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Office of the President, UTA



March 8, 2021

Dear UTA Community,

I hope this message finds the Maverick community doing well and recovering from the difficult winter storm from a few weeks ago. I am honored to say that I witnessed countless examples of Maverick ingenuity, perseverance and compassion throughout the worst of the storm.

Despite the ongoing pandemic and economic challenges felt by many, and of course, the unexpected impact of the recent storm, the UTA community continues to rally, coming together to improve our campus climate around diversity, equity and inclusion. I would like to provide you with another update on the eight diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives we announced last year.

VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

This past fall semester, a search committee composed of diverse faculty and staff representations, and chaired by Jim Spaniolo (former UTA president and special advisor for external engagement), was formed and immediately set to solicit campus input on the new Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position. This was followed by the launch of a competitive national search that resulted in campus community presentations with three finalists last month. The engagements for the campus sessions were robust and informative. If you were unable to participate in the sessions, you may view them and learn more about the finalists at the Senior Leadership Searches webpage

I anticipate that we will be able to update the campus about the status of this new leadership position within the University soon.

Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In the fall 2020 semester we established the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  I am grateful to the members of the Committee who have agreed to serve the University in this important capacity, and to co-chairs Michele Bobadilla and Debra Woody for their willingness to serve.

The Committee has established five sub-committees focused on student engagement, faculty concerns, staff concerns, diversity programming, and communications and marketing, and one ad-hoc sub-committee on community outreach and engagement. Since the community outreach and engagement sub-committee’s inception and throughout the pandemic, its members have actively engaged with community organizations, corporate partners, and alumni to address the critical needs of our students and UTA community. It has raised the University’s visibility and footprint throughout North Texas.

Additionally, the Committee has been working on two campus climate surveys for students and employees for which more details are expected to be forthcoming in the following weeks. The Committee’s climate surveys are separate instruments and have a different emphasis than the recently launched Faculty Senate COACHE survey of UTA faculty.

Faculty and Staff Diversity

A strength of UTA includes the diversity of UTA’s talented and dedicated faculty and staff. To improve upon this strength, a University-wide talent management plan is being developed to enhance the recruiting, retention and promotion of underrepresented faculty and staff.

I am also pleased to share that we have made 18 offers of faculty positions identified during the Multidisciplinary Hiring Process. Given the success of this hiring approach, we will be expanding the available faculty positions through this process in the next few weeks. 

Scholarship Opportunities

UTA has continued to work hard to provide our students with substantial financial support, especially during these challenging economic times for students and their families.

I am proud that after we received federal relief funds for students early last year, our team swiftly got the funds in students' hands—one of the fastest universities in the nation to do so. This spring we are planning the distribution of the second round of federal financial support for students: more than $10 million dollars on top of the $15.5 million awarded last year. The funds will be distributed as quickly as possible and will help approximately 10,000 of our Mavericks.

The University is also working diligently to increase scholarship funds to have even more financial support for students. We are very fortunate to have supporters who continue to give funds for scholarships and emergency relief. One example of our Maverick spirit is a very generous and supportive alumnus who has funded scholarships in direct support of our previously announced commitment to $25 million dollars more in scholarships over the coming five years. These scholarships are especially for first-generation and low-income students. This donation indeed allows us to increase the number of UTA students receiving scholarship awards. In the coming year, we expect that this gift alone will enable us to award at least 100 more students than last year. Information about this specific scholarship is available on our Mav ScholarShop site; look for the Grace Hopper scholarship.

Professional Development

The Office of Human Resources (HR), working closely with Faculty Affairs, has been very active in implementing a wide range of diversity and inclusion training for faculty and staff. Between July 2020 and early February of this year, HR led 18 training sessions attended by 640 staff and faculty.

A new mid-manager leadership program—the MavsLeadership Excellence Program—was implemented, with the goals of strengthening mid-level leadership performance across the University and providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, an opportunity to build networks and a place for the development of growth-minded diverse leaders. The first cohort graduated 27 participants. Additionally, the Support Staff Certification curriculum was enhanced by adding a Support Staff Certification Level II (six sessions) for all administrative professionals. The series focuses on enhancing the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to be an effective administrative professional. New this year is the inclusion of a racial equity building session.

Starting last month and running through February, HR began offering the Diversity Education Training Series with the goal of promoting an understanding of each other and respecting cultural differences. Unique topics include Can’t We All Just Get Along: Why Giving Up Ones’ Identity Should Never Be an Option to “Getting Along”; Crossing Cultural Lines in A World of Ism; The Diversity of Decolonization: What It Really Means in Higher Education; Implicit Bias and Microaggression; Bystander to Upstander; and Maverick Ally 101.   

