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

Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Dean's Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

I am committed to keeping the values of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion top priorities of the LBJ School. Together with maximizing society's well-being, liberty and security, these values embody the very mission of President Johnson's life work — and the tireless work of students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Operationalizing this commitment within the LBJ School will require a careful focus on our composition, our culture and our curriculum.

Our current composition does not adequately represent the diverse community we are dedicated to serving as a public university through our teaching, research and service. This creates barriers to learning and professional development for some of our students. Diversity broadens the scope of our intellectual inquiry and extends the breadth and nature of our civic and service engagement to our broader community. This is why I will seek to integrate new procedures and strategies into our approach to recruiting students, faculty and staff who will improve the representation of traditionally underrepresented individuals in our school. I will measure our success by how well we increase representation among our students, faculty and staff and school leadership.

Our culture is shaped by values and principles that govern how we treat each other. Our LBJ community is composed of individuals with vastly different life experiences and group identities. Some have experienced or witnessed discrimination, poverty and other forms of marginalization. Some of us struggle to have these injustices and conditions recognized and remedied not only in the world at large, but also within our LBJ community. This struggle may extend into our classrooms, our study groups, our conversations with one another, our membership practices and our broader policies. As we come together as one learning community, we must all navigate sensitive and difficult conversations about what is just and right. Our ability to support each other, learn from each other and collaborate during our LBJ journey depends critically upon affording one another respect and focusing on our common humanity while potentially disagreeing on deeply important matters. I will measure our success not by the absence of difficult conversations but by our ability to have such conversations in a manner that respects one another and maintains the integrity of our community.

Our curriculum is designed to give students the skills, methods and knowledge not only to become accomplished policy analysts but also to lead public, private sector and nonprofit organizations. The policies and organizations we study may be designed to exacerbate, passively enable or actively reduce discrimination and inequality. Historically, our curriculum has not adequately enabled our students to recognize how what they are learning can be used to identify, measure the persistence of and reduce discrimination and inequality. We have recently added this renewed focus to our policy development curriculum, and I will also encourage our faculty to create more of these opportunities as they design our core and elective courses. My hope is that our faculty’s choice of readings, problem sets, case studies, writing assignments, clients and topics for policy research projects will better equip our students to identify, measure and reduce discrimination and inequality. I will measure our success by the extent to which the contents of our courses evolve to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

I invite the entire LBJ community to engage in fostering more diversity, equity and inclusion within our school and our society. Thank you for joining me in this commitment.

Warm regards,

JR DeShazo
Dean

Leadership

The LBJ School has identified justice as an instutional priority and renamed its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI). Leading civil rights scholar Peniel Joseph and community activist Estevan Delgado have agreed to serve as inaugural associate dean and director of JEDI, respectively. Their appointments begin in January 2022.

Dr. Peniel Joseph discusses Dr. King's beloved community at the LBJ Library's 2019 Summit on Race in America

"I believe that the best way to cultivate equity, diversity and inclusion is by centering the search for justice in these endeavors. The policy arena is integral to molding, shaping and debating public conceptions of justice. The goal of America, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, "is freedom." This enduring search for freedom from all forms of discrimination, hatred, violence and inequality is what justice looks like in the public sphere." —Peniel Joseph


Estevan Delgado, LBJ's inaugural director of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion

"The future of just and inclusive policy development begins with the institutions dedicated to its advancement. I look forward to working with our brilliant community of students, faculty, staff and alumni to ensure the LBJ School continues to be a springboard for individuals underrepresented in policymaking and research." —Estevan Delgado

 

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

 

 

News See All

News December 13, 2021
Peniel Joseph on LBJ's Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

A statement from the inaugural associate dean for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion: It is truly an honor to serve as the LBJ School of Public Affairs' inaugural Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI). My interest in issues of equity, inclusion and anti-racism are deeply personal. As the proud son of Haitian immigrants, I grew up in a multiracial New York City during the 1980s. My mother worked at Mount Sinai Hospital as a member of Local 1199 union, and I was fortunate to encounter the city's racial, religious, ethnic and ideological diversity at an early age. These experiences, I would later find out, were made possible in part by President Lyndon Johnson's commitment to equity and inclusion through Great Society legislation that transformed the nation's demographics.

Read More
News December 13, 2021
LBJ School establishes Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI), names leadership

The LBJ School has identified justice as an institutional priority and renamed its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI). Leading civil rights scholar Dr. Peniel Joseph and community leader Estevan Delgado have been named inaugural associate dean and director for JEDI, respectively.

Read More
News November 1, 2021
LBJ School welcomes first Latino student organization

Today, on Dia De Los Muertos, a collection of Latino voices announced the formation of Unidos — the LBJ School's first Latino organization. Unidos is proud to be sponsored by Dr. Angela Valenzuela, a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at The University of Texas at Austin. The founding of this organization reflects a growing Latino population among the school's more than 300 students.

Read More

Upcoming Events See All

Monday Jan 24
12:15 pm
Zoom

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at the LBJ School will host award-winning playwright and scholar Lisa B. Thompson to discuss how MLK's political thought and activism continue to bridge gaps between our moral imagination and civic discourse, especially in this time of political polarization. Panelists will discuss the following questions: How can we utilize MLK's model of leadership to confront racial, political, economic and ideological divisions? In what ways are we able to build consensus around the very ideal of democracy in such precarious times? What happens if we fail to meet this political, moral and policy challenge?