By Dr. Ge Chen
Spring 2013 is a busy but exciting semester for the programs in the portfolio of Academic Diversity Initiatives working toward achievement of the Pipeline Goal of the DDCE Strategic Plan. There are numerous end-of-year events to celebrate participants’ academic achievements and graduating seniors as they move on to college, graduate school and their first professional jobs.
208 Pre-College Academic Readiness Program (PCARP) and UT Outreach students from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley have been admitted to UT Austin for the fall 2013. These students participated in the full campus experience at Longhorn Preview Day on Friday, February 22. They met with many faculty, staff and students to learn about different aspects of college life. They heard motivational speeches from Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, and from Dr. Leonard Moore, Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity Initiatives and Civic Engagement. They had a residence hall tour, lunch in Jester, and visited with Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE) staff to learn about the many programs offered though the center.
Staff at LCAE hope that all of these students will join the 2017 Longhorn graduating class and participate in LCAE programs in Fall 2013. LCAE is also working closely with Admissions and other academic success programs to invite other incoming freshmen. 600 selection letters went out in mid-March. As of today, over 250 students have confirmed their participation in the Gateway Scholars Program or Longhorn Link Program. In response to the 4-year graduation initiative, the Gateway Scholars Program is expanding to serve over 500 freshmen in the 2013-14 academic year.
As a part of the data gathering process in the diversity planning partnership between the College of Fine Arts and Campus Diversity and Strategic Initiatives (CDSI), the results of the Fine Arts Diversity Committee (FADC) climate assessment conducted in spring 2012 are now available online, in an executive summary and a full report. The survey, completed by 702 students, faculty and staff (26% of the college overall), asked about perceptions of diversity, climate, intergroup relations and discrimination within COFA and UT-Austin.
Overall, survey respondents indicated that the college promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment and that diversity is integrated to varying degrees in the curricular, performative, scholarly and social aspects of the college. Still, those taking the survey indicated a greater need for sensitivity and inclusion of diversity in the COFA experience and there was less satisfaction with particular aspects of the environment noted by those identifying with underrepresented groups within the college.
Some examples of the assessment’s findings include:
- 86% of survey respondents agreed that skills related to diversity are needed for the professional success of COFA graduates.
- Two-thirds of survey takers felt comfortable discussing diversity in the classroom or workplace.
- 60% of respondents said that the curriculum prepares students for careers that recognize the needs of diverse populations. People of color and those who identified as low-income, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer were more likely than their peers to disagree.
- 61% of survey respondents felt that diversity is adequately reflected in COFA’s productions, performances, exhibitions and events.
- People of color, women and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer were more likely than their counterparts to say they had experienced or witnessed discrimination on campus.
- Respondents indicated that students, faculty and staff interacted most positively across three types of diversity — sexual orientation, national origin and disability — and slightly less positively across differences of socioeconomic status, religion, race/ethnicity and gender.
During the spring semester and beyond, the Fine Arts Diversity Committee will use the data collected in the climate assessment, along with data from other college and university surveys and upcoming focus groups and stakeholder interviews in the college, to set goals and objectives for COFA’s inaugural Diversity Plan.
The next step in the diversity planning process includes FADC holding focus groups in the college with faculty, staff, and students from February 18-28. The committee is interested in creating a space for open dialogue where participants can share their perspectives and insight on diversity and equity in the college.
In fall 2012, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement completed an update on progress toward implementing the inaugural strategic plan. The 2012-2013 progress report provides highlights of accomplishments from the first implementation year (2011-2012) and priorities for the second year (2012-2013). It is also available in the sidebar on the right of this page.
The Division also released an overview of the full strategic plan, which is now posted on The Plan page. A special thank you to Senior Graphic Designer for DDCE, Ron Bowdoin, and Digital Media Manager, Jason Molin, who make the strategic plan come to life on the page and on screen!
The University of Texas at Austin honored one organization and three individuals for outstanding public service and work on civil rights at the Sixth Annual Community Leadership Awards Ceremony at the Carver Museum and Cultural Center on December 6, 2012. The event was co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. This year, University of Texas Regent Printice L. Gary joined President Bill Powers and Vice President Dr. Gregory J. Vincent presenting the awards. The Community Leadership Circle Award was recently renamed to honor Dr. James L. Hill, the first African American vice president of UT Austin and longtime educator who died September 2.
The honorees were:
- Special Recognition — Edwin R. Sharpe, clinical professor, Department of Educational Administration, The University of Texas at Austin; former UT System executive vice chancellor and former UT Austin vice president for administration
- Community Partnership Award — The Villager Newspaper, published by T. L. “Tommy” Wyatt, who was a founding member of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Publishers Association
- Dr. James L. Hill Community Leadership Circle Award — Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP since 2000 and founder of the Garvey/Allen/Washington Project
- Dr. June Brewer Legacy Award — The Honorable Wilhelmina Delco, former state representative who served for 10 terms and was the first female speaker pro tempore of the Texas Legislature
DDCE’s annual Community Leadership Awards presentations support the strategic plan’s Community Engagement objective to build a comprehensive community relations program. Thank you to all of our campus and community partners who make these events possible.