INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine awards UT’s diversity and inclusion efforts

Christine Ayala

UT is being recognized for its diversity efforts in INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s December issue, along with 47 other schools that qualified for the magazine’s Higher Education Excellency in Diversity award. 

INSIGHT awarded colleges and universities with outstanding commitments to diversity and inclusion efforts toward their students, faculty, administrative staff and suppliers. The magazine used race and ethnicity, age, gender, veteran status and LGBTQ communities’ information, as well as diversity and inclusion programs as metrics for the award. This is the first year for the magazine to give the diversity award.

INSIGHT publisher Holly Mendelson said the award is meant to honor schools that are making an effort through inclusionary practices rather than having the highest number of minority students.

“It’s not like other awards where if you have a certain student population you automatically get the award,” Mendelson said. “Schools had to go above and beyond to provide us information. We really looked at the individual school. What works for one school doesn’t necessarily work for others.”

Erica Saenz, a spokesperson for UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, who applied for the award on behalf of the University, said INSIGHT took an in-depth look at how UT is working to create an inclusive community.

UT’s application included diversity training opportunities, recruitment efforts, multicultural or diversity events, recognition programs for diversity and inclusion, efforts that maintain an inclusive and accessible campus community and address how UT manages discrimination complaints from students.

“Serving the people of Texas means serving a diverse population, and UT-Austin embraces diversity as a strategic priority,” Saenz said. “The inaugural and national award is a great reflection of UT-Austin and the efforts our students, staff and faculty are engaged in with the goal of creating an inclusive campus community.”

Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, said the division was created in 2006 through University efforts to make diversity a priority. He said having a division dedicated to making the campus an accepting place also helped prove UT’s commitment to its diversity efforts to INSIGHT.

“Certainly excellent diversity efforts are happening all across the campus,” Vincent said. “One of the main reasons we received the award is because [UT President William Powers Jr.] created this division, which gave some focus and leadership to this important effort.”

Vincent said the award reflects the multiple dimensions of diversity that the division and University encourage.

“It is validation of the hard work the entire campus has put in to promote diversity,” Vincent said. “UT is rapidly becoming one of the most diverse campuses in the country and we have to make sure that our efforts are focused on celebrating that diversity and creating an inclusive work environment.”

Printed on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 as: Magazine rewards UT's diversity efforts