- By Christian Schneider | The College Fix Jan 12, 2022
(The College Fix) – A slate of diversity plans filed by individual schools within the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will require some professors to commit to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices to gain tenure, create a new critical race center on campus, and embed diversity-based curricula throughout the university, according to plans obtained by The College Fix.
The College Fix obtained the plans from 20 different academic departments and administrative divisions, which together totaled 322 new pages of diversity regulations, requirements and goals to improve equity on campus.
The plan submitted by the Division of Diversity and Engagement vows to partner with the Critical Race Collective to create a center to “enhance research and scholarship capacity in this area of study and identify current racist policies and practices on campus.”
The College of Law submitted an expansive plan, including provisions to create bylaws “that require a commitment to diversity for faculty tenure and advancement.”
The law school also plans to embed diversity and inclusion “throughout the existing curriculum” by spring 2022 as well as launch a bias reporting system separate from the one maintained by the school. It will also create a certificate program in diversity and inclusion within the college.
Diversity work as a condition of advancement and tenure status for professors was also included in plans submitted by the School of Engineering and School of Social Work.
Kerry Gardner, assistant director of news and information for UT-Knoxville, told The College Fix via email Tuesday the public institution is “committed to attracting and retaining a diverse student body, faculty, and staff by creating a welcoming campus where all people can be successful, feel like they have found a place to belong, learn from each other, and express themselves.”
“To fulfill that commitment, in fall 2020, each college and vice chancellor unit created plans tailored to their specific areas,” Gardner said. “These are living documents that provide clarity and transparency with respect to the university’s diversity efforts. The plans will be updated over time as needs change and we evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts.”
In the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd in May 2020, UT-Knoxville convened a Diversity Action Plan Implementation Committee, which then required individual departments within the university submit their own “Diversity Action Plan” to improve equity within the school.
Gardner said the diversity plan project is consistent with the UT Board of Trustees’ diversity statement of October 2020.
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