Build a more diverse talented community of students, staff and faculty
Change Starts Here: You Belong Here
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. 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.
Five Pillars of Our Strategic Direction
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.
“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 pillars 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.
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.
Dr. Smith 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.
Beginning in 2021, the working committee spoke with community members at length to gather feedback and inform the plan’s direction.