UC Berkeley is one of several universities that will collaborate on a new partnership that researchers hope will deepen our understanding of how to create and foster a more inclusive work environment that increases our sense of belonging. Staff from across campus will have the opportunity to participate in this important research endeavor.


The goal of the study, which is being run through the Berkeley Center for Workplace Culture and Innovation, is to understand how the social networks that people form in the workplace—for example, to get information, advice, or mentorship—relate to their structural inclusion and the extent to which they feel they belong and are truly valued by the organization. Through the study, researchers aim to identify specific practices that UC Berkeley can employ to improve the sense of inclusion and belonging for all.


Who is Eligible to Participate?

The study is targeted to full-time, non-academic staff at UC Berkeley. Other staff members, faculty, and students will not have an opportunity to participate in this study. In addition, a set of individuals who have been identified by Campus Privacy, Berkeley IT, or People & Culture (HR) leaders as being engaged in sensitive or legal communications will not be eligible to participate. Finally, staff who do not have an @berkeley.edu email account will not be able to participate given that the study involves an analysis of email communication networks.

What are the benefits of staff participation in this research?

Staff who decide to participate in the study can benefit in at least three concrete ways.

  • Two Months of Free Access to Harvard ManageMentor – Participants will have the option to opt-in to access this online learning and development platform that covers such topics as effective project management, having difficult conversations with colleagues, time management, and long-term career planning. Participants will need to create an account with ManageMentor to access this content. The research team will not have access to any information about participants’ activity on the platform.
  • Peer Engagement – Participants will have an opportunity to engage in a facilitated interaction with peers designed to help them cement their understanding of these content areas.
  • Build Campus Network – Through this experience, participants will have an opportunity to connect and build substantive relationships with colleagues they do not already know in the organization. We hope that this experience will, in turn, help participants become better integrated into the organization and support their career development objectives.

What are the value and benefits of UC Berkeley taking part in this research study?

The impact and benefit to campus is that we hope findings from the research study will help UC Berkeley identify specific, evidence-based practices that will help all employees feel more included, appreciated, and valued in the organization.

For the implementation of this study on the UC Berkeley campus, the research team is working in close coordination with campus officials including the campus Privacy Officer, Berkeley IT, the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, and People & Culture. This same study, which includes a broader set of Principal Investigators, will also be conducted at UC San Diego, the UC Office of the President, Dartmouth College, Emory University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Rutgers University.


Many questions about the Inclusion & Belonging Research Study can be answered by visiting our FAQs page. If you are a staff member who wants to opt out of participating in the study, please fill out this form by Oct. 6, 2023. All other questions can be directed to Paul Vicinanza ([email protected]), a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley, who is assisting with this study.