Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity

Inclusive Practice at the Clarence Brown Theatre

Clarence Brown Theatre Deaf NightThe Clarence Brown Theatre (CBT) is leading the university in accessibility awareness and implementation of clear accessibility plans.

Part of their commitment to be accessible includes holding three Deaf Night at the Theatre performances during the 2014-2015 Season. The performances include: The Miracle Worker on Tuesday, October 14, A Christmas Carol on Tuesday, December 9, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Tuesday, March 3.  The performances are supported in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission.

“We are excited about our Deaf Night at the Theatre performances at the CBT. Born out of a great need in this community, and out of collaborations with area service providers, these performances enable audiences of all kinds the opportunity to enjoy a culturally rich theatre-going experience,” said David B. Byrd, CBT Managing Director.

Produced in partnership with UT’s Center on Deafness, the performances are fully accessible to members of the Deaf community with more than a dozen interpreters stationed throughout the theatre and two teams interpreting the production. A number of seats with the best sightline to the interpreters are held in reserve.

“It is particularly appropriate for The Miracle Worker, a show about Helen Keller, to be accessible to everyone given that she was a pioneer and a tireless advocate for the rights of people with disabilities to have full access to education, employment, and the responsibilities of citizenship. In that spirit, the Center on Deafness at UT is thrilled to be a part of efforts to make the Clarence Brown Theatre accessible to the community,” said David Smith, Director of the UT Center on Deafness.

In addition to Deaf Night at the Theatre events, the CBT will also hold/have Open Captioned performances on the first Sunday 2:00 pm matinee for each of the remaining 2014-2015 Season productions: “Master Harold”…and the boys on February 8; A Midsummer Night’s Dream on February 22; A Shayna Maidel on March 29; and The Threepenny Opera on April 19. Open Captioning is a text display of all of the words and sounds heard during a production—very similar to closed captioning on a television.

For tickets, please call the CBT Box Office at 865-974-5161.

You can go to to view the CBT accessibility plan.

Diverse Alumni Networks

Diverse Alumni NetworksDiverse alumni groups have distinct qualities, which are critical toward building a culturally rich university environment. They make significant contributions to the life of the institution and have a major impact on the success of our students. There is strength in diversity. A more diverse alumni base builds upon the institution’s viability. Diverse alumni groups serve as a conduit to recruit, retain and support students and faculty. They are focused on increasing awareness of various cultures, ethnic backgrounds and issues facing the physically challenged. They promote inclusiveness and work to improve relations within their communities.

These networks provide connections that help our students now and create career opportunities in the future. Career networking programs have been established which connect students with alumni. Alumni leaders have an opportunity to share their expertise and career advice with students preparing to enter the job market.

Ms. Sabrina Hampton, Black Alumni Council member, believes councils such as these ensure a diverse voice is heard. She has participated in Networking in Neyland, the Multicultural Student Affairs’ Welcome Back Celebrations and the Multicultural Graduations. She notes that concerted efforts are made to let current students know the organization is available to assist them as they navigate Big Orange Country.

With newly formed alumni councils, such as the Army ROTC Council, the Latino Alumni Council, and the LGBTQA+ Alumni Council, strides have been made to be more inclusive.

Students, faculty and staff can get involved by contacting the alumni office with suggestions on ways to engage our future alumni. Go to to join the discussion.

Program for Excellence and Equity in Research

Program for Excellence and Equity in ResearchThe Program for Excellence and Equity in Research (PEER) is a graduate training program initiated in 2006 with support from the NIH Initiative to Maximize Students’ Development. PEER aims to increase the diversity of students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who graduate with a PhD in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Diversity of perspectives, experiences and ideas are key elements to research creativity, productivity and ultimately promote innovations.

PEER scholars are trained to develop skills that are not only hallmarks of rigorous scientific training in research, such as problem-solving, critical and analytical thinking, but also leadership, communication and cooperation through team building and outreach. PEER provides salary, tuition and health insurance for a cohort of eight students per year from amongst those accepted in an eligible graduate program at UT, which has been broadened this year. PEER offers comprehensive personal and professional skill development activities via an enhanced orientation, weekly discourse meetings and workshops. Additional resources include a mentoring network and support to attend scientific conferences.

