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Values to Action

Recommending ways to enhance efforts by benchmarking campus diversity, equity and inclusion practices; contributing to the development of a diversity statement; collaborating in curricular and co-curricular diversity efforts; and reviewing programs at similar institutions.

University Update

Report

The Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) report has now been completed and the final report is available. View the Message from the President.

Words From the Task Force

Task Force Proposed DEI Statement

Overview

The University is committed to the development of each student to become a productive and responsible citizen. It is this commitment that guides the work of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force (formerly identified as the Diversity Working Group). The task force includes faculty, staff and students who are committed to diversity and social justice.

Led by Stephanie Russel Krebs, David Stern, Lonnie Bryant and Sabrina Griffith, the task force spent the fall semester examining university policies, practices and resources in an attempt to reconcile the past, present and future of DEI at UT. Through a comprehensive analysis of curricular offerings, co-curricular programming, employee experiences and campus climate feedback from students, faculty and staff, the group is equipped with the tools necessary to advocate for improvements that will enhance the experience of all community members.

During the Spring 2021 semester, the task force will continue its efforts with an in-depth review of data collected. Intended goals during the spring semester include but are not limited to providing a clear understanding of the needs of the community and recommending steps and tasks required for UT as we move forward in enhancing its efforts.

While we have a variety of on-going diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, services and activities in place, several new action steps have been initiated. These include:

Training Opportunities

  • Plans are underway for a special session for the Senior Staff and deans focused on diversity, inclusion and equity.
  • Diversity workshops for Baccalaureate Experience faculty and mentors and for other faculty through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) are scheduled. These workshops will be led by Sabrina Griffith, director of Student Care and Advocacy and leader of UT’s Bias Education Resource Team (BERT).
  • Continuation of bias training for Campus Safety, and a plan to expand opportunities for bias training to the broader campus.

Of note, more than 25 staff and faculty members participated this summer in a 10-week Sustained Dialogue series. This series taught the participants how to build spaces for challenging conversations about issues that matter and how to create meetings where talking about big issues are celebrated.

Human Resources Programs

  • Human Resources’ search process improvements are underway, including a UT employment dashboard that will provide interview resources, diversity ad placement resources and recruiting guidelines. The staff will also host a presentation on building a more inclusive search that addresses unconscious bias.
  • Human Resources training on diversity in the workplace and Title IX (9) training will be coming this fall.

Center for Teaching and Learning Initiatives

  • Creation of a new Diversity and Inclusion webpage dedicated to resources on diversity and inclusion for faculty.
  • First-Year Experience courses will devote two weeks to the discussion of diversity and inclusion, and first-year students will have the opportunity to sign a diversity pledge.
  • The First-Year Experience (FYE) and Office of Orientation and Family Engagement collaborated in Fall 2020 to launch a virtual book club on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
  • First-year students and faculty were invited and encouraged to attend the WOW Diversity presentation, Race at the Crossroads of History, Culture and COVID-19. Dr. Benitez addresses how history, culture and racism in the U.S. continue to impact how BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of color) experience and navigate COVID-19 and racial unrest, and how we all can learn from it and work to change it. 
  • The Diversity of Transgender Experience was presented by J.E. Sumerau and their book with Lain A. B. Mathers, America Through Transgender Eyes.

Diversity and Inclusion

Student Programs

  • Moderator trainings and inclusive communication skill development for students, faculty and staff are offered through Spartan Sustained Dialogue in the form of Skillshhops and Inclusive Leadership trainings, provided by Sustained Dialogue Institute online and in person.
  • The Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group is a forum for the Dean of Students and other University administrators to hear directly from students about their experiences and to better advocate for a more inclusive learning environment that supports unique perspectives and values differences. This group meets monthly to discuss the campus climate. If you have any comments about the campus climate that you would like discussed, feel free to email diversityadvisorygroup@ut.edu. Diversity Advisory Group applications are available now for the 2021-2022 academic year and are due March 20. Apply to the Diversity Advisory Group.
  • Student organizations provide support and can connect you to on-campus experiences that assist in discovering more about campus life. Last year, there were 16 registered student diversity/cultural organizations and seven registered student spiritual organizations. These organizations can be a wonderful place of support, and they are actively involved with numerous events and programs. For the most up-to-date lists, visit Engage. If you are interested in starting a new student diversity/cultural student organization please contact Erika Buckley, associate director of Leadership and Diversity Education, at ebuckley@ut.edu.
  • The Office of Leadership and Student Engagement is excited to host affinity group meetups.  Affinity groups are designed to create spaces for students who share a common identity or goal to meet and connect with one another. By attending these meetups, students will be able to meet with each other in person and hopefully establish a community they can rely on during their time at UT. For more information contact ebuckley@ut.edu.
  • Spiritual Direction is offered to any student at no cost. If you would like spiritual, religious or humanist support, this program may be for you. Contact wellness@ut.edu for more information.
  • The Bias Education Resource Team (BERT) is a group of University employees that provides support and resources to those individuals who have been targeted or impacted by an act of bias. The role of the BERT is to offer impacted community members a space to have their voice heard, opportunities for education to mitigate or prevent similar occurrences in the future, and to ensure a comprehensive and timely response to bias incidents. Bias reports can be filled out by using the Spartan Support Program Form or the Incident Report Form.  For more information on BERT contact Sabrina Griffith, director of Student Care and Advocacy, at bert@ut.edu.

