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Change Starts Here: You Belong Here

Building an Equitable and Inclusive Campus

Change Starts Here is UT’s strategic plan to increase our positive impact on the world, through people, place and pursuits.  As part of that work, You Belong Here presents a strategic approach for initiative area 1.9, to further build inclusion, equity and belonging at UT Austin.

Strategic Direction

This strategic approach represents the ongoing equity, diversity and inclusion work at UT Austin that supports increasing our impact. Recruiting, attracting and retaining a culturally diverse faculty, staff and student body on campus is at the core of our efforts. We need a wide range of identities, perspectives and experiences in our classrooms, on our campus and in our leadership. That means ensuring equity of access and experience for all campus members while strengthening community and inclusion at UT Austin.

You Belong Here (PDF)
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Read the Glossary

You Belong Here cover

Aspiration

Empower our students, staff and faculty to individually thrive and to collectively build an inclusive, equitable campus community that embraces diversity of backgrounds and ideas and makes a positive impact on our campus, the state of Texas and beyond.

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Representation

Build a more diverse talented community of students, staff and faculty

Read about Representation

Equity

Promote equitable access to education, experiences, research and career development opportunities

Read about Equity

Inclusion

Create an authentic, inclusive, accessible campus

Read about Inclusion

Belonging

Build and support a culture of belonging

Read about Belonging

Transparency

Collaborate across campus to increase transparency of and access to DEI efforts at UT Austin

Read about Transparency

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

As The University of Texas at Austin prepares future leaders, it is committed to providing equitable access and inclusion in all our activities and to creating an inclusive environment of teaching, research, and service in which all can learn from each other.

As an institution with a history of denying equitable access to qualified students, staff, and faculty, The University of Texas at Austin affirms its responsibility to create an environment in which all of its members are respected, equitably included, and afforded equal opportunities for education, employment, advancement, compensation, recognition, and satisfaction.

The University is dedicated to attracting highly qualified students, faculty, and staff of all races, ethnicities, peoples, nationalities, religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, gender identities and expressions, disabilities, and health histories, as well as marital, parental, veteran, citizenship or socioeconomic status. The University also welcomes a wide range of ideas and viewpoints.

The University of Texas wholeheartedly believes that students are better prepared to succeed in an increasingly diverse state and interconnected society when they receive the many educational benefits of a diverse learning environment.

Make It Your Texas sculpture with three traditionally-dressed Latina dancers

Milestones

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The following timeline represents diversity, equity and inclusion-related milestones that have occurred over the past year, which are a continuation of the many significant improvements the university has made over time. Together, we have made great strides in fostering a welcoming and inclusive campus.

View the Milestones

“Belonging is making sure that every single Longhorn on this campus feels that they truly do belong here.”

– Alexis George, Working Committee Member

“I hope for a campus community that is inclusive and accessible in ways that bring the best people here.”

– Grayson Hunt, Working Committee Member

“What is important to me about DEI work is trying to build a culture that respects the dignity of everyone.”

– Richard Flores, Steering Committee Member


How We Got Here

In 2021, President Jay Hartzell charged Dr. LaToya Smith, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of the DDCE, to reinvigorate our vision of diversity and inclusion on campus. Dr. Smith assembled two teams composed of students, faculty and staff alongside key members of university leadership to define our strategic direction and identify the five key workstreams that support this work.

Committee members reviewed more than 400 previous suggestions made by 18 organizations from across campus over the past two years, including incorporating the priorities and action items from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost’s Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan. The committee engaged the community through more than 50 focus groups with staff, faculty, students and alumni. Inaddition, they drew upon a fact base of quantitative data, metrics and benchmarks, which included more than 20 internal sources, as well as benchmark data from peer institutions in Texas and across the nation.

In May 2022, the strategic direction, You Belong Here, was rolled out. Looking forward, the Operational Plan, including detailed goals and metrics, will be released.

1,500+

Feedback

Committee members reviewed feedback from dozens of surveys and reports from the past five years that include representation from students, staff and faculty across the campus.

1,000+

Socialization

University leaders met with dozens of groups to gather feedback and ideas about the scope of the plan and how to make it truly representative of our campus community.

50

Focus Groups

Beginning in 2021, the working committee spoke with community members at length to gather feedback and inform the plan’s direction.