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Recruitment and Retention 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.

COMPOSITION: Four members of the General Faculty, one departmental faculty minority liaison officer (appointed by the president), two University staff members (at least one of whom shall be an academic advisor or graduate coordinator), four students (student members shall be appointed by the president in the fall from a panel of names submitted by the Student Government and the Graduate Student Assembly and shall include at least one graduate student), coordinator of the UT Learning Center, and three members of the administration. In addition, every year the chair of the Faculty Council shall appoint two members of the Faculty Council for one-year terms as members of the committee. The vice president for community and school relations, the vice provost for inclusion and cross cultural effectiveness, a representative from the Black Alumni Association, and a representative from the Hispanic Alumni Association will serve as ex officio members without votes. The committee shall elect its own chair and vice chair, who shall be members of the General Faculty.

The committee was comprised of the following members.
Faculty members: Carolyn M. Brown, Edward L. Fernandez, Robert B. Gilbert, Geraldine Rosa Henderson (chair), Raul G. Longoria, Madeline Maxwell, Cherise Smith (vice chair), Harovel Wheat
Staff members: Robiaun L. Charles, Jennifer L. Smith
Members of the Administration: Ge Chen, John D. Dalton, Augustine Garza
Student members: Rachel E. Barrera, Cecilia Lopez, Berenice Medellin, Chad V. Stanton
Administrative Advisors: Benjamin S. DeLeon, Machree G. Gibson, Gregory J. Vincent

At the first standing committee meeting on September 14, 2009, Dr. Geraldine Rosa Henderson was selected as chair for the period 2009-10, and Dr. Cherise Smith was voted as vice chairperson. Dr. Henderson asked the members about their meeting preferences and suggested that we would meet regularly.

The fall semester was devoted to primarily collecting data about the committee regarding previous leadership, reports, and scope of responsibilities. Based on this research, we decided to focus the attentions of our committee this year to issues related to just the recruitment of students to UT. More specifically, we focused our efforts in developing materials and strategies for getting traditionally underrepresented students to apply to UT.

Given this focus, in the spring semester, we hired students in Dr. Henderson’s Integrated Communications Management class to develop Marketing Communications Plans for both the Graduate School and for undergraduate admissions. Two members of our committee, John Dalton and Augustine Garza, served as point persons for this effort. These two gentlemen met with Dr. Henderson separately to develop the criteria for evaluation and to understand the scope of the project. Then, they each met with the students early in the semester to get them going on their projects. They each provided the students with a rich background of UT recruitment (mostly as this was the task at hand) and retention (to some degree just for flavor) for both the Graduate School (see Appendix C10-A) and undergraduate admissions (see Appendix C10-B), respectively. Lastly, they attended class at the end of the semester to see the end product of what the students developed. John Dalton also recruited Pat Ellison, from the Graduate School (and graduate admissions) who was also invaluable to this process. See presentations in Appendix C10-A and Appendix C10-B.1

A subcommittee was also formed which was spearheaded by Rachel Barrera and they focused on developing a set of criteria to be used for all future committee data gathering efforts. That is, it was decided that each year, this baseline information should be gathered (or updated) so that we will be able to have a trend line of what diversity efforts and impacts have been at UT. This criteria included information such as the number of applications received, number of admits, number of acceptances, etc. See Appendix C10-C.

To handle issues of document distribution, email communications, and continuity, a Blackboard web site was established for the committee. The leadership of this Blackboard web site will be rolled over between May and August depending on the nature of leadership transition for the committee.

Recommendations going forward:
1. A regular meeting room should be established early in the process once committee members are established. This room scheduling should be done in conjunction with (or through) the Faculty Council. Our attempts to schedule rooms through our college were strained at times since technically the meetings were held for service to UT and not instruction for individual departments.
2. One individual should be chosen as the recording secretary as it is difficult to both lead a meeting and take notes as the presiding chair and/or vice chair.

3. Data gathering should be done early in the term (e.g., September) based on the criteria set by this year’s committee.

4. Members of the Recruitment and Retention Committee should be invited to participate in the various recruitment and retention events happening on campus throughout the academic year. For instance, when the graduate or undergraduate admissions officers travel to present UT, perhaps they could identify current (or former) members of the R&R committee for help with their diversity efforts.

5. A list of all minority liaison officers for each academic department should be compiled and provided to both the R&R committee and to the graduate and undergraduate admissions officers for the sake of more recruitment and retention bench strength for the University as a whole.

6. Choose the best (or combine all) of the (under)graduate recruitment marketing communications plans for adoption by the respective admissions entities (see Appendix C10-A and Appendix C10-B).

7. Work directly with the grad school and undergrad admissions to help with the implementation of the chosen plans (2010-11). Monitor/measure the progress of the various plan components and adjust accordingly.

1The ideas that were put forth in these presentations were done by students as recommendations only and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University, in general, or the Recruitment and Retention Committee, in particular.

Geraldine Rosa Henderson, chair