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Organizational Diversity Initiatives

This listing highlights efforts by the Division of Housing and Food Service to promote residential and workplace environments which acknowledge, affirm and activate our commitment to diversity on a daily basis.

10 Elements of Organizational Diversity

  1. Start at the top
  2. Establish Policies
  3. Include diversity in unit documents.
  4. Ensure accountability and evaluate.
  5. Provide developmental programs.
  6. Develop and discuss plan openly.
  7. Share literature.
  8. Hire diverse staff.
  9. Publicize efforts.
  10. Create celebrations.

ADA Compliant Facilities
Residential facilities for persons with disabilities are available in each program area in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Facility accomodations include accessible student rooms, bathrooms and public spaces, Braille signage, ADA compliant elevators and smoke detectors for the hearing impaired.

Adult Education Classes
Adult Basic Education/General Education Development (ABE/GED) is provided at no cost to Division staff during business hours throughout the academic long session. Courses are taught throughout the year by instructors from Austin Community College.

Apartment Upgrades to Attract Diverse Candidates
A multi-year renovation plan of residence life staff apartments is in effect to upgrade staff apartments. The goal is to make the apartments more suitable to staff members with families. Additionally, live-in staff have been provided with a flexible meal plan to encourage family members to eat with staff in dining halls.

Area Diversity Plans
Each Associate and Assistant Director is responsible for creating, implementing and evaluating an Area Diversity Plan based on 10 points of organizational diversity. Each Associate and Assistant Director is then evaluated and held accountable with merit implications for progress made towards achieving their diversity action plans.

Big 12 Conference On Black Student Leadership
Residence Life financially sponsors two Resident Assistants to attend this conference. The purpose of the conference is to foster leadership that promotes effective cultural, social and political change through networking, motivational speakers, educational workshops and career opportunities.

Central Staff Annual Performance Appraisals
Diversity is evaluated as a performance measure within the Employee Performance Appraisal for the Associate and Assistant Directors. This evaluation is used to determine merit pay increases.

Cultural Appreciation Resident Programming
A component of our programming model is devoted to cultural appreciation. Staff provides a number of student programs in this area throughout the year.

Cultural Dining Series
This series, which began in 1995, celebrates cultures through the collaborative efforts of Division areas highlighting authentic cuisine, dress, art, music, literature and dance of many different cultures. Africa, Cuba, Thailand, Latin America, New Orleans, Mexico, Brazil, China, Germany, the Hill Country of Texas, India, Greece, the Caribbean and Italy have been among the many different highlighted cultures. Guests from the campus, community and region are invited to participate in these cultural celebrations.

Culture and Cuisine
Food information from various cultures is placed on table tents in the Division's dining room tables. The table tents provide information on the origin of the food, the culture and how the food is used.

Diverse Customer Service Training
We provide customer service training for summer conference staff on working with diverse groups.

Diversity Dialogues
Division staff participate in screenings of current developmental and entertainment videos followed by facilitated group discussions of diversity topics relevant to the campus community.

Diversity Education Hours
Each staff member is required to complete annual diversity education hours as a part of their Employee Performance Appraisal. Minimum diversity education requirements: Staff-four (4) hours, Assistant Supervisors and Team Leaders-eight (8) hours, Supervisors-twelve (12) hours and Central Management Staff-sixteen (16) hours.

Diversity Job Posting Language
Examples of suggested job posting language highlighting diversity-related experience are available to supervisors creating job postings.

Diversity Team
A Diversity Team with representatives from the Director?s Office and Administrative Services staff plan diversity education programs that include all staff members from these departments.

Maintenance staff will give same day priority to graffiti that disparages any individual or group. The graffiti will be eliminated on the same day it is discovered or immediately after the University of Texas Police Department completes their review.

Hall Staff Individual Diversity Plans
Each Residence Life Area staff develops individual 10-point diversity plans. The individual diversity plans encourage staff to seek out opportunities to grow in any number of areas related to diversity.

Hate Incident Guide
Residence Life staff members utilize a Hate Incident Guidebook that was developed by a former residence life staff member. The guide provides thought provoking training information and also outlines steps that staff should take when responding to hate incidents that occur within their community.

