Leonard N. Moore, vice president for diversity and community engagement and George W. Littlefield Professor of American history, recently outlined his “Six Big Ideas” for transforming the DDCE.
With a focus on inclusion, innovation and investment, Moore aims to build on the university’s “What Starts Here Changes the World” mission statement by better preparing students for the new world of work through creative academic programming. At the division’s fall All-Division Staff Meeting, he introduced Ruben Cantu, the new director of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship who will soon launch a program designed to help first-generation and underrepresented students break into the business world.
Priority areas also include increasing study abroad opportunities and building upon our offices and centers that work to improve inclusivity and accessibility on campus and in the community. Read the “Six Big Ideas” listed below for more details about what’s in store for the DDCE’s next new era.
Academic Creativity and Design
Our academic programs are designed to prepare students for the new world of work. These initiatives place a strong emphasis on the soft skills students need to thrive in the workplace such as leading people, managing projects, embracing risk, taking initiative, becoming emotionally intelligent, being adaptable, thriving in ambiguity, understanding cultural differences and acquiring global experience.
Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship
This platform helps students break into the world of Austin’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. It includes a career accelerator program for first-generation and underrepresented students with a focus on entrepreneurial skills; a portfolio of initiatives that introduce students to the world of start-ups, venture, and social innovation; and a student-led in house management consulting unit that helps students solve real-world problems for community and corporate partners. This platform also serves as the key hub for DDCE’s connections to the Austin corporate community.
Community Integrated Healthcare Initiative
The DDCE has a long-standing commitment to reducing healthcare inequities. As Austin’s new Healthcare Innovation District takes shape, the DDCE is strategically positioned to leverage our expertise and collaborate with community partners as we find new ways to meet the healthcare needs of the urban and rural poor. In collaboration with the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and the UT Dell Medical School, DDCE also works to address the lack of diversity in healthcare delivery by helping medical workers understand and appreciate cultural differences and by preparing students for careers in the health professions.
Global Leadership and Social Impact
The DDCE’s award-winning global programs give students a project-based academic internship with real-world work experience in critical areas such as social entrepreneurship, urban economic development and leadership. The programs are currently held in three of the most dynamic and rapidly changing cities in the world—Cape Town, South Africa; Beijing, China; and San Jose, Costa Rica. Our students immerse themselves in the cultures of those cities for life-changing professional experiences.
Community Engagement and Economic Development
With more than 400 community partners, the DDCE has made a significant impact in Austin’s low-income communities. Through town hall meetings, public policy advocacy, research, academic service-learning and non-profit leadership development, the DDCE Community Engagement Center addresses societal challenges in the areas of public education, health equity, legal, and affordable housing. The next phase of this work involves initiatives that create economic opportunity and drive social mobility for communities, families and individuals.
Creating and maintaining a healthy campus climate is a foundational pillar for the DDCE and the broader community of The University of Texas at Austin. The University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan provides a roadmap for these efforts. Additionally, the Office for Inclusion and Equity, the Campus Climate Response Team, the Campus Contextualization Committee, the Diversity Education Institute, the Multicultural Engagement Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center and Services for Students with Disabilities work to make sure that all members of the university community feel welcomed, valued and respected.
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