Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
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Change Starts Here: You Belong Here

Change Starts Here: You Belong Here


May 2022:  Change Starts Here and You Belong Here Launch

Change Starts Here is our 10-year strategic plan to increase the university’s positive impact on the world. It’s organized around three ideas that have always made UT special: our people, our place and our pursuits. This last category — pursuits — we have further divided into three parts: 1. Experience — how can we ensure a UT education is life-changing for students and that working here is a first-in-class experience for faculty and staff? 2. Education — what does a college student need to learn today and what is the best way to teach that? And 3. Research — what are the most pressing needs of our age, and how can we better harness our intellectual power to meet this moment?

“Join us as we bring this plan to reality, creating a UT culture where everyone feels empowered to engage in the life of the university, where our ideas and opinions may be challenged, but our values, experiences, and identities will be respected.”

– LaToya Smith, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement

March/April 2022:  Strategic Direction

  • Strategic Direction for the plan was drafted
  • Presented Strategic Direction of the Equitable and Inclusive Campus Plan to various stakeholders on campus

February 2022: Aspirations, Pillars and Objectives

  • Gathered focus group feedback, recommendations from campus community organizations and feedback from leadership to identify priorities and goals
  • Created an aspiration statement, pillars and main objectives for the plan

December/January 2022: Committee asks for feedback

  • Working committee facilitates focus groups for faculty, staff and students
  • Participants who could not attend the focus groups, can also give feedback here.

October 2022: DDCE Begins Working on Phase II

  • Engage with faculty, staff, students and community members
  • Align the working and steering committees with the strategic plan
  • Design metrics and track progress

June 2021: DDCE Begins Working on Phase I

  • Review the plan, improve the process
  • Work with key stakeholders on what is working and not working
  • Analyze data and benchmark with other universities

March 2021: The “Eyes of Texas” Report Is Published

The full, book-length report provides details about the origins, meaning and debut of “The Eyes of Texas.” It also includes the evolution and popularization of the song, a timeline of milestones and the committee’s recommendations. Read the report.

The Eyes of Texas History Committee Report cover

January 2021: Dr. Smith Refocuses Implementation

VP LaToya Smith

Dr. LaToya Smith becomes vice president and is charged with refocusing and sharpening the implementation of the Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan by regularly signaling priorities, commitments and progress toward measurable goals through a refreshed and better-communicated plan.

January 2021: President Hartzell Announces Series of DEI Actions

President Jay Hartzell

In July 2020, UT Austin President Jay Hartzell announces a series of actions to promote diversity, inclusion and equity and to more fully support Black students on campus.

“During the past month, I have listened to scores of students. I went into these conversations understanding that UT has worked hard to become a more diverse and welcoming place. I came out of them realizing there is still more work to do — and this starts and ends by creating an environment in which students are fully supported before, during and after their time at UT.”—Jay Hartzell, UT Austin President

June 2020: Students Release ‘8 Demands’

A coalition of students release a list of demands titled “Student Community Statement: 8 Demands for Transformative Change,” which called for a number of actions to make the campus more supportive of Black and Indigenous students of color.

“UT must now act on this public commitment by taking an active role and listening to students. Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) student leaders should be at the forefront of these conversations.”—the statement reads.

UT Senate tweets it's 8 demands

April 2019: Second Round of Updates

The second set of updates are added to the website featuring community-wide progress among eight key constituencies.

  1. University Leadership
  2. Campus Climate and Culture
  3. Students
  4. Faculty
  5. Staff
  6. Alumni and Community
  7. Pre-K–12 Partnerships and Education Pipeline
  8. Communications, Assessment, and Accountability

March 2018: First Progress Reported

UDIAP website is launched and the first “In progress” updates are reported.

February 2018: UDIAP Plan Is Published

Students, faculty members and administrators spent the 2016-17 academic year developing the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (UDIAP), which was adopted in spring 2017. The plan is a reflection upon how we can provide the best education possible for students from all backgrounds, especially those who have been historically marginalized.

Since the adoption of the UDIAP, every college, school and unit on campus has been involved in making changes and embracing best practices to foster an open, positive and inclusive learning environment for all.

The UDIAP is considered a fluid document and will be reviewed twice a year. Updates to the plan will be based upon changing campus climate, new academic initiatives and progress, the state and national higher education landscape and feedback from the campus community.

UDIAP cover
Download the PDF. (Get a PDF reader).

February 2017: UDIAP Is Launched

The UDIAP implementation guide is developed and launched as an inventory of ongoing efforts to reduce institutional barriers and increase equity, access and inclusion for underrepresented and traditionally underserved communities.

June 2016: Students Send List of Demands

Undergraduate Loyce Gallow helps to lead a group of students in sending a list of demands to the VPSA, President Fenves and the DDCE.

List of student demands from June 2016