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 C-10  Recruitment and Retention Committee

Committee Function: To address the matter of recruitment and retention of minority students and to advise the Faculty Council and the president on constructive solutions to alleviate the problems of recruitment and retention.

Members, 2001-2002:
Margarita Arellano, associate dean of students
Alan D. Constant, associate director, UT Learning Center
Thomas J. Garza, associate professor, Slavic languages and literature
Darlene Grant, assistant professor, social work
Joni L. Jones, associate professor, speech communication
Marie Harris, program coordinator, UT Learning Center
Angela Valenzuela, associate professor, Center for Mexican American Studies
N. Bruce Walker, director, Office of Admissions

administration (with vote)
administration (with vote)

Faculty Council Appointees:
Joanna M. Brooks, assistant professor, English
John D. Downing, professor, radio-television-film

Four Students:
Alexandra Chirinos, Student Government representative, finance
Alex Charles Hammond, Student Government representative, government
Frances Elizabeth Valdez, Student Government representative, ethnic studies
Meredith White, Graduate Assembly representative

Administrative Advisers:
Susana I. Aleman, representative, Hispanic Alumni Association
Brenda H. Burt, representative, Black Alumni Association
Augustine Garza, deputy director, Office of Admissions
James L. Hill, vice president for human resources and community relations
Victoria Rodriguez, vice provost

Meeting Dates: September 26, October 17, November 15, 2001, and February 20, March 21, and April 1
0, 2002.

Discussion Highlights:
September 26, 2001

A motion to table the request to change and expand the charge to this committee was made, seconded, and passed, following lengthy discussion of the 2000-2001 committee's request to the General Faculty. Last year's request focused on changing the charge from the one noted above to the following: To (1) address the matter of recruitment, retention, and advancement of undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented populations; (2) collaborate with the Faculty Council and other University committees established to address the issue of faculty/administrative staff recruitment, retention, and advancement; and (3) recommend to the Faculty Council and the president constructive solutions for enhancing diversity and the coordination and dissemination of information regarding these issues. The primary motivation for tabling the request was the new proliferation of committees that address faculty and staff recruitment, retention, and advancement. The recommendation is that this committee "partner" with these other committees so that we minimize duplication of effort and emphasize the "centralization" of all recruitment and retention efforts information.

Our primary task for this meeting was to review enrollment statistics across pre- and post-Hopwood years 1996 through 2001. These statistics, found at http://www.utexas.edu/student/admissions/stuprofile, were given to each member present at the committee meeting for review. Dr. Galvan responded to our initial review of the statistics with a brief presentation regarding what the president's office is doing in response to recruitment and retention concerns.

October 17, 2001
Discussion of this committee's role in recruitment and retention efforts continued. Augustine provided an "Austin Outreach Recruitment Report, 2001-2002 Recruitment Cycle," which the committee reviewed, including discussion of (1) the three UT admissions centers, (2) the Longhorn Opportunity Scholarship (LOS) program, and (3) the development of a plan to conduct targeted focus groups with students who can tell us why they chose UT, and why their high school classmates, friends, and acquaintances did not (e.g., money, size, UT's too white, academics, perception of UT environment as welcoming or unwelcoming to student and/or student's culture, parental attitude about the University).

A portion of this meeting was used to emphasize and develop a concrete strategy of involving different units (including African and African American studies, Multicultural Information Center, Center for Mexican American Studies, etc.) in the standard recruitment routine of the admissions center. The April 2002 Longhorn Honors Day, and the subsequent March 2, 2002, Explore UT program would be the first of numerous opportunities to implement the plan developed in this meeting.

Efforts continued in a more purposeful manner to reach out to student organizations that might be involved in our recruitment and retention efforts including the Hispanic Affairs Agency and Migrant Education Consortium for Higher Achievement (MECHA), and the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB).

Given the list of UT Nights where UT presented recruitment programming to thirteen high schools in the Austin area, committee members volunteered to set up tables and have a presence (that included current UT students) at the "Information Marketplace" at Johnston High School on October 29, and Lanier High School on October 30.

November 15, 2001
During this meeting we discussed the three major projects the committee committed to for the remainder of this school year:
1. Working with the Office of Freshmen Admissions to coordinate a program requested by the Austin Young Attorney's Association, under the auspices of the governor's office. The program was planned for Saturday, April 6, to be held at the UT School of Social Work for approximately 200 Austin middle school youth who are high risk for early school drop out and not attending college.

