Promote equitable access to education, experiences, research and career development opportunities
Our university doesn’t simply provide a world-class education—more than that, we strive to be a place where our community can engage in transformative experiences that lead to opportunities for career advancement, innovative research and personal growth. To foster the individual talents of our community, we need to cultivate processes and procedures across the university that serve to support and promote the student, staff and faculty experience at UT Austin. We will invest and expand the opportunities needed to help both undergraduate and graduate students succeed on campus, graduate and find successful career paths. We must also ensure opportunities for advancement for our faculty through equitable policies, processes and systems. We will support the passionate staff who keep UT Austin running every day. We recognize the need to prioritize and increase funding and opportunities for growth and development through professional pathways for staff across colleges, schools and units. Lastly, we recognize that we need to prioritize retention of executive and administrative leadership from underserved communities, and we must improve development opportunities so they better support all, to bring new perspectives and drive our impact. We believe that when we make these pathways and processes part of the everyday focus of the university, we will drive equitable outcomes for all members of our campus community.
How we will accomplish our objectives:
2.1 Expand and invest in the structures needed to help undergraduate and graduate students succeed on campus, graduate and find a career path
It is essential for our students to thrive personally and academically on our campus. It is equally important that we prepare them for an impactful career after they graduate.
- Launch student equity success project in collaboration between the DDCE and the Provosts’ Office to actively measure and support closing the gaps in underrepresented students’ retention and graduation
- Provide support to colleges and schools with historically lower outcomes of retention and graduation for underrepresented students
- Implement career-readiness into undergraduate and graduate programming to help students better understand how these programs— and their college experiences—help prepare them for career success
2.2 Support professional development and mentorship to improve faculty retention
Research suggests that faculty from diverse backgrounds can face challenges to equitable opportunities for promotion and tenure. One significant challenge is the idea of “cultural taxation.” Cultural taxation is defined as additional service, often unpaid, to the affinity groups and communities they represent, at the cost of research or personal time. We will work to develop a better understanding of what root causes drive our faculty to leave, while working to improve retention.
- Continue diverse Provost’s Administrative Leadership (PAL) Fellows Program to create an opportunity for one-on-one leadership mentorship for mid-level diverse faculty who have demonstrated skill and interest in advancing diversity and inclusion as recommended by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost’s Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan
- Create collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships within colleges and schools to expand mentorship opportunities and ensure that faculty most at risk of departure are connected
2.3 Prioritize and increase opportunities for meaningful career growth and development through professional pathways for staff across our colleges, schools and units
The career experiences of many of our staff can be challenging as they find themselves providing additional service roles, supporting students in their own community, in addition to their primary roles. These added support roles are a cultural tax that overburdens a core resource of our campus. In addition, we know that all staff would benefit from more clear professional pathways and support in navigating through the university.
- Work with central Human Resources and colleges, schools and units (CSU) to identify consistent processes and best practices for supervisors to give guidance on promotion and advancement in their staff’s annual review
- Provide equitable professional development opportunities for staff across all colleges, schools and units, including training and information on existing career development resources already available in CSUs and Workday
2.4 Continue to improve and develop the diversity of our faculty and staff leadership
We value diversity because it brings new voices, insights and experiences to the table. Simply put, a diverse leadership creates innovation. To bring leaders together we need to ensure that we are investing in our faculty and staff leadership pathways for advancement. We also need to encourage senior leadership to support staff and faculty in professional development.
- Ensure that faculty and staff from marginalized communities are aware of leadership opportunities including committee and board involvement, and encourage them to apply for these opportunities
- Invest in leadership and professional trainings and mentorship programs, and find ways to motivate faculty and staff participation
2.5 Recognize and value individuals and organizations who are committed to the work of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Every day, students, faculty and staff on our campus and across Texas are championing the values of UT Austin and working to make our campus an inclusive, dynamic space. We should innovate ways to spotlight and value that work.
- Recognize and support individuals and organizations who do great work in diversity, equity and inclusion
- Demonstrate to our campus community that DEI is valued and honored at UT Austin