Human Development Resource Library
The Resource Library contains books, videotapes, audiotapes, magazines, manuals and newsletters addressing a variety of work/life topics including diversity. Continuous literature reviews are conducted to obtain the most relevant and timely materials available. Staff members are notified when new items are added to the library. Resource materials may be checked out by Division staff Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Input from Diverse Populations on all Policy and Decisions
A standing diversity precept is the inclusion of diverse populations all committees and policy boards. This provides for input and ownership from all segments of the organization.

Literature Review
Articles from national, regional and local publications highlighting diversity issues are routed weekly to Associate/Assistant Directors, Supervisors, Assistant Supervisors and Team Leaders for review and discussion.

Mediation and Group Facilitation
Mediation and group facilitation services are available within the Division to assist in resolving workplace issues.

National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI)
Organizational Diversity and Development supports and collaborates with the University of Texas Chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute.

New Employee Orientation
Conduct New Employee Orientation focusing on "organizational culture" including communication, diversity, ethics, harassment and inappropriate workplace conduct, organizational policies and procedures, and teamwork.

Professional Organization Memberships
Memberships for Associate and Assistant Directors or their designate to professional organizations focusing on the issues and concerns of under-represented groups in the workplace will be paid by the Director?s Office.

Professional Staff Development
Residence Life staff meet monthly for on-going training. A number of the on-going training topics are devoted to diversity issues. To date, training has focused on gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender, disabilities, and race issues as they relate to residential living.

Publications, including the policy manual, are evaluated to eliminate non-inclusive language, to include diverse groups in photos and graphics, and to highlight diversity. We also work with Services for Students with Disabilities to meet special needs.

Residence Life Area Wide Diversity Bulletin Boards
Each residence life area office has a diversity board for posting relevant diversity news and highlighting special months. These are maintained by office staff.

Residence Life Diversity Committee
The newly created committee debuted in the fall of 2003 and has been successful in providing staff and residents with diversity awareness and educational activities. Membership consists of staff, students, and representatives from departments other than DHFS. The following accomplishments are attributed to the work of the Diversity Committee:

  • Diversity Newsletter
    The Diversity Newsletter is published by the Diversity Committee on a monthly basis and provides information on current events, issues of debate, articles, and personal stories. It is posted on our web site and is available to the University community and those who visit our web site.
  • Tunnel of Oppression
    The Tunnel of Oppression is a virtual walk-through experience of real life happenings in the area of oppression, discrimination, hate, GLBT, alcohol abuse, and more. Each group that went through the Tunnel was offered the opportunity to participate in a facilitated discussion to process what they experienced.

Residence Life Exchanges
Since 1990, the University of Texas and the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) have participated in week-long Resident Assistant exchanges. The short visits allow participants the opportunity to learn about ITESM's residence hall systems while experiencing the customs and culture of Mexico. This exchange expanded the program to include semester long work and academic opportunities and provides students opportunities to work as Resident Assistants in ITESM's residence halls as well as study in and benefit from the academic and cultural environment of this situation.

Resident Assistant Training
A component of resident assistant training during fall and spring workshops is devoted to diversity topics. Additionally, staff in-services related to diversity awareness are presented to resident assistant staff throughout the year.

Safespace is a resident facilitated group that provides support and programming for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender staff and students. Originally created by the RA Council, SafeSpace is now fully affiliated and sponsored by the University Residence Hall Association.

Staff Recruitment
DHFS practices targeted recruitment of under-represented staff in all areas of it's operations. Staff members complete a colleague contact sheet so that an official contact can be made.

Staff Training Center
Coordinate use of the Human Development Center, which serves as the Division's primary facility or professional development activities.

Strategic Plan
Strategic goals and action plans developed by Residence Life staff and Central Staff Management Team are reviewed annually and must incorporate diversity initiatives.

Supervisor Meeting Diversity Presentations
Supervisor meetings are held every month during the fall and spring and consist of all supervisors from across the Division of Housing and Food Service. Time is allotted for discussion on topics of special interest. Cultural celebrations and achievements are often recognized during supervisor meetings.

English/Spanish translation and interpretation for native Spanish-speaking staff.

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