The committee met a total of eight times during the academic year, with four meetings in each long semester. The committee focused on compiling information from various deans regarding their strategic plans for minority recruitment and retention. Letters were distributed to 18 deans requesting their colleges’ practices for minority recruitment and retention. Ten deans responded, and a list of common practices was developed, which is included in this report.
Presentations to the committee include:
- Ge Chen discussed Academic Enrichment Services and the Faculty/Staff Mentor Program
- Marilyn Armour discussed the Diversity Institute
- Terri Givens discussed the new Undergraduate Studies
Other items discussed by the committee include the report “Strategic Work Groups” from the Committee on Student Affairs, the creation of a University-wide advising unit, and the completion of the standing committee survey.
The standing committee survey distributed by the chair of the Faculty Committee on Committees, Ken Ralls, was reviewed and all relevant questions were answered. Results were forwarded, subsequently revised, and re-sent to Dr. Ralls by Mr. Garza.
Recommendations that were agreed upon from our deliberations throughout the year are as follows:
Reports from Deans on Their Strategic Plans for Minority Recruitment and Retention
||Adding "advancement" to our committee title
||Adding a representative from athletics
||Adding a representative from the new Office of Undergraduate Studies
||Changing eligibility requirements for clinical/research faculty
||Changing “minority” to “under-represented” in the function of the committee
||Adding the word “under-represented” to the title of the committee
||Adding a representative from the Student Senate of College Councils
The following are the common practices and initiatives found across the colleges and administrative units.
Suggested Agendas for 2007–08
- Diversity education to promote awareness and understanding of needs and issues affecting under-represented students across campus and surrounding communities
- Community building and community outreach (internally and externally) to create awareness of opportunities for under-represented students for higher education
- Strategic recruitment of students from historically under-represented groups in Texas and students who have backgrounds or experiences that contribute to overall diversity at our institution
- Greater access to student services and academic support systems for under-represented students to ensure a quality college experience and academic success
- Professional and leadership development opportunities for the under-represented students to be future leaders and successful professionals
Closing comments by the chair
- Retention: the committee should look at obtaining retention data specific to under-represented and first-generation students in an effort to ensure that these students advance toward graduation
- Advising: of particular concern to the committee is that under-represented and first-generation students receive advising. They want to insure these students do not get lost in the system. Approximately half of all incoming freshmen do not get into their college of first choice; however, it is not known how many of those are under-represented students. The committee suggests that perhaps all incoming students, before declaring a major, be required to complete an online survey prompting them to research more extensively possible majors
- Graduate Student Issues: the committee should review funding for fellowships, scholarships, stipends, and support President Powers for sources of funding initiatives for graduate students
- Faculty Hires
As my tenure comes to a close, I would like to convey my sincere thanks to all the committee members for their attendance and contributions. I would also like to thank Lorenzo Candelaria for his strong leadership during the fall semester. He presented an ambitious agenda that we continued throughout the year.
The committee would also like to convey to the Committee on Committees that the makeup of the committee (especially the faculty appointments) for next year takes into consideration the possibility that faculty working on their tenure might provide limited service. This became critical this year when we began our search for a chair elect for next year. When we were made aware that faculty members whose terms are ending would be eligible, I informed the membership to solicit candidates. I am pleased to report that Lisa M. Bedore volunteered to serve as chair elect, and the committee voted to approve her nomination.
One final comment: the committee feels strongly that the recent creation of the Division of Diversity and Cultural Engagement headed by Vice President Gregory Vincent allows the Recruitment and Retention Committee an excellent opportunity to support him and his staff as they move forward to promoting the benefits of diversity for the University. It is strongly recommended that the committee work together with the Division of Diversity and Cultural Engagement and Undergraduate Studies to address issues that affect retention and advising of under-represented students at the University.