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Franklin Garrett Receives Inclusive Excellence Award

February 16, 2022 | By Michelle Franklin


UC San Diego’s annual Inclusive Excellence Awards honor staff, faculty, students, departments and organizational units or groups that make outstanding contributions in the areas of inclusion, equity and diversity, and uphold our Principles of Community.

Franklin Garrett is the 2021 recipient of the Inclusive Excellence Award for Academic Affairs. He is the director of education initiatives in the Division of Physical Sciences and is also director of the Student Success Center. Learn more about Franklin and his work at UC San Diego in our Q&A.

Q: What do you do as director of education initiatives?
Franklin Garrett: I’m responsible for administrating and implementing student programs, whether through academic development, enrichment or simply helping students getting the most out of their college experience.

Q: How long have you worked at UC San Diego? Are you an alumnus?
FG: I’ve worked here for about 7.5 years. Previously I worked in the Student Financial Solutions Office, but I moved over to physical sciences about 3.5 years ago. I’m not an alum…yet. I’m in a joint doctoral program (UC San Diego and Cal State San Marcos) in Educational Leadership. I’m working on my thesis.

Q: Can you tell us about it?
FG: I’m researching persistence factors for African American doctoral students. Why are successful students successful? How were they able to navigate the journey? What systems were in place in terms of institutional climate, relationships with faculty, course design? If they’ve overcome challenges, how did they do it? What can we learn from their experiences? There is surprisingly little research on this topic.

Q: You’re the director of the Student Success Center. How would you describe the center in one sentence?
FG: The role of the center is to prepare students for life after college and make sure they’re successful once they leave UC San Diego.

Q: What do you like most about your job?
FG: Working with students, knowing I’m making an impact. When you see students being successful, it’s very gratifying.

021622-cohort.jpg Franklin (far left) with students in front of the Student Success Center. Credit: Michelle Fredricks, Division of Physical Sciences, UC San Diego.

Q: How did you feel when you heard you were receiving the Inclusive Excellence Award?
FG: I was honored, not as much for myself, but for staff in general, who sometimes aren’t recognized for the work they do. I know a lot of people who would be deserving of this award, so for me to get it is a real honor.

Q: Where do you see room for improvement when it comes to diversity initiatives and programs?
FG: I think diversity has become a charitable enterprise—the nice thing to do. But one thing we need is more transparency—what we are doing, what we’ve committed to do, what we could be doing. What do our mission and values really mean? For instance, at an institutional level, what does it mean to be “student centered?”

Q: What are you reading right now?
FG: Strategic Diversity Leadership by Damon A. Williams. It’s part of the LEAD Fellows Program.

Q: What was the last movie you saw?
FG: Matrix Resurrection.

Q: What was your first job?
FG: I worked as a student employee at the SDSU Career Services Center—my career has kind of come full circle. My first job ever was at Cold Stone Creamery.

Q: What do you like most about working at UC San Diego?
FG: It’s inspirational to be here. Just walking on campus and seeing students—they all want to do something, achieve something. These are our future leaders. Everyone plays a role in making the university a success. I love the campus and I love what we are doing to support students, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented on college campuses.

Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus?
FG: The Student Success Center! It’s my favorite because every time I walk in there, I’m reminded of what we built.