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Discussing UT’s Commitment to Diversity

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[Noma Anderson]: So the summit was a wonderful venue for us to come together and to begin that systemwide conversation.

[Joe DiPietro]: We had the ability to have all these people from across the system get together and talk about things that have worked for them and things that haven’t worked for them.

[Joe Miles]: It’s important that we are talking across campuses to see all the good work that other people on other campuses are doing so that we’re not kind of working in silos and that we can collaborate with each other and create kind of a state wide climate that’s inclusive of diversity.

[Anderson]: Our society is diverse. Therefore we’ve got to offer a diverse environment that’s conducive to learning and work. That has high quality students, faculty and staff.

[Miles]: I think of not only race and ethnicity, which are an important part of it, but also social class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and spirituality, I think ability status or disability, veteran status increasingly so, age, nationality… So I think that multiculturalism includes a lot of different topics.

[Anderson]: It’s important to me because I really recognize that diversity and inclusion are core values of higher education.

[DiPietro]: Well it’s really important to me for two reasons: I grew up in rural Midwest in an environment where it was a monoculture of people more or less and my experience at the University of Illinois, going to be a big place right out of a small high school, really changed me because it was an aspect of my education I never expected when I went there from the standpoint of learning about all these different people from all over the world, let alone from all over Illinois. It made me appreciate the benefit of that kind of environment and what it’s done for me through my career.

In addition within our family you know we have a grandson from Ethiopia so we’re a multiculturally diverse family with a bunch of Italians and a little boy from Ethiopia. You know, learning about Ben and his culture and his background has helped me appreciate how important it is to have our university welcome to all and hostile to none.

[Anderson]: The process is top-down and bottom-up and it involves everyone in order for us to be successful.

[DiPietro]: My hope is that it becomes so much a part of the fabric of the institution that people get it from the get go and we have to do less and less in advancing it and it just happens.

[Miles]: I think that it is important that we continue to develop our multicultural competence and make sure that we’re providing the best possible climate for every member of our community.

[DiPietro]: Because its the right thing to do and it improves the teaching, research, and outreach environment.

More than 140 faculty and staff attended UT’s first statewide diversity summit on April 15, 2015.

In this video, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro, Dr. Noma Anderson, Diversity Advisory Council Chair and Dean of the College of Health Professions at the UT Health Science Center, as well as Dr. Joe Miles, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology in the UT Knoxville Department of Psychology, discuss UT’s commitment to diversity and things learned from the 2015 UT Diversity Summit.

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Category: Employees