Diversity Opportunities

Athletics

  • Jennifer Alger,assistant athletic director/senior woman administrator, serves as the athletics diversity and inclusion designee, and the point of communication between the NCAA national office, athletics department, conference office and campus when information around inclusive programs, emerging diversity issues and other related equity initiatives needs to be shared.
  • The Sunshine State Conference has established a Diversity & Inclusion Committee made up of one administrator/coach/staff and one student-athlete from each member institution.  
  • The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) participates annually in the Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign which strives to illustrate awareness, education and engagement showing the importance of inclusive environments in college sports.

Admissions and Recruitment

  • UT became fully SAT/ACT test-optional for 2021 admissions. We believe this will enhance the diversity of the student body and will provide for greater access and inclusion.
  • UT works with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide access and opportunity to first-generation and minority students. Every UT admissions counselor works with several CBOs, and this summer the Office of Admissions appointed a counselor who manages our CBO initiatives with 390 different CBOs.
  • New since July, UT is one of only 10 schools that are part of a Coalition for College pilot program. This program is designed to provide access and free college search tools for 200,000 under-represented high school freshmen and sophomores.
  • This summer admissions created an inclusion video, We Are Spartans, that affirms our commitment to combating racism and discrimination. The video has been shared with prospective students and is posted on the UT website.


Core Task Force

The nominations process yielded a significant amount of interest from community members, and we are happy to announce the core task force and subcommittee membership.

Lonnie Bryant
Faculty, Finance

Claire Cilien
Student/Alumna

Sabrina Griffith
Staff, Student Care and Advocacy

Art Goon
Staff, Graduate Admissions

Leander Hamilton
Staff, Human Resources

Arthur Hollist
Faculty, English, Faculty Community Engagement and Responsible Citizenship Committee

Stephanie Russell Krebs
Vice President for Student Affairs

Hannah Lammon
Student, Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group member

Ana Maia
Staff, Leadership and Engagement

Marte Marshall
Student, Graduate Assistant for Retention Initiatives

Brian Spencer
Graduate Student

David Stern
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

J Sumerau
Faculty, Sociology

Adrianne Wilson
Faculty, Education, Faculty Diversity Committee

Task Force Subcommittees and Chairs

Curricular Inventory

  • Arthur Hollist, Chair, Faculty, English and Writing
  • Gary Luter, Faculty, Theatre and Dance
  • Destiny Lane, Student
  • Abigail Hall, Student
  • Karla Borja, Faculty, Economics

Co-Curricular Inventory

  • Ana Maia, Chair, Staff, Leadership and Engagement
  • Erika Buckley, Staff, Leadership and Engagement   
  • Molly Butters, Staff, Career Services
  • Hannah Lammon, Student
  • Michelle Mooney, Student
  • Brian Spencer, Student

Campus Climate                  

  • Adrianne Wilson, Chair, Faculty, Education
  • Jen Wortham, Faculty, Health Sciences and Human Performance
  • Sangbum Ro, Faculty, Management
  • Alisha Menzies, Faculty, Communication
  • Claire Cilien, Student
  • Isaiah Stephens, Student
  • Lonnie Bryant, Faculty, Finance
  • Haydn Rubelmann, Staff, Biology

Benchmarking

  • J Sumerau, Chair, Faculty, Sociology
  • Autumn Brucato, Staff, International Programs
  • Anthony Dodd, Student
  • Rachel Killam, Staff, Career Development and Engagement
  • Stephanie Russell Krebs, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students 

DEI Practices

  • Art Goon, Chair, Staff, Enrollment
  • Jen Alger, Staff, Athletics
  • Kelsey San Antonio, Staff, Human Resources
  • Paula Pack, Staff, Retention Initiatives
  • Marte Marshall, Student
  • David Stern, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

UT as a Workplace

  • Leander Hamilton, Chair, Staff, Human Resources
  • Cheri Etling-Paulsen, Faculty, Finance, Teaching and Learning
  • Sabrina Griffith, Staff, Operations and Planning
  • Jay Langdoc, Staff, Information Technology and Security

Questions? Please email diversitytaskforce@ut.edu.