PEER scholars learn self-assessment for continued personal and professional growth. For example, scholars evaluate and tailor their professional training to achieve their career goals through an individual development plan. All programmatic elements in PEER are continually assessed and evaluated to meet a set of pre-determined outcomes. PEER aspires to identify the best practices to recruit, retain and graduate diverse PhD students in STEM, as well as successful strategies for STEM careers that could be reproduced broadly on campus and beyond.

From our students:

Tanei Ricks: PEER has funded Tanei to travel and share his research at different conferences. He explains, “One of the best things about PEER is that I’ve gotten experience traveling to different conferences to present my research and network with others in my field. I’ve gone to Society Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Association (SERMACS) and a few others. Every travel experience PEER has funded me for has been great.”

Kathryn Massana: Kathryn initially heard about PEER from fellow graduate students, and even though the funding opportunities were attractive, the program’s purpose and activities are what convinced her to apply. Kathryn explains, ”I value diversity and I’ve benefited from great mentors in both my undergrad and graduate study, I’ve found both of those traits in PEER.”

She further notes, “PEER has helped me disseminate my research by providing funding for conference travel so I can present and share my findings. It also has made me feel more included in the University because I’ve gotten to know faculty from different departments and I have a great support system in my cohort. It’s really helpful to have a network of people with different perspectives and interests.”

For more information go to

OUTreach: LGBT & Ally Resource Center

OUTReach: LGBT & Ally Resource CenterWelcoming. Family. Home. Essential. Life-changing. These are the words that students have used to describe the OUTreach: LGBT & Ally Resource Center. The OUTreach Center, located in Melrose Hall, celebrates its fifth anniversary this February. Starting as a project of the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People in 2010, the Center became part of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity in July 2013. It serves as a safe space on campus and a symbolic testament to UT’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Donna Braquet, center director, has led the Center from a stark, former dormitory office to a vibrant and bustling hub of activity. The Center provides services and resources that provide education, advocacy, visibility, and community for UT’s students, faculty, and staff of diverse sexualities and genders. And, of course, as the name includes, allies are welcome too.

OUTreach Center programs include a student leadership program called OUTreach Ambassadors, a weekly discussion series called inQUEERies, as well as a speaker’s bureau named Speak Out! One of OUTreach’s signature events is its annual Lavender Graduation & Student Awards Ceremony which recognizes the accomplishments of UT’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, asexual, intersex, and ally students by acknowledging and celebrating their full, authentic selves. We invite you to join us at Lavender Graduation on April 22, 2015 to help us honor our students and to also help commemorate OUTreach’s fifth anniversary.

We invite you to help OUTreach continue to grow with a contribution to our 5 for Five campaign highlighting our five years on campus. A gift of $5, $50, $500, or $5000 will help us fund our programs and provide visibility, education, and awareness on campus and in the larger community. Follow our campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram using #5forFive #iloveOUTreach #outreachturns5. Donations can be made online at

Lauriel Cleveland & the National Association of Black Journalists

Lauriel Cleveland“Chartering this organization has been one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life! Luckily, I have an amazing leadership team and advisor who make me remember that everything is going to pay off soon,” explains Lauriel Cleveland, Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Junior in Journalism and Electronic Media.

“Multicultural organizations help universities thrive because it shows that people of different backgrounds can get together and work toward a main cause. The multicultural organizations here at UT are diverse and there is something for everyone. As we all strive to be worldly students, its important to be involved with something that not only impacts your life and cultural background, but something that impacts everyone around you.”

NABJ was founded on December 12, 1975 in Washington, D.C, with the goal of becoming an organization of “journalists, students and media-related professionals that provide(s) quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide.” ( NABJ serves the multicultural media world with networking and job opportunities, short courses, a yearly conference, scholarships and internships. Chartering this organization at UT was vital to help prepare journalism students to be leaders in a multicultural media world.

Lauriel says, “Being a member of NABJ and allowing other students on campus to join is motivation to remember why journalism is my intended career path. I want to educate people and breed leaders and NABJ is the outlet to do so.”

She adds, “UT has been so incredibly supportive of NABJ. In December, we had a silent protest in the library for the ‘My Life Matters Campaign’ and UT was behind NABJ every step of the way. I am so excited to see where we go in the next couple of years.”

Black History Month Calendar

The 2015 Black History Month Calendar is a joint effort between the Office of Multicultural Student LifeCommission for Blacks, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity.

