck Live, a series of public events that promote discussions around topics such as free speech, police violence and sexual harassment, Carbado said. These events were launched in 2016 and can be attended in person or viewed online.
“The CrossCheck Live is important because it’s community-wide engagement on some matters that we think the campus is interested in learning more about,” Carbado said.
The BruinX team also offers anti-bias training to faculty and staff when requested, Carbado said. These training initiatives are also offered as workshops to the campus at large, according to their website.
The team is also engaging students through other projects such as the BruinXperience app that launched last quarter. The app enables BruinX to supplement more traditional surveys to understand how students at different points in their academic careers feel about their experiences at UCLA, Carbado said.
“This is a way to get students to react in more real time about how they are experiencing themselves at UCLA,” Carbado said. “So you might be able to look if there are differences between say juniors and sophomores.”
BruinX will release a statement on the results and findings of the app by the end of the academic year, Carbado said.
Many of BruinX’s initiatives are still ongoing and BruinX remains a work in progress, Carbado said.