Revised August, 2015

The UT Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement (UT IDE) statewide strategic plan is based on what we have learned through our experience on individual campuses and institutes, as well as what we have learned from the University’s employee engagement survey. A statewide strategic plan for Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement will allow us to set strategies across the state. Individual campuses/ institutes will have their own plans for Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement, which may include efforts on the statewide plan, as well as focused initiatives for their specific entity. The purpose of the statewide plan is to provide a clear picture of UT’s workforce profile and work climate and to compare the results against future needs – ultimately providing recommendations and strategies that promote diversity and inclusion. Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement’s priorities are clustered in four categories: 1) planning and resources; 2) communication and collaboration; 3) building capacity for diversity progress and 4) service and relationships.

Planning and Resources

An important first step in the plan is setting priorities, determining both human and fiscal resources, ensuring each campus/institute has a dedicated staff and measuring the effectiveness of our progress, as well as what we still need to accomplish.


Utilize Automated Applicant Tracking System to Attract Diverse, Well-Qualified Staff and Faculty.

Taleo is already utilized statewide for staff hiring. For faculty recruitment, received approval from Chancellors to launch entity-specific work teams to evaluate Taleo, to review current process – what works well and needs improvement and to determine needs going forward. Ron Tredway and Michael Alston are co-leading this effort. Should have process decisions by end of 2014 and targeting full implementation of pilot at UT Chattanooga by Fall, 2015.

Research Best Practices and Structure for OED Offices in Higher Education

  • Identify best practices of top tier institutions recognized for diversity initiatives/success.
    • Comparison of budgets and personnel resources
    • Review space and location of current OED offices as a benchmark for what may be necessary to implement best practices at each individual institution.
    • Analyze volume/time required by each office to insure compliance. o Recommendations for future initiatives or reaching measurable success in programming and training needs for individual campuses
    • Include identified needed resources—human, physical, and fiscal
    • Include expected outcomes
  • Use the AA plan (and any other identifiable resource) to make recommendations for adjustments to compensation at each institution.
  • Review programs and incentives for identifying diverse vendors for RFPs. Make recommendations where necessary.
  • Align with DAC to prevent repetition of efforts of the two groups, recognizing that DAC’s purpose is to make recommendations to the University President.
    • Recommend reports by representatives of one group to the other as a regular part of the agenda.

Build Statewide, Cross-Functional Teams for Strategic Planning.

  • Invite cross-functional groups to participate in an Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement Retreat to review our strategic plan draft and to help with the following deliverables:
  • Educate campus/institute Chancellors or senior leaders on Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement and ensure equity and diversity officers are integrated into entity executive teams (reporting to Chancellor or Vice Chancellor).
  • Define required competencies in compliance, diversity and inclusion for supervisors?
  • Determine training programs and workshops required to educate supervisors. Who will deliver? Will they be optional or mandatory? Should some requirements for supervisors be linked to the annual performance review?
  • Develop pipeline/bridge programs for students/faculty initiatives that increase diversity. Set priorities for initiatives above, with outcomes and recommendations spanning 2014-16.

Communication and Collaboration

Through communication and collaboration, demonstrate Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement’s core value to each entity and to the University overall. Through statewide collaboration with diversity officers, enhance communication, provide effective collaboration, develop a conceptual framework for diversity, institutionalize diversity and incorporate accountability into expectations for all University administrators, faculty and staff.


Enhance Communication and Collaboration.

Continue quarterly meetings with diversity officers statewide, including HROs at least twice a year in a joint retreat for continued collaboration and shared initiatives. Report semi-annually to entity executive team and annually through AAP and DAC. Develop strategic partnerships on each campus/institute to work collaboratively toward aligned goals. This work will begin in 2014 and be ongoing.

Update and Focus Statewide Diversity Website and Entity Websites.

Update and improve statewide diversity website, incorporating information and updates about DAC, as well as a picture and statement from DAC chair. Make sure information is timely, engaging and educates administrators, faculty and staff. Create opportunities for “ASK Equity and Diversity” and for FAQs that everyone can access. Can we provide online training and track participation? Partner with statewide communication team for statewide website and with entity communication teams where development or enhancements of websites are needed. Some entity websites are current and informational and need no changes. This work will begin in 2014 and be ongoing.

Review HR Statewide Strategic Plan and Look for Opportunities for Collaboration.

Several initiatives on HR’s strategic plan align with and support the Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement goals. Look for opportunities for collaboration. Examples include: succession planning model, career development institute, improvement of performance review process and potential inclusion of diversity expectations for supervisors, supervisor/manager/leader development cascade, redesign of new employee orientation and departmental orientation, recruitment strategies and branding effort, etc. Diversity officers to review plan and look for opportunities of collaboration to share at joint retreat with HROs in 2014 and ongoing.

Develop a Conceptual Framework for Diversity.

Diversity officers to define Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement. Partnering with communication’s officers, develop a communication strategy and plan to communicate the economic imperative of diversity. This is a late 2014 initiatives. Institutionalize Diversity at the Entity Level. Senior leaders, statewide and entity-specific, demonstrate the importance of diversity through action. Diversity officers to define what that looks like and how to engage senior leaders. How will efforts be sustainable? Once best practice research is completed, recommendations and implementation of specific initiatives will be made to senior leaders statewide in 2015-16.

