Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Committee works to understand, implement needs of employees in Financial and Administrative Services

Samantha Greyson

Financial and Administrative Services, a branch of the University intended to give financial and operational support to UT, created an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to develop social awareness of the employees within the Service and share their progress with the University.

 

The committee, which formed in early February to guide the branch in its diversity efforts, will develop specific goals in line with the University’s diversity plan, according to the Service’s website. Darrell Bazzell, UT senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the committee will remain in place as a means for the Service’s employees to address and implement their needs.

 

“This needs to be part of who we are,” Bazzell said. “What I envision is a standing committee that’s always going to be in place, that’s always the eyes and ears for the portfolio and connecting back to the local units.”

 

Bazzell said the committee represents the diversity of gender, race and sexual orientation of over 2,500 Financial and Administrative Service employees, as well as the many positions of branch employees, including frontline staff and managers, Bazzell said.

 

“The committee will represent the voices of our diverse colleagues to ensure that our policies and practices enable inclusion toward positive and sustainable organizational change,” the Service’s website said.

 

To pinpoint the needs of staff, the committee will release a survey this semester for the Service’s employees to express their specific needs and experiences, which will be used to create their goals, Bazzell said.

 

“If you’re going to move forward, you have to understand where you’re at,” Bazzell said. “Where do we stand right now, in a way that allows us to actually make advancements.”

 

Binta Brown, the Service’s director of diversity and talent management and committee chair, said the committee’s work will help the Service’s employees feel they are valued for their diverse backgrounds and experiences.

 

“A survey is one way to understand our employees’ experiences at work and to ascertain how inclusive our environment is,” Brown said. “The findings from the survey will, we hope, identify areas where we are excelling and where immediate and concrete action can be taken to help us improve (the committee’s) efforts.”

 

Brown said the committee’s discussions on employee recruitment will include an employee’s entire work cycle with the Service.

 

“We will look at ways to help FAS leaders develop and promote an inclusive workforce from the beginning of an employee’s experience with us until the end through fostering (equity, diversity and inclusion) in our policies, practices, programming, and services,” Brown said.

 

Diversity is one of the Service’s eight core values, and this committee hopes to incorporate diversity in all aspects of their operations, Brown said.

 

Bazzell said the committee wants to focus on equity within the Service.

 

“When you think about diversity, oftentimes, people just think about the demographics,” Bazzell said. “That’s really, really important. But … the equity piece is really about how we are together once we’re here, how we treat people in an equitable manner, and really emphasizing that.”