2. Developing a focus group/town hall meeting on recruitment and retention where we will listen to concerns and pose questions so that the administration gains better insight into how to "franchise" students in our institution's efforts to recruit and retain a diverse student body and faculty.
3. Having different units (as discussed earlier in this report) participate in the Marketplace at the Explore UT Rise and Shine program.

February 20, 2002
Joanna Brooks committed to contacting Nakeenya Haynes, president of a student government group "Recruitment and Retention Agency," which meets every Thursday at 5 P.M., SSB 3rd floor. The plan was to solicit this agency's assistance in cosponsoring the forums. Brenda Burt, Francis Valdez, and Augustine Garza each committed to attending the agency's Thursday, February 21, meeting in support of garnering a partnership with the agency as the "charge" of the respective groups.

March 21, 2002
Our goal to garner different units and committee members to participate in the Longhorn Honors Day, and the Explore UT programs was successful!

Dr. Brooks reported that the Recruitment and Retention Agency loved the idea of partnering with our committee to conduct a series of student forums focused on understanding student thoughts about the University's recruitment and retention issues.

In keeping with committee members' attempts to stay appraised of legislative efforts to assist the University in its goal to recruit and retain a diverse student population, Dr. Galvan provided some insight into HB 400, the companion bill to the Top 10% Rule, HB 588.

April 10, 2002
We had the wonderful opportunity to meet with and hold our last meeting of the 2001-2002 school year in the offices of Dean Teresa Brett, the University's new dean of students. Meeting content focused on introductions and explaining the efforts of the committee, as well as encouraging Dean Brett to consider this committee as a formal "partner" in her office's recruitment and retention efforts.

Summary of the Committee's Focus Over the Past Three Years
  • Discussion of committee's role in recruitment and retention efforts;
  • Outreach Recruitment Report, including three UT admissions centers—Austin (six counselors), Houston (three counselors), and Dallas (three counselors)—LOS programs;
  • Goal of understanding why numerically underrepresented students apply or do not apply to UT; attend or do not attend. The recommendation was made that we have targeted focus groups with students who can tell us why;
  • Emphasized strategy of involving different units (African and African American studies, Multicultural Information Center, Center for Mexican American Studies, etc.) in the standard recruitment routine of the admissions center. For example, having a presence at Longhorn Honors Day, Explore UT, and other events;
  • Interfacing with student organizations with whom we can partner in recruitment and retention efforts;
  • Anti-affirmative action sentiment by some students who feel the University is admitting under-prepared and/or undeserving freshmen simply because they achieved top-10% ranking in their high schools. Perception of 10% rule is being monitored at the administrative level;
  • There is evidence that UT's retention programs work. What is the committee's role in gaining a greater community sense that the University is committed to minority students, to the success of freshmen, and to the success of students in general? And, what type of structural and /or institutional change is necessary to achieve our highest recruitment and retention goals?
We ended the year with the following charge to next year's committee:
  • Continue with the effort of holding focus groups with students early in the 2002-2003 school year;
  • Continue with efforts to identify and partner with other General Faculty and student groups charged with attending to retention and recruitment efforts;
  • Invite Wanda Nelson, executive director of the University Outreach Center, and Vice Provost Lucia Gilbert to meet with the committee and share their insights into recruitment and retention efforts and this committee's role as such;
  • Continue work on involving the Multicultural Information Center (MIC) and seven other centers (Center for African and Afro-American Studies, Latin American Studies, Asian Studies Center, etc.) with the Freshman Admissions Center in their recruitment efforts;
  • Keep Dean Brett advised of committee efforts to increase the possibility of partnering on specific projects;
  • Schedule a meeting with the president and Provost;
  • Ask the University for a "report card" evaluating student flow by college that would include a report based on different ethnic groups and recruitment and retention efforts by college/unit. Plan to address the problems created by a model of "decentralization" at the graduate level that prevents a general understanding of recruitment and retention efforts at that level.
  Darlene Grant, chair

This document was posted on the Faculty Council Web site, www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/ on July 29, 2002. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.

  Last updated:July 29, 2002
  Comments Welcome.
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