Diversity & Inclusion | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Dean's Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Established by a president who passed the most ambitious civil rights laws in the history of our country, the LBJ School of Public Affairs has long focused on analyzing and addressing the injustices entrenched in our society. But we still have a long way to go in addressing those injustices within our nation and our school, and we share the urgency for concrete initiatives to combat systemic racism and other inequities in our institution. As interim dean, I am committed to a robust agenda for fostering a more diverse, inclusive and supportive LBJ community.

Composition, culture and curriculum have been the cornerstones of our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. These cornerstones are inextricable; each has a ripple effect on the others and plays an equal role in our progress.

Several activities are already underway to support our new DEI agenda. First, to foster composition that is inclusive, the LBJ School has established new mentorship programs for both current and prospective students of color. Changes in composition will have an impact on our culture. We are committed to cultivating a culture for inclusivity and dialogue through regular student assemblies and meetings with the Chief Diversity Officer, as well as by expanding the DEI Committee to include more school stakeholders. Moreover, to embed DEI issues into a foundational policy framework for the entire student body, we are changing our curriculum and shaping a required DEI course for all LBJ students. This course will aim to ensure that all LBJ students are conversant in the intersections of public policy and DEI. Finally, we are working to cultivate a culture at the LBJ School so that our faculty have the additional support and resources needed to thoughtfully integrate DEI across the curriculum. These efforts, along with others, are outlined below.

Thank you for joining me in this commitment. As we continue to evolve and recalibrate our efforts around DEI, I want to hear directly from the LBJ community on your needs and insights. In the coming months, I will prioritize discussion of these issues in the small group meetings I will be holding with members of our community. I trust that by listening to each other and working together, we will make our school a more just and inclusive space to pursue the changes we wish to see in the world.

David W. Springer
Interim Dean, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Composition

Over the fall 2020 semester, the LBJ School created three new initiatives further supporting its commitment to fostering a diverse school composition:

  1. Established the Pipeline to Policy program, in which LBJ students are funded to offer one-on-one mentoring sessions to prospective minority students/applicants.
  2. Launching in spring 2020 a targeted minority student recruitment event, inviting minority students across Texas who are college juniors and seniors to attend an informational and admissions event.
  3. Established a new tuition fellowship.
  4. Launched a mentorship program specifically for alumni and students of color.

LBJ School leadership has committed to increasing its faculty diversity and has signed on to the concrete steps from the provost's office to attract and recruit diverse faculty.

Learn more: details about the LBJ School's efforts to create a more diverse student, faculty and staff

 

Culture

The LBJ School has built out additional venues to cultivate a culture of open communication and greater dialogue.

  1. Expanding the LBJ School's DEI Committee to include staff representation
  2. Holding regular student assemblies
  3. Facilitating monthly meetings between the chief diversity officer and the leadership of student groups

The LBJ School also continues to provide programming that centers DEI. Browse our fall events and see below for our upcoming events.

Learn more: steps taken and those charted out for the immediate future

 

Curriculum

The LBJ School has taken several steps to center DEI issues across the curriculum to ensure every student engages with DEI.

  1. Integrated a robust DEI module into the fall new student orientation
  2. Created a core policy development course that includes a DEI-focused module. It will launch in fall 2021 and will be required for all MPAff students
  3. Launched a yearlong holistic review of the MGPS program that will build recommendations on curriculum reform

The LBJ School has taken other actions to cultivate a diverse curricular space, including:

  1. Establishing an internship program with the Texas Black Caucus Foundation;
  2. Proposing (pending approval) of DEI-centered questions for faculty peer teaching observations
  3. Developing a faculty toolkit via by the DEI committee, to help faculty better engage in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts through their course material and classroom engagement.

Learn more: how the LBJ School is working to prioritize DEI issues in its curriculum

 

 

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