Dear DDCE Family,
Today is my first official day as Interim VP for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Since the creation of the DDCE in 2007 we have made a remarkable impact on the campus and in the community. Dr. Vincent’s leadership has given us the distinction of being the national model for diversity and community engagement both within higher education and in the corporate arena.
My goal is to build upon that legacy by placing a strong emphasis on campus climate issues. This starts by partnering with other units across campus to increase the number of low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation college students who attend and graduate from UT, and it involves engaging across the city and state with communities that produce these amazing students.
Because these issues are important to me both personally and professionally, I will still be active in the classroom this fall semester teaching two classes, Race in the Age of Trump and History of the Black Power Movement. The classes have a combined enrollment of more than 1,000 students, representing the most diverse cross section of students at the university. From what I am told, they are also two of the most popular classes on campus. Additionally, I will continue visiting as many high schools across the state as I can both to encourage students to attend UT and to motivate others to attend another school of their choice.
It is clear that with this year’s implementation of the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, the DDCE will play an important role collaborating with campus partners on many different levels. Although we are well-positioned to continue the DDCE’s work, there may be challenges.
As you know from the president’s most recent message to employees, the university is facing a $53 million recurring budget reduction over two years—2% of the university’s core budget, a cut which will largely affect administrative units. There has been a positive note related to the budget, however. Since the legislative session, the Board of Regents has boosted UT Austin’s endowment share by four percentage points or $24 million. At this time, we aren’t quite sure what the cut will mean to the division, but the financial reality requires that we work together to ensure we are spending our money effectively and efficiently, without compromising the work needed to meet the DDCE’s mission.
I am looking forward to a phenomenal year making a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff at one of the finest public research institutions in the nation.
Leonard N. Moore
Interim Vice-President for Diversity and Community Engagement
George Littlefield Professor of American History