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The Strategic Initiatives Unit (SIU) comprises several functional areas within the Division of Diversity Engagement to provide intentional support both internally and externally. As a representative of DDE, SIU liaises with the following divisions at UT: Student Life, Student Success, Enrollment Management, and University Communications. Within the context of DDE, internally, the unit provides administrative support to various members of the DDE team.

Additionally, the unit supports and oversees various DDE initiatives such as the Student Advisory Board (SAB), Staff Fellows program, division-wide professional development, strategic planning processes, and all marketing and communications. Externally, the unit helps to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion work in the following ways: University-Wide Diversity Action Plans (DAP) SIU administers the procedures associated with the university-wide diversity action plans. The purpose of this initiative is to provide a framework for deans and vice chancellor units to develop strategies to address barriers and challenges to inclusive excellence in their respective colleges or units, to promote a culture of evaluation and accountability as it pertains to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and to foster a greater sense of ownership among all members of the campus community in making UT a place in which all Vols matter and belong.

Welcome from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives

Greetings, Vol Nation!

As the inaugural Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, I am privileged and honored to provide leadership for our team and serve alongside them, as we engage in meaningful and impactful work. In an effort to streamline some of the more administrative functions of the division of Diversity and Engagement, and to create synergy around the strategic elements of our collective work, the Strategic Initiatives Unit was formed. The SIU includes full-time professional staff members, an administrative fellow, graduate research assistants, practicum/internship students, and undergraduate diversity scholars. Moreover, SIU  encompasses the work that occurs within the Chancellor’s commission and councils, assessment and evaluation, communications, strategic partnerships, and special projects. Members of the Strategic Initiatives also serve as liaisons to key divisions across the university.

The vision of the Strategic Initiatives Unit is to serve as a strategic partner with campus and broader community members through effective communication, education, and evaluation of DEI initiatives. And, the mission of the Strategic Initiatives Unit is to equip our campus and broader community with relevant resources and evidence-based practices to foster welcoming environments. As a unit, we often provide thought leadership and serve as chief strategists for our partners who are committed to engaging in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work. Our ultimate goal is to aid in the creation of a seamless alignment between our professional efforts, institutional culture and the Chancellor’s strategic vision. Essentially, we envision a campus where every student, staff, faculty, alum, or guest can sing, with pride, the lyrics of Rocky Top being “Home Sweet Home” and mean it! Our division and our unit are proud to support our university, as we consciously strive to fulfill our core mission as the flagship land grant institution in the state of Tennessee. It takes a VOLUNTEER!

Go Vols!

Lamar Bryant, Ph.D.