The University of Texas at Austin will take a look at how its administrators, faculty, staff and students address diversity and inclusion through a new plan released today.
The purpose of the plan, according to University President Gregory Fenves, is to give students, faculty and staff of all backgrounds an “exemplary experience.”
It was developed during the past six months through input from university and student stakeholders, a news release said.
“Just as the university has a master campus plan for its physical spaces, we wanted to develop a comprehensive plan to guide the institution as it supports a more diverse and inclusive campus culture,” said Gregory Vincent, the vice president for diversity and community engagement and one of the plan’s developers. “This plan strengthens these efforts and helps make certain we are all doing our part to build a strong, inclusive culture where all members of the community are respected and the educational experience for our students is enhanced by diverse people, scholarship and ideas.”
The diversity and inclusion plan follows UT’s Hate and Bias Incident Policy, released last month to address discrimination, bigotry and intolerance on campus.
The plan focuses on eight areas: University leadership, staff, students, faculty, communication, campus climate and culture, alumni and community and pre-K-12 partnerships.
Here are five things you should know about the plan:
1. Investments will be made to bring more student housing for freshmen
To give students the “first-year experience,” UT wants to invest in more on-campus housing for freshmen. In addition, the plan says more accessible student housing for disabled students and LGBTQA students is needed.
2. It will create a long-term transportation plan
The plan seeks to create a committee to review campus transportation and develop a five-year transportation plan that will go into effect at the conclusion of the university’s contract with Capital Metro in 2020.
3. It calls for more faculty and staff inclusion training
Faculty teaching Cultural Diversity Flag courses will have to complete inclusive training to show professors understand diverse perspectives. The plan says more professional development and tutorials on inclusion are also needed.
4. It will establish a university-wide testing center
The university’s Services for Students with Disability office has seats for 15 students to be tested at once. The plan calls for a new centralized testing center that would provide more space for disabilities testing.
5. It calls for renewed student recruitment and admissions efforts
The plans state UT will expand minority outreach and recruitment programs as well as include early financial aid packages in recruitment efforts. It will also take a look at the university’s admissions process as a whole.
Nearly 20 years ago, the top 10 percent rule was established in an effort to make Texas public universities’ student bodies more diverse. The state law guarantees admission to public universities to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of a Texas high school class.