The Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE) collaborates with the Office of Inclusive Excellence to create a warm and inclusive climate within the University of California, Irvine. DECADE is a multi-departmental collaborative that includes faculty, staff, students, and even alumni–all committed to facilitating a sense of belonging for all UCI students.

DECADE provides students with professional development events, leadership opportunities, and a mutually empowering community. DECADE seeks to increase the participation, retention, and success of women and underrepresented minorities in graduate programs. Here are some of the resources that DECADE provides to all UCI graduate students: 

  • Competitive Edge Summer Research Program
  • DECADE Community Meetings
  • DECADE Faculty Mentors
  • DECADE School Based Councils
  • DECADE Professional Development Awards
  • WATzUP Community Outreach

Subscribe to the DECADE listserv to find out more about DECADE events, programs, and intiatives!

More Information

The DECADE Competitive Edge Summer Research Program is a pre-entry summer research program geared towards incoming Ph.D and M.F.A students who are underrepresented in their disciplines. Participants conduct faculty-mentored research, build community, and participate in workshops that help them successfully transition into their graduate program.

DECADE community meetings provide a safe space for graduate students to openly dialogue about their experiences in graduate school and academia. They also serve as an opportunity for students to create interdisciplinary connections and discuss topics related to inclusive excellence.

Subscribe to the DECADE listserv HERE to receive information on events, programs, and initiatives pertaining to DECADE.

DECADE Faculty Mentors foster inclusive excellence at the graduate level. They work with graduate students, DECADE student representatives, faculty, and administrators to improve climate, inclusion, and access within their academic programs.

Current list of DECADE Faculty Mentors

While we invite students to be involved with the campus-wide DECADE events that we organize, we also recognize the importance of school-based councils. These school councils can help gather students to discuss school-specific issues and resources based on the needs of each discipline. We strongly encourage the formation of school-based DECADE student councils that will:

  • Provide a safe space for graduate students to discuss issues they may be facing
  • Promote opportunities for graduate students to implement programming regarding diversity
  • Promote more dialogue between graduate students and faculty, especially regarding diversity
  • Build and sustain an inclusive school-wide culture for all graduate students

Below are some school-based councils that we have, as well as some contacts for each of them:

If you are looking to start a DECADE school-based council, please contact or Craig Farmer (

DECADE Student Representatives are current graduate students who serve in an advisory role to DECADE leadership, faculty mentors, equity advisors, and the Graduate Dean’s Diversity Council. They help plan and organize DECADE programing and events, with the purpose of fostering an equitable and warm climate for all UCI graduate students. Click here to learn more.

For information on getting involved* contact your respective DECADE faculty mentor or

*Please note: The campus-wide DECADE representative role is one of academic service, taken up by students in good academic standing that have either: a) been nominated by their department’s faculty mentor, or b) have volunteered to step into the role by collaborating with DECADE coordinator Craig Farmer.

Once in their role, campus-wide DECADE representatives may remain in their role until:

  • They are unwilling to continue
  • They are either unable to continue, due to personal or medical reasons
  • They fall out of good academic standing
  • They are removed by the DECADE program coordinator (though this would only be the last resort in cases of significant mishandling or unfulfillment of the DECADE role).

Service as a DECADE representative is not contingent upon the presence of a DECADE faculty mentor, presence of a DECADE program coordinator, or an on-campus learning framework.

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have actively contributed to inclusive excellence on campus are eligible and encouraged to apply for funds that support their professional development. Examples include, but are not limited to, holding leadership positions within DECADE, organizing diversity and inclusion-based programs with DECADE Faculty Mentors, holding mentoring positions for Graduate Division programs including DECADE PLUS, Summer Undergraduate Research Program, and Competitive Edge, and/or participating in other campus initiatives that support inclusive excellence such as certificate programs and committees.

Awards of up to $500 are available. The 2021-2022 DECADE Professional Development Award application is now available.

At UC Irvine, we are committed to engaging similarities and differences with respect and humility in order to create an inclusive environment for our diverse campus community. As an extension of this commitment, the Graduate Division at UC Irvine has developed a program called We Are Them (WATz Up). This program provides workshops for our local K-12 schools, with WATz Up Jr. designed for our younger friends. The workshops use interactive activities to promote the importance of communication and kindness.

The primary goal is to help students develop the skills needed to be successful in the classroom and beyond. These workshops are facilitated by UCI staff and current graduate students involved with our DECADE program. DECADE stands for Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience, and its mission is to promote an affirmative climate for all graduate students.  For questions or to set-up a classroom visit, please contact Dr. Phong Luong at 949-824-0246 or email at