May 8, 2018
Dear faculty colleagues,
The end of the spring semester is an exciting and busy time. I want to thank you for your hard work this year, and I hope you will be able to enjoy some well-deserved downtime this summer.
Before the semester comes to an end, I want to provide an update regarding the various efforts underway to address faculty diversity and inclusion across campus. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is incredibly important to me and imperative to our future as the public flagship research university for the state of Texas. Much public attention is focused on the diversity of our student population, but greater diversity among faculty — as well as the campus community overall — benefits our students and also strengthens our excellence in research, scholarship, and creativity. Breakthroughs are generated by diverse perspectives, and we accomplish this by tapping into the full breadth and depth of talent and experiences of our faculty.
I would first like to acknowledge the efforts underway across campus. Diversity and Inclusion Committees in all the colleges and schools have been working in concert with deans, Vice Provost for Diversity Ted Gordon, the Council for Racial and Ethnic Equity and Diversity, and the University Faculty Gender Equity Council.
National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
UT Austin faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and administrators now have on-demand access to mentoring and professional development resources from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). NCFDD is a nationally recognized independent organization dedicated to supporting faculty, particularly underrepresented faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students from more than 450 colleges and universities in making successful transitions throughout their careers. This new resource provides online career development, training, and mentoring resources. I encourage all faculty members to explore and take advantage of the resources. Activate your membership here.
Faculty Search Committee Training
UT Austin launched workshops modeled after national best practices to assist search committees in diversifying applicant pools, build awareness of biases, and provide guidance to mitigate their effects. This training is intended to provide information and support to effectively manage searches and ensure fair and thorough reviews of applicants. The first training workshop was offered in early May, and it will continue to be offered to search committee chairs and members.
University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan
In order to keep the campus community better informed about diversity initiatives across campus, a new website has been developed that includes progress updates regarding the University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (UDIAP). Numerous efforts are underway to address faculty diversity specifically. I encourage you to learn more about their progress here and provide feedback.
I will continue to provide updates as these initiatives move forward, and I welcome your feedback on ways we can improve. We will soon be publishing more detailed diversity information on the Provost’s Office website, and we will make this available in the coming weeks.
I wish all faculty members the best as we finish a productive spring semester. Thank you, again, for your important work and contributions in the classroom and through your research and scholarship.
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin