In a September 2011 campus message, former UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares announced the initial request for proposals to launch the Cluster Initiative to Increase Diversity and the Interdisciplinary Culture at UIC.

During the program’s first proposal phase, 21 cluster plans were reviewed by a panel of 14 faculty members representing a cross-section of campus units.

In May 2012, the chancellor announced that funding was approved for six areas of study through this initiative: Diaspora Studies, Global Urban Immigration, Integrative Neuroscience, Middle East and Muslim Societies, The Racialized Body, and Social Justice and Human Rights.

A seventh cluster, Health Promotion for Racially and Ethnically Diverse Older Adults, was selected for funding in July 2013 following a second phase of panel-reviewed proposals, which included six cluster bids.


UIC has a compelling academic and administrative interest in achieving diversity in all aspects of the campus. The Chancellor’s Cluster Initiative to Increase Diversity and the Interdisciplinary Culture at UIC seeks to:

  • Cultivate diverse leadership in our academic programs and units
  • Enhance the educational experience of our students and foster the scholarly, creative and research activities of our faculty by broadening the array of backgrounds, ideas and disciplines represented among our faculty
  • Create a community of scholars that enable the mentoring of junior faculty who will advance the university’s diversity initiatives, thereby improving retention
  • Create a community of scholars that foster common research interests in an acknowledged area of disciplinary or interdisciplinary research relative to our mission and vision
  • Prepare our students for global leadership