For more information about all available employee training opportunities, please visit the Office of Human Resources Learning & Development website.

Student Courses

In Fall 2020, the University updated the curriculum of the Student Success UNIV 1131 and 1101 courses to address race, diversity, social justice and equity as a result of a partnership between the Office of New Student Courses, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and a task force brought together by the University composed of faculty, staff and students across colleges and departments. The curriculum has served more than 4,900 students in over 200 sections so far. 

The curriculum implementations focus on the following learning outcomes for students:  explore how identity, bias and privilege appear in their worlds, their majors and their anticipated careers; gain language and other tools to engage in dialogue about social identities, inclusion and oppression; discuss strategies to advocate for change in those areas in the spaces they navigate; and be able to identify and understand how to access resources, both on and off campus, for support and advocacy in these areas. 

There are three social justice and equity lessons, each structured so that students explore their relationship with themselves (identity), their relationship with others (bias) and their relationship to their community (privilege/oppression), and then offer students the opportunity to reflect upon and apply these concepts and lenses in their lives. 

This spring, the curriculum was updated and further developed based on research and assessment. As we look toward fall 2021, additional updates and developments will be incorporated into the curriculum based on the continued work of the offices of New Student Courses and Multicultural Affairs, as well as the University task force committed to furthering the opportunity for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion dialogue on UTA’s campus through these courses.

UTA Police Department

The UTA Police Department (PD) is dually accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and has been for many years. Both organizations establish industry-best-practices that the police department models. These include best practices on sensitive matters such as use of force and racial profiling. 

Additionally, the University’s police department has an outstanding reputation of creating and implementing new and progressive initiatives, as illustrated by the $6.2 million dollars in grants acquired for their crime victim services, Violence Against Women’s Act detective and threat assessment detective. All three initiatives directly service the University community, as well as contribute to UTA PD’s support of diversity, equity and inclusion.

As part of its efforts, the department has created a Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) Program to enhance engagement with students and to further their rapport and trust with the community. All NPOs have recently completed community policing training and have been assigned to geographic areas to increase student connectivity, engagement and familiarity.

Comprehensive reviews of UTA PD’s training programs are perpetual. To ensure bias mitigation through policy reviews, many related policies have been reviewed and some have been updated to address national conversations. 

Recurring racial profiling training was completed in February, as well as the completion of fair and impartial policing by all UTA PD employees. Additionally, recommended training methods from the Police Executive Research Forum, as supported by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, have been incorporated into the department’s recurring de-escalation and use of force training. 

UTA PD will continue to actively review, improve and develop targeted practices and activities to ensure fair and bias-free practices in data collection and analysis, as well as develop additional ways to connect with the campus community, and optimize communication and connection strategies.

Multicultural Affairs

Last year Multicultural Affairs successfully filled a staff leadership position that is focused on providing opportunities to expand the Maverick Advantage program and support services for our diverse population of students. I want to recognize the Multicultural Affairs staff for their proactive engagement with developing programs and events supporting our students and advancing our University’s advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion.

I plan to ask the inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to work very closely with Multicultural Affairs with the purpose of identifying potential opportunities to expand the Maverick Advantage program and support services for students, developing potential pathways to enhance and expand further programming, and creating a plan to add additional resources as we further our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

A Word of Thanks

I want to express my appreciation to the faculty, staff and students who are contributing to the many efforts and initiatives to promote a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive UTA campus community—only a small amount of which I have highlighted here. In addition to the above institutional-level initiatives, there are also many new efforts in colleges, schools and non-academic units aimed at promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. As a campus, we have come together to initiate change in several areas. 

Note that for our DEI initiative to be successful requires each of us to be engaged and significant collaboration among our campus community. Some changes will come about quickly, while other changes will require more time, collaboration, resources, and countless other tangible and intangible factors to be implemented. However, that should not deter us—it should inspire us to be steadfast in ensuring the appropriate changes become a reality as it benefits our University today and tomorrow. As I said before, this is a marathon and not a sprint.

Your input is essential to our University’s success. Continue to please feel free to send questions and further suggestions related to diversity, equity and inclusion to For more information and details of our progress, please also visit our website on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

I look forward to what we will be able to accomplish together.

Go Mavs!


Teik C. Lim, Ph.D.
Interim President




Office of the President701 S. Nedderman Dr.  • Arlington, Texas 76019 • 817-272-2101 (voice) • 817-272-5656 (fax)

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