By Dylan Rodríguez

It continues to be a privilege and pleasure to participate in shaping the work of the Center for Ideas and Society. I trust that this brief correspondence will help encourage you to attend, participate in, and organize activities that reflect the experimental, inter/trans/counter/anti-disciplinary, creative character of the Center. As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have ideas or questions:

Success! AFD Grant update
I’m happy to report that the Faculty Commons Project will continue to be supported through 2023-2024 as a result of our successful application for renewal of the UC Advancing Faculty Diversity (AFD) grant. I especially wish to acknowledge the Center’s Executive Katharine Henshaw and Grants and Finance Analyst Kathy Ann Hitchens for collaborating with me on this successful grant renewal. Crucially, the AFD grant will enable the expansion of the Faculty Commons Project to include two new and vital components: the creation of a Queer and Trans Studies Faculty Commons Group, and support for the heretofore unfunded work of the Dreaming Retention Think Tank.

Fall 2022 partial recap
A busy Fall 2022 quarter at the Center for Ideas and Society included several events co-sponsored by the Decolonizing Humanism(?) programming stream i proudly curate, including:

  • “Menino 111,” a lecture-performance with visiting Brazilian scholar/artist Aline Serzedello Vilaça;
  • “Unbreakable Resolve,” a presentation and discussion with nationally recognized community leaders and formerly incarcerated organizers Jerome Morgan and Robert Jones, co-founders of Free-Dem Foundations in New Orleans;
  • “Protests in Iran,” a national panel of experts discussing the ongoing Iranian protests, moderated by Prof. Fariba Zarinebaf (History);
  • and Race, Neoliberalism and the Transformation of the University, a daylong workshop with scholars from across the UC system, convened by Prof. David Lloyd (English).

I hope all of you will continue to reach out with other programming ideas that can include the Center as a collaborator and co-sponsor.

Upcoming: “Rethinking Retention, Redefining (Faculty) ‘Diversity,’” with UCOP/UCR administrators
On February 13, 3-5 pm, the Dreaming Retention Think Tank will host “Rethinking Retention, Redefining (Faculty) ‘Diversity,’” a potentially impactful online roundtable event featuring six UCR faculty colleagues and several UCOP/UCR administrators, including UC systemwide Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Programs Douglas Haynes, UC
systemwide Vice President and Vice Provost for Graduate, Undergraduate and Equity Affairs Yvette Gullatt, UCR Vice Provost for Academic Personnel Daniel Jeske, and UCR Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Mariam Lam. (Register at

This roundtable is the result of a collaboration between CIS and Imagining America, a peer research center at UC Davis led by our wonderful colleague (and fellow 2020 Freedom Scholar) Erica Kohl-Arenas.

I urge you to attend this roundtable. It promises to address significant and ongoing institutional challenges that require creative, concerted responses guided by our collective Insight and will. The roundtable will be held online and will be recorded for posting on the Center for Ideas and Society YouTube channel, which is in the process of becoming our primary site for hosting recorded events.

Open invitation: February 9 happy hour
Finally, i hope you will join us on Thursday, February 9, from 4-6 pm in INTS 1113 for the Faculty Commons and Dreaming Retention Think Tank happy hour. Faculty Commons participants and potential participants are all welcome! Appetizers, soft drinks, beer and wine will be served.