For her dedication to the pursuit of diversity and inclusion, Bates has earned the 2020 Faculty Senate Award for Service to the University. “Dr. Bates’ service is an outstanding example of the work that we must do to progress toward the university’s inclusion goals,” says Jennifer Malat, divisional dean of social sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of sociology. “In her work, Dr. Bates creates spaces in the college and the university that affirm all values of faculty and student experience.”
As the BFA marks its fifth anniversary, its mission, vision and programs dovetail with the inclusive excellence platform of UC’s Next Lives Here strategic vision. With guidance from BFA leaders, similar organizations have emerged for both Latino and LGBTQ faculty, and Bates continues to serve on the Executive Committee of the BFA. “There is much more to be done, but I feel more hopeful than I’ve ever felt about the future of true inclusivity at the university,” she says.
Beyond her service to faculty, Bates has established a reputation as a tireless advocate for students. She has regularly mentored students through advocacy programs such as the PR1ZE (Putting Retention 1st in the Zest for Excellence) program, and as an advisor to the Sociology Organization for Students (S.O.S.). She is also a frequent advisor in the African American Cultural and Resource Center (AACRC) where she counsels and inspires marginalized or underrepresented students to stay the course, with her own blend of compassion, insight and tough love.
“It’s part of my personal mission to ensure that no student who comes through these doors doesn’t have a sense that they belong here, that it’s okay for them to be here, and that they can do well here,” Bates says, “I want to be the voice in their head when they’re experiencing self-doubt, telling them that they can do it, and that they absolutely will do it.”
Featured image at top: Littisha Bates, recipient of a 2020 Faculty Senate Award for Exemplary Service to the University. Photo/Lisa Ventre/UC Creative + Brand.