UT Inclusion, Diversity and Engagement (UT IDE) held its inaugural symposium in downtown Knoxville on Oct. 12 and 13 with guest speakers, group discussion and an interactive theater.

The UT IDE Strategic Alliance members from across the UT System attended and heard from various individuals about the relevance of strategic planning, trust and collaboration, transparency, engagement and more.

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“During the symposium we put the theme of ‘Better Together!’ into practice,” UT System Chief Inclusion Strategy Officer Delphia Howze said. “We focused on connecting, collaborating and defining the strategic direction for inclusion, diversity and engagement throughout the UT System. Guest speakers provided thought-provoking perspectives that support efforts to strengthen an inclusive environment where differing viewpoints can be recognized as value-added elements for faculty, students and staff.”

Attendees engaged with colleagues across the state to discuss topics such that focused strategic plan alignment and dimensions of diversity including intellectual diversity.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Equity and Diversity Michael Alston said, “This symposium helps me connect the dots with the team I am leading. The last two days have been a refresher for how we can center our team around this strategic plan.”

In addition to the UT IDE members leaving the symposium with valuable information to use on their respective campuses, they also reflected on this being the first time they met in person upon assuming these roles.

Meghan Morris, communications and marketing special events coordinator for the UT Space Institute said, “I think it was great for everyone to be together in person after meeting for so long via Zoom. It was a good way to really connect and come up with feasible action items to move the inclusion, diversity and engagement initiative forward.”

This inaugural symposium will take place annually. For UT employees across the state who are interested in learning more about UT IDE, visit the UT IDE website or reach out to Delphia Howze directly: delphia.howze@tennessee.edu.