July 09, 2021 • By Xanat Hernandez
Professor Tonya Williams Bradford has been named as one of the five inaugural inclusive excellence term chair professors for UCI. This appointment will run for three years and is designed to “to leverage the research and creative capacity of the campus to deepen understanding about and responses to designated national imperatives.” The theme for the inaugural cohort is Black Thriving.
For Bradford, the chair is an opportunity to accelerate her research on issues she is passionate about.
“I’d like to deepen our understanding of the conditions that support Black Thriving in business and wealth creation—two areas that are crucial and not as well understood,” said Bradford. “I want to study what conditions can advance people who have traditionally been marginalized, and I am also excited about the opportunity to develop a case study focused on the marketplace and efforts to make it more accessible and equitable.”
Studying Black wealth is especially poignant for Bradford considering the renewed interest in the wealth that once existed in the Black community, the commemoration of the massacres that occurred in Tulsa, Wilmington, and the impact on lesser-known communities such as in Rosewood, Lake Lanier, Central Park, or Manhattan Beach.
She said: “In terms of market factors, people are better understanding the determinations of socioeconomic status and its impacts on a wide range of life outcomes—from education to health. It is my hope to study and provide insights on what is needed to facilitate broader participation in wealth creation once more.”
As an associate professor of marketing, Bradford has studied wealth generation, charitable giving and social activism. Last year, she founded the Black Management Association (BMA) at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business. In May, the BMA hosted its first annual conference with the theme “Empowered to Lead, Equipped to Succeed.”
The inclusive excellence term chairs are in alignment with UCI’s Black Thriving Initiative (BTI), which seeks to recognize and respond to anti-Blackness as an existential threat to society. The goal of BTI is to confront anti-Blackness, understand the Black experience and link the future of UCI to the success of Black people and Black communities.
“Professor Bradford’s appointment is a testament to her considerable expertise in the domain of Black community wealth creation and we are very proud to have her on our faculty,” said Dean Ian O. Williamson. “Dr. Bradford’s research, teaching and service leadership as a UCI Inclusive Excellence Chair will further expand the Merage School’s set of activities designed to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of the Black community. I look forward to working with her in this role.”