Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at LBJ: Curriculum | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at LBJ: Curriculum


A world-class public affairs education must help students contemplate and navigate the heterogeneity of communities and countries. To do so, curricula must reflect and address how diversity affects domestic and global policy. The LBJ School, together with peer institutions, is pursuing a course of mainstreaming attention to DEI issues across the curriculum with the following goals: every student engaging with DEI-related content; coursework recognizing and factoring in the heterogeneity of organizations and societies; and courses including syllabi that have woven in a diverse array of perspectives.

The LBJ School provides a number of courses with a DEI lens and a DEI-focused course, E Pluribus Unum was developed to provide a robust DEI policy learning experience. However, these courses do not touch the entire student body as there is no requirement to take a DEI-related course.

In recognizing the need to change the institutional structures that govern course requirements the MPAff graduate studies committee (GSC) has revamped its core policy development offering. The MPAff GSC is in the process of approving a core policy development course that will be required of all MPAff students. The proposed core course will have five required elements:

  1. Reading of historical documents;
  2. Discussion of ethics and leadership;
  3. Coverage of analytic frameworks;
  4. Issues in policy processes and institutions; and
  5. Coverage of equity issues (race, gender).

This new policy development core is expected in spring 2021 at the earliest. At this stage the MGPS program does not have a similar plan but will be meeting with students to determine how a MGPS DEI core course can be developed.

The LBJ School leadership is committed to a reformulation of curriculum that reflects and addresses how diversity affects domestic and global policy. The LBJ School will work with both students and faculty governance to see the successful implementation of the proposed MPAff core PD as well as the creation and ultimate implementation of a core DEI MGPS course.

Mainstreaming DEI issues in curriculum must not be limited to core courses. The LBJ School will be providing tools to faculty members to diversify their syllabi and at the same time, faculty will be incentivized to do so. Beginning AY 2020–21 all faculty yearly merit reviews and promotion cases must include a DEI statement that addresses how diversity, equity and inclusion has been drawn into one's teaching. Annual course observations will also now include a DEI evaluation criterion.

To enhance D&I in courses the CDO will provide syllabus and pedagogy workshops as well as individualized course consultation.