In January 2010, at the direction of The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, Interim President Jan Simek appointed the OED Organizational Review Task Force. The charge given by Dr. Simek was straight forward:  “Determine how to become more effective and efficient in advancing diversity across the University of Tennessee System.”

Integral to that charge was an assessment of how the different campuses seek to recruit more diverse student populations; how all units within the University seek to bring greater diversity to the faculty and staff; what are the “Best Practices” being employed by colleges and universities with the best track records regarding these challenges from across the country.

A key element in the charge to the task force was to “undertake … the identification and analyses of the barriers and obstacles that are resistant to … increasing diversity in student enrollment, and the ranks of faculty and staff.” Those assessments and analyses have been completed and were contained in the OED Organizational Review Task Force Report delivered to the Board of Trustees in fall 2010.

Building on that report will be a primary responsibility of the Diversity Oversight Committee. The report to the board defined the roles of the Board of Trustees and the president relative to accountability for diversity across the University System: The Board of Trustees will “hold the president accountable for diversity efforts, and the president will hold the chancellors and institute vice presidents accountable for diversity efforts on their campus/institutes.”

Additionally, the task force report defined the campus role, the System OED role, and the relationship between the two. In part, the campus role is to “define, develop and execute campus plans” and to “implement diversity efforts on campuses [and institutes] and report to chancellors or institute vice president.” The System OED role includes “advisor and best practice research and expertise” and “strategic planning.” This will include the development of matrixes for measuring diversity performance for accountability purposes.


The charge to the Diversity Advisory Council is to advise the president regarding matters pertaining to:

  • How to be effective and efficient in the recruitment, retention and graduation of a more diverse student population
  • Recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty and staff
  • Development and implementation of performance measurements for the purpose of accountability, and other matters relating to diversity as necessary