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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

UTPB "consistently strives to be the preeminent teaching institution in the Permian Basin"

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The University of Texas at Permian Basin (UTPB) elaborated on its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs, as well as its budgetary spending on DEI hires, plans, and initiatives, in an interview with the Austin Journal. The school's Public Information Office reported that University President Dr. Sandy Woodley made the decision to install a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in 2020, with the current office holder being Dr. Tanya Lowery. UTBP reported that the role of the CDO is “to coordinate the development of the inaugural CDO office, begin collecting information on DEI initiatives already occurring at UTPB, begin collecting information on other DEI focused positions already at UTPB, to Implement a Diversity Council and to Coordinate a campus-wide climate survey.” Said survey cost the university $22,030 and is being funded by the President's "discretionary funds".

According to the official UTPB website, the school has multiple programs and plans for hiring faculty and staff based on DEI standards. "UTPB consistently strives to be the preeminent teaching institution in the Permian Basin," the website reads. "Our focus is to prepare and support a highly-skilled diverse workforce engaged with research, scholarship, and advocacy for and appreciation of their fellow community members." New DEI initiatives include "Respect And Appreciation For One Another", "Inclusive Excellence", "Accessibility", and "Equity", and are found in the school's curriculum and hiring standards. The President's Diversity Council is a group that functions as "a cross-function committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students to assist the President and the Chief Diversity Officer in the execution of institutional-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives," according to the website.

According to the UTPB Human Resources webpage, one of the three aspects of the HR Department's mission is “attracting, developing, and supporting a diverse community of University employees”.

Furthermore, current UTPB staff, as well as new hires, are encouraged, but not required, to take a 6-course online program to earn a "Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity Certificate". The program, which is also available to administrators and certain undergraduate students, teaches about "understanding varying cultures and learning the impact of bias and prejudice on clinical decision-making, cultural sensitivity, and culturally-appropriate care."

In accordance with the official University of Texas System policyregarding hiring executive positions, the interviewer must "conduct a search process that delivers a pool for interview by the final decision maker that includes female, male, and underrepresented group candidates". Official underrepresented groups are listed as "Hispanic or Latino; Black or African American; Asian; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; or American Indian or Alaska Native". "Inclusive Hiring" is also a priority for the school system; “Recruiting, hiring and onboarding practices help reduce turnover and ensure UT System Administration has the right talent in place to help meet its initiatives in a productive and effective way.”

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