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Partnership Initiatives

Institutional Improvement and Accountability

Academic Diversity Initiative

In order to promote the university’s mission to foster a welcoming campus for all Vols, the Deans of the eleven academic colleges are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 of funding through the Division of Diversity and Engagement’s Academic Diversity Initiative. This is designed to support Faculty Diversity Directors, College Diversity Committees, or Other College Diversity Initiatives.

Africana Studies

In Spring 2020, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Diversity and Engagement (DDE) committed a significant financial investment to support the Africana Studies Programs. In addition, we will commit two additional joint faculty lines for Africana Studies, which will build faculty capacity in order to make Africana Studies a tenure-granting department.

Diversity Action Plans

In Fall 2020, colleges and Vice Chancellor units will submit Diversity Action Plans. They are being developed as a means to identify important objectives and metrics needed to foster a more inclusive campus climate and to support the retention of students, faculty, and staff. The plan will span over three years to ensure that actions are ongoing and that change can be measured over time. These will be used in the annual evaluations of Vice Chancellors and Deans.

Enhanced Bias Protocols

Address bias-related incidents for new incoming and current students to create a more inclusive campus climate in collaboration with the Office of Enrollment Management and Center for Global Engagement.

Student Recruitment and Retention

DDE Student Advisory Board

Provides ongoing input on critical issues to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement.

Graduate Diversity Enhancement Fellowship Program

Developed in partnership with the Graduate School, supports the recruitment and retention of graduate students with diverse backgrounds.

Law Students

Supports student recruitment, retention, and scholarships in collaboration with the College of Law.

Males of Color Initiative

Provides programming and mentorship opportunities to enhance the experience for our student males of color. The program is an initiative among Student Life, Student Success, and the Division of Diversity and Engagement.

UT Lead Summer Institute

Housed in the Student Success Center, this collaborative initiative among the Office of the Provost, Student Success, and Division of Diversity and Engagement, supports underrepresented and first-generation students from UT’s designated “Flagship Schools.”

Faculty Recruitment and Retention


Adaptations for a Sustainable Climate of Excellence and Diversity (ASCEND) is an initiative housed in Teaching and Learning Innovation (TLI) that promotes equity in the recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement of women in STEM disciplines. It is a collaboration among the Office of the Provost, TLI, and the Division of Diversity and Engagement.

Faculty Advisory Board

Provide ongoing input on critical issues to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement.

Continuing Education, Research, and Scholarship

Continuing Education on Racism

We will provide annual continuing education programs for all faculty and staff on the legacies and continuing damage of racist history, policies, and procedures at UT. We will recognize participation in the continuing education programs in performance reviews and create new recognition for those doing anti-racist work.

Critical Race Collective

Provide financial support to research and consult on the development of anti-racist education and training curriculum to students, faculty and staff. DDE also has a Critical Race Collective Faculty Fellow.

Diversity Challenge Grants

The Division of Diversity and Engagement (DDE) has developed the Diversity Challenge Grant Program. This funding opportunity is available for research or teaching projects that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), racial injustice, systemic racism, class, human dignity, or social justice. Individual and team projects are acceptable. Projects should demonstrate research, relevance, reciprocity, and resilience. Recipients can receive up to $3,000.

Research Development Academy

Empowers diverse faculty to pursue their creative projects and research agendas through networking opportunities and provision of resources needed to support their work. This year, five faculty members were selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Research Development Academy.