Research Best Practice Institutional Accountabilities and Develop a Statewide and Specific Entity Plans for Ensured Accountability.

Diversity officers to determine who and how best practice research will be conducted; then officers will develop recommendations for accountability to be presented to senior leaders for discussion and adoption in late 2014/ early 2015.

Building Capacity for Diversity Progress

Build a framework of programs and services, a way to measure results and to communicate our progress and develop plans for improvement where we have not been effective. This part of the strategic plan begins with identifying strengths, weakness and potential barriers, as well as sharing our resources where we can statewide. By working as a statewide team on many of our initiatives, we have expanded thinking, resources and shared accomplishments and results. There will always be entity-specific initiatives, as each campus and institute is different with focused markets, specific issues, concerns and commitment for change and improvement.


Implement Stronger Recruitment Strategies to Change/Diversify Current UT Workforce.

Benchmark best practice ideas; develop common recruitment resources university-wide, such as potential for dedicated diversity recruiter(s); strengthen creative programs that attract under-represented population, such as recruitment ambassadors, mentoring programs, etc. and determine how we will track success and develop evaluation methodology. HR is also working on this initiative, so we should collaborate and combine our focus. This is a 2014-15 initiative.

Develop Education/Training to Gain Buy-in and Commitment From Key Decision Makers.

Develop system-wide training program for faculty/staff/administration, as well as specific training for search committees. Get senior leader buy-in for development and implementation of training. Will training be optional or required? Pilot training at one entity. Determine how we will monitor and re-evaluate participation and outcomes. Recommendation for development and piloting of training is a 2015-16 initiative.

UT IDE Officers are Empowered to Make Decisions.

Through collaboration, communication, training, programs and services that support the workforce and senior-leader commitment, diversity officers are empowered to make key decisions. This effort will require open and ongoing dialogue with HR, Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement, hiring units, general counsel and both entity and statewide senior leaders. Diversity leaders need to discuss and determine how to lay the foundation to receive authority needed to impact change. Further development of this initiative and discussion with senior leaders in late 2014/early 2015.

Develop Diversity and Inclusion Programs that Enhance UT’s Competitiveness to Recruit and Retain Top Talent.

Identify and cultivate potential markets for each entity, in partnership with the HR Recruitment teams. Identify statewide and entity-specific SWOTs (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Invite HR facilitator to engage diversity officers at a retreat in 2014 to complete a SWOT assessment and to further develop next steps and recommendations for senior leaders. This is a 2014-15 initiative.

Evaluate Recruitment and Enrollment of Diverse Students.

Assemble a diverse statewide team to do best practice research and evaluate how each UT campus may develop robust community and school networks that can be leveraged to facilitate diversity in the recruitment and enrollment of students. As a goal, UT campuses would give consideration to the creation of a unified diversity recruitment strategy that will make the most efficient use of limited resources while enabling institutional individuality. Need to determine diversity officer who will lead this effort and what groups (provosts, admissions, OIT, IR, etc.) that need to be included in the research/analysis team. Review complete and recommendation for next steps to be made by end of 2014.

Service and Relationships

Focus on a cultural shift in how Equity and Diversity is viewed—from regulatory to integral to what the University values and represents; focus on expansion of customer-service and to be seen as a resource partner vs. “the police”; diversity officers partner with HR to become change agents and valuable resources at all levels. The foundational component of this area of focus is to continue joint meetings with HR and collaborative work with HR, IR, General Counsel’s office and other key partners in service-focus and diversity and inclusion. Many of the initiatives in this area have been covered in other areas of focus, such as improvement of websites, enhanced training and increased communication and collaboration.


Write Statewide Mission and Vision Statement for Equity and Diversity.

Test the statement on key customers to see what resonates and what they want to see. Get buy-in from diversity leaders statewide and DAC. Receive senior-leader endorsement and approval. Work with communication officers statewide and at entities to communicate effectively. This is a 2014-15 initiative.

Pay Attention to Language We Use and How to Create Culture of Inclusion.

While much of what we do is regulatory and required federally, by state or by University policies, how can we engage administrators, faculty and staff to understand the value of diversity and inclusion and why compliance is important to them – how do we engage the mind and capture commitment to diversity and inclusion? We must define and become change agents. A retreat in 2014 should be focused on this with specific outcomes that can be added to the strategic plan. This is a 2014 initiative and ongoing.

Update Senior Leaders on What We Have Learned and How We Can Improve.

Diversity officers should meet regularly with statewide and entity senior leaders and provide success stories, areas of needed focus and educate them on what “we do.” Focus needs to be positive. While we have much to accomplish, we are not always seen as optimistic or change agents. Where we need improvement, we should focus on what, how and when. And, it is equally important to share success stories and where we have made impact as an institution. This is a 2015 initiative and ongoing; after we get some of the foundational components of our plan in place first.

Utilize EES Results to Measure Progress and Areas of Focus.

Use what we learn from the Employee Engagement Survey, ERAB and our entity-specific faculty senates, exempt staff councils, employee relations’ councils and commissions to gauge climate and acceptance of change. How can we support initiatives of change and refocus negative energy? How else can we specifically measure our effectiveness? This is a 2014-15 and ongoing initiative; after we get some of the foundational components of our plan in place first.