For Anthony Ocampo, it’s a chance to bolster faculty diversity across the CSU system.
For Bri Sérráno, it’s needed financial support as they work to complete their doctorate and an opportunity to tap into their research to impact policy related to transgender faculty, staff and students from diverse backgrounds.
Both Ocampo, an associate professor of sociology, and Sérráno, coordinator of the Pride Center and an adjunct in the Department of Ethnic and Women’s Studies, are newly involved with the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) – Ocampo as the program’s new director and Sérráno as a recently named fellow.
Ocampo had no idea he would one day be overseeing the program when he was the keynote speaker at the CDIP’s inaugural conference in May 2019. He did recognize that it was a program with a mission that he supported – diversifying the CSU faculty.
“I knew that CDIP, at its heart, was about trying to reach out to underrepresented faculty who understood the biography of the underrepresented California State University population,” he said.
The program, established in 1987, provides financial support that includes forgivable loans, mentoring and professional development opportunities to its fellows. For each year taught at a CSU campus, the recipient will have one-fifth of their student loan principal and interest canceled, according to the website. Since its inception, more than 1,300 participants have completed their doctoral studies, with more than 800 appointed to CSU instructional posts.
Ocampo, author of “The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race” and the forthcoming “Brown and Gay in LA: Queer Sons of Immigrants Coming of Age,” had mentored a couple of fellows who went through the CDIP. The outgoing director reached out to him just as COVID-19 hit in spring, and he decided to apply for her post. He will juggle his new responsibilities with his Cal Poly Pomona faculty duties.
Ocampo said he remembers being one of the few faculty of color when he was hired and hopes to continue to push for greater diversity in his director role.
“I would really love to keep an eye out for prospective applicants who are scholars with disabilities, scholars who were formerly incarcerated, scholars who are transgender, transgender women of color,” he said. “I would love to be an ambassador for the CSU system to reach out to these scholars who possess knowledge that not only the CSU needs, but society needs.”
Sérráno, who has been coordinator of the Pride Center for more than four years, applied for the program in February. They are pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in education and human resource studies, with a concentration in higher education leadership, through a hybrid program at Colorado State University.
They received a letter of acceptance in June.
“I was so excited about it,” Sérráno said of learning they were selected as a 2020-21 CDIP fellow. “I cried, and I called my mentor right when I found out.”
Their mentor, José Aguilar-Hernández, associate professor of ethnic and women’s studies, said he and Sérráno shared tears of joy and laughter over the acceptance email, and that he is delighted they were selected.
Aguilar-Hernández and Sérráno have collaborated on and co-organized several events over the years focused on queer, trans and gender non-binary identities, specifically within communities of color. The pair had many coffee chats about Sérráno’s career goals and desire to become a professor in the CSU, he said.
“Bri possesses a delicate balance that maintains academic rigor while centering students,” he said. “They have a strong commitment to equity and are a valuable leader in multiple spaces at Cal Poly Pomona and beyond. Bri is intelligent, thoughtful, and compassionate. I have no doubts that they will be an excellent professor.“
Sérráno, who earned two bachelor’s degrees from Cal State Fullerton in American studies and sociology and a master’s in education with a concentration in college student affairs from The Pennsylvania State University, has completed their course work and plans to use the funds from CDIP to get through the research and dissertation process.
They plan to start their research within the next year.
“My goal is to have a mixed methods study on the rates of reporting discrimination and looking at the variable of race for transgender faculty, staff and students,” they said. “I want to have a national study looking at the variables in legal protections for the transgender population at four-year publics.”
Sérráno said they selected their area of research because of the legal protections for the transgender community that the Trump administration repealed in 2017 and their experiences as an advisor to transgender people on campus who have filed Title IX complaints.
“As a non-binary trans Latinx person myself, I have experienced discrimination in education and the workplace in California and Colorado, states that provide legal protections to students,” they said. “This is an unprecedented time with the Trump administration, and there is much more legal, political and policy work to be done in education…I hope I can have an impact on policy, considerations regarding implementation and understanding the impact of legislation on Black, Indigenous faculty, staff and students of color in higher education.”