Download a printable calendar

Diversity Dialogues: Racial Microagressions, Featuring Dr. Jioni Lewis

Tuesday, February 3rd, 7:00 PM
Black Cultural Center
Sponsored by MSL

Reception for Dr. Cynthia Fleming

Friday, February 6th, 12:00 – 2:00 PM
Black Cultural Center
Sponsored by Dept. of History, Africana Studies, American Studies, Student Success Center, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity

A distinguished historian of the civil rights movement and a member of the pioneering generation of black women historians at the nation’s historically white colleges and universities, Dr. Cynthia Fleming made a career out of making history. RSVP to Dr. Shannen Dee Williams ( or Dr. Brandon Winford (

10th Annual Black Issues Conference: Keynote Speaker: Roland Martin

Saturday, February 7th, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
University Center
Sponsored by MSL & NAACP

Diversity Job Fair

Tuesday, February 10th, 3:00 – 5:00 PM
Thompson-Boling Arena
Sponsored by Career Services, Diversity & Community Relations, Haslam Business College, MSL, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Admin Advising, College of Education, Health & Human Sciences, Division of Student Life, College of Agriculture and Life Science

Black History Month Program: A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture

Thursday, February 19th, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
This event is for ORNL and invited guests only.

“American Denial” Screening

Thursday, February 19th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Scruffy City Hall
Sponsored by East Tennessee PBS

American Denial looks at the current state of racial dynamics in the United States and the power of unconscious biases today in what some have called post-racial America.

The l0th Annual Legend’s Lecture: Lisa Leslie Monday

February 23rd, 7:00 PM
University Center Auditorium
Sponsored by BCPC & UT Athletics

Mahogany Soul Cafe

Tuesday, February 24th, 6:30pm
Black Cultural Center
Sponsored by MSL

Trailblazers Series: Featuring Mark Dean

Thursday, February 26th, 12:30 PM
Sponsored by Commission for Blacks, Office of Vice Chancellor for Diversity, College of Engineering

The intent of the Trailblazer Series is to highlight accomplishments of African Americans within the UT community through an annual speaking series. Born in Johnson City during the era of desegregation, Dr. Mark Dean is one of the lead inventors of the personal computer and the John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the College of Engineering.

Viewing of Selma for UT Students

Thursday, February 26th, 7:30 PM
University Center Ballroom
Sponsored by MSL, Center for Leadership & Service, Center for Student Engagement

African-American Read-In

Friday, February 27th, 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Hodges Library Auditorium
Sponsored by the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Black History Month Gala: Blake Leeper, “The American Blade Runner” & UT Alum

Friday, February 27th, 7:00 PM
University Center Ballroom
Sponsored by MSL, Phi Beta Sigma, Diva Opals, BCPC

You Made a Difference

You Made a Difference in 2014

As we begin a new calendar year, we do so in a spirit of gratitude to all who have supported the work of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Thank you for all you do to make the campus more accessible, welcoming, and inclusive for all.

All the best,
Rickey Hall
Vice Chancellor for Diversity

Be the difference that makes a difference

Include your event on the Black History Month Calendar

On behalf of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, the Office of Multicultural Student Life and the Commission for Blacks we want to promote your Black History Month event.

If you are hosting an event during February 2015 that aligns with the remembrance of people and events in the African diaspora, or honors the accomplishments of African Americans, please submit your event details to be included on the Black History Month events calendar. Items will be included on the calendar based on space and relevance.

The event calendar will be distributed electronically throughout UT and the Knoxville community.

Submissions are due to by January 20, 2015.

  • :
  • :
  • Please submit all events to the campus events calendar at
  • Cost, parking, rain date, etc.

Open Forum: Ferguson Report Back

Open Forum: Ferguson Report Back

Africana Studies, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Commission for Blacks, the Multicultural Mentoring Program, and the Vice Chancellor for Diversity invite you to hear a report back from our UT students who went to Ferguson, Missouri, to protest after the August 9, 2014, shooting of Michael Brown. Then, we encourage you to join the discussion moderated by Joshua Inwood, Associate Professor of Geography and Africana Studies, and Anton Reece, Director of the Student Success Center.

November 19, 2014
6:30 to 8 p.m.
27 Alumni Memorial Building

If you have any questions or if you need more information, please contact

View this event on Facebook.



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