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Vol Vision Priority 6 Update

As my leadership team and I assess where we are as a university in relation to the Vol Vision 2020 strategic goals, we recognize the need to communicate where we stand on Priority 6—Diversity and Inclusion.

A great deal of work has been done since the sixth priority was added to the strategic plan in 2016. That work is instructive as we foster an atmosphere that prioritizes diversity and inclusion and create an infrastructure across campus to support our efforts.

While serving as executive director of talent management, diversity, and community relations in the Haslam College of Business, Tyvi Small co-chaired the Priority 6 working group with Angie Batey, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and James Cox Professor of Music.

Provost Manderscheid and I recently accepted the working group’s Vol Vision 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Report, which includes a snapshot of our campus’s status and challenges as well as implementable recommendations for improvement and mechanisms for tracking progress. The report is based on feedback from campus listening sessions, student and employee survey information, an inventory of active campus diversity and inclusion initiatives, in-depth data review, and benchmarking with peer universities.

One of the recommendations of the working group report was to hire a chief diversity officer. Appointing Tyvi to the role of interim vice chancellor of diversity and engagement is a big first step in an iterative and collaborative process.

In addition to producing the report for the chancellor, the working group hosted the Tennessee Business Diversity and Inclusion Roundtable. The roundtable engaged Tennessee business leaders to better understand the role UT plays in developing a well-educated workforce that can compete in a global economy. Following that event, the working group published a white paper summarizing the roundtable.

Both Tyvi and Angie also served with other faculty and staff on the Diversity Champions working group, chaired by Lori Amber Roessner, associate professor in the College of Communication and Information. This group was charged by the provost to produce a series of recommendations and best practices, which are outlined in the Report on Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Faculty.

We appreciate the work of everyone involved in producing these reports. They will be used as the foundation for continued collaborative work to create the infrastructure that supports diversity and engagement in our campus community now and into the future. We welcome your input on the work to date and the work to come to support Priority 6.

We will be sharing an update this week on our progress on all metrics within the Vol Vision 2020 strategic plan, including diversity and inclusion metrics.

Have a great week, and go Vols!