Welcome Letter

A world in which you and all your identity are celebrated, the historical barriers to your success are eliminated, and your presence and input is welcomed and sought after: This is the world I envision as I plan the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

I am humbled to be the School of Social Work’s inaugural DEI director. I am especially empowered by the many individuals who make up the SSW who are committed to DEI work in their personal and professional lives. I hope to harness these collective efforts to lead the SSW towards the world I just described. I believe that if we start with the SSW, the campus of UTA, and the local and global community, it will also impact the world. 

When I talk about DEI, I believe the concepts are interrelated. First, I think DIVERSITY means differences in identity and thought. I believe EQUITY is the process of removing barriers to success and providing tools for success. By INCLUSION I mean a sense of belonging. 

Here is the connection between these three concepts as I see it: I view Equity as a tool to advance the Inclusion of more Diversity.

As such, much work needs to be done on removing barriers and providing tools. In my view the largest barrier to progress in DEI remains the legacy of white supremacy. For it is white supremacy that demands us to ascribe to the story of the white, male, straight, Christian, able bodied, wealthy, young, light, cisgender individual. A person with this identity is regarded as the model for the world which by default asks that we exclude anyone without these identities. 

There are numerous approaches to overcoming this and other barriers to make progress in the work of DEI (anti-racism; womanist; change) that have merit. Rather than subscribe to a single approach, I plan to lead with two guiding principles: Authenticity and Pragmatism. To be REAL and to get things DONE. 

There are notable and actionable goals within our strategic plan that I will pursue and some others that will ask everyone in the SSW to expand their energy towards DEI. To me, the urgency of this work for society means that we cannot just focus on what occurs within our walls, but also the plight of others on our campus and local and global communities. Indeed, this urgency and ability to focus inward and outward is a hallmark of our social work profession. 

To this end, we will be working within THREE main buckets (DEI-3) to focus our work and make progress: INWARD; OUTWARD; and BEYOND

As I lead initiatives to promote equity for you, I want you to know that YOU ARE ENOUGH for me to celebrate your diversity and include you in these efforts! WELCOME!

 

 Jandel Crutchfield 
Dr. Jandel Crutchfield, PhD, LCSW
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion