March 10, 2021

This message is distributed to senate-faculty and dept-chairs.  (Click here to view description of distribution groups.)  

To:    UC Santa Barbara Faculty

From:    David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor

Re:    Call for Pre-Proposals, Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Academic Initiative Professorships, Cluster V: Racial Justice 

The Academic Initiative Professorships were established by generous gifts from Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp to support new academic programs and faculty recruitment initiatives on campus. Each group of four coordinated, endowed chairs is designed to advance a major academic priority, support or develop centers of excellence, and/or leverage campus strengths and special opportunities. It is expected that the clusters, in collaboration with other faculty and programs, will help develop areas of distinction and prominence. The goal is to support or develop centers of excellence capable of generating additional support by leveraging campus strengths and/or generating external funding. 

This year, following campus consultation in the context of national and local discussions about racial injustice, the structural inequities stemming from systemic racism, and the problem of anti-Black racism, a consensus has emerged to invite proposals related to racial justice. Since the next cluster is scheduled to begin in 2023, I am now issuing a competitive call for new cluster proposals. The call for pre-proposals is appended.

Four clusters have been established since the beginning of the program: Systems Biology (2003-2004), Global Civil Society (2008-2009), Sustainability (2013-2014), and Mind and Machine Intelligence (2018-2019). In the past, calls for proposals have sometimes been open to all subjects and fields, and sometimes been focused on specific areas (such as “sustainability.”) These clusters have been catalysts in many ways, leveraging existing strengths, encouraging collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships, and inaugurating new research trajectories. 

The first step in this process is this call for pre-proposals from any faculty interested in developing a cluster of four endowed chairs that will fulfill the academic vision of the Mellichamp Initiative, which was designed to support an innovative campus continually remapping the academic landscape and reinvesting in faculty who are program builders as well as outstanding scholars, scientists, and engineers. 
Pre-proposals will be reviewed by a faculty selection committee chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor Dana Mastro, in consultation with appropriate offices on campus. Faculty should consult with relevant deans as they formulate proposals since the deans will be asked to comment on the proposals in the context of their recruitment plans. It is also recommended that they consult with the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Pre-proposals selected to move forward in the process will be invited to submit full proposals for campus review. I am grateful to the committee members, listed below. 

Please contact Toby Lazarowitz, Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor ( if you have any questions about this call. 

cc: Henry T. Yang
     Susannah Scott
     Joe Incandela
     Belinda Robnett
     Christian Treitler 
     Chris Pizzinat 
     Cindy Doherty
     Christian Villasenor
     Dorothy Satomi

Mellichamp Academic Initiative Selection Committee 

Dana Mastro, Chair, Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel
Jean Beaman, Associate Professor, Sociology 
Anne Charity Hudley, Professor, Linguistics, and North Hall Chair; Vice-Chair, Council on Budget and Planning 
Michael Curtin, Mellichamp Distinguished Professor, Film and Media Studies
Miguel Eckstein, Mellichamp Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Yunte Huang, Professor, English
Melissa Morgan, Professor, Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology; Vice Chair, Academic Senate; Chair, Academic Senate Committee on Diversity and Equity
Rachel Segalman, Professor and Chair, Chemical Engineering; Edward Noble Kramer Professor
Doug Steigerwald, Professor, Economics; Chair, Council on Budget and Planning
Naomi Tague, Professor, Bren School
Belinda Robnett, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ex officio)