In many ways, Myrtle Bell’s new position as associate dean for diversity, racial equity, and inclusion (DREI) in UTA’s College of Business is a logical extension of her 30 years at the University. An alumna—she graduated in 1996 with a PhD in business management—and faculty member, Dr. Bell knows the Maverick community inside and out.
Her time as a faculty member began as soon as she graduated, and she’s been teaching diversity courses for nearly as long. Though the national conversations around diversity have changed dramatically over the years, Bell says her approach to teaching it hasn’t.
“You need to teach diversity with data,” she says. “It’s hard to argue when presented with the statistics of disparities in employment levels and wages by educational status as they relate to race, ethnicity, and sex. I’ve had many students over the years who just don’t know the reality of things, and when they’re presented with the data, their eyes are opened.”
With Bell’s appointment as associate dean for DREI, the College of Business also launched its Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion Group. The group assists the college’s leadership in ensuring diversity, racial equity, and inclusiveness are well-represented in the college.
The group’s early initiatives include the creation of Diversity Partners, a group of community and business leaders who provide the DREI Group with external perspectives regarding racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, along with providing mentorships, internships, and networking with students; the faculty and staff DREI Council, who work on curriculum changes, social media, and events; a student DREI Council to provide its input and engage in DREI activities; and DREI Scholars, a group of faculty and doctoral students who combine a wide range of expertise in diversity available for research, education, and training.
“UTA is unique in the depth of our diversity, and that diversity is our strength,” Bell says. “We need to use our diversity to make sure our students leave here equipped to change the world.”