moving fast

About IDEA


The IDEA is an initiative within the Vice Chancellor’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that supports collaborations and projects that involve UC Davis’ existing and new recruitment, retention, and advancement programs and interventions that connect to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our commitment to these efforts is three-fold:

  1. The IDEA centralizes partnerships and projects that invol\ve DEI recruitment, retention, and advancement programs that reduce barriers to and expand access to excellence in educational achievement. We aim to empower action and strategic planning for long-term success and efficacy of groups doing this important work to shape the future of education and opportunity at UC Davis and throughout higher education.
  2. The IDEA conducts research to assess the impact of DEI interventions and programs, establishing metrics, collecting and analyzing evidence, disseminating findings, and facilitating the scale-up of effective practices. 
  3. The IDEA promotes advancement of all students, faculty, and staff by providing tangible opportunities to thrive, succeed, and achieve their full potential.


Advancement for All: Research. Action. Change.

We aspire to be  a leading collaborative hub of innovative DEI programs and research that result in action to reduce barriers, expand access, and facilitate educational success of all students, faculty, and staff at UC Davis and beyond.




Shortly after joining UC Davis in July 2019, Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull, Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion began plans to establish the Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advancement (IDEA). Under VC Tull’s leadership as Founding Executive Director, and in collaboration with the Office of Research, this special research unit was developed to centralize collaborations and partnerships that involved UC Davis’ existing and new recruitment, retention, and advancement programs and  interventions that connected to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The core mission was to centralize efforts  to conduct DEI-related research, analyze metrics, scale promising practices, and broadly disseminate outcomes.  In February 2021, Professor Rachel Jean-Baptiste joined as the Inaugural Faculty Director for IDEA. Thereafter, the team gradually grew to include Elaina Lopez as the IDEA Program Coordinator, Dr. Vickie Gomez as the IDEA Interim Program Director, along with support from Director of DEI Special Projects, Dr. Ebony Lewis.

Since its establishment on October 16, 2020, IDEA has served as a partnership hub for several programs on campus, including but not limited to: Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS), the Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Program, the PROMISE Engineering Institute, the ENGAGE: Professional Development & Global Engagement initiative, the Program-level Assessment Capacity Enrichment for Equity (PACE4E) program, the Redwood SEED Scholars Program, and Healthy Davis/Yolo Together. IDEA also launched its foundational project which will be campus-wide, Aggie Black Excellence: Addressing Anti-Blackness, beginning with a series of listening sessions hosted in spring 2022 with faculty, staff, students and alumni.

In September 2022, IDEA transitioned from a center to a strategic initiative now known as The IDEA led by Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Ebony Lewis. Click here to see Our Team.