During our meeting with UTHealth DEI Chair, Chair-Elect, the previous Chair, and the Diversity Champions across the six UTHealth schools we conducted a root cause analysis that guided us to focusing on:
1. Reviewing the number of policies that have been revisited and edited to reflect equity and
2. Maintaining an accessible dataset on UTHealth training completion of DEI LinkedIn Modules and the incremental milestones of the Educational DEI LinkedIn Learning Challenge and certificate.
These are only two of the five initiatives that are led by the UTHealth DEI Council. Access to the DEI data and disaggregation will be manageable given that both team members serve in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success. We intend to use Qualtrics and Zoom software for management of quantitative and qualitative data.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston aims to develop evaluative measures for two of the UTHealth DEI Council initiatives; (1) policy change (2) DEI training via LinkedIn Learning. The Chair of the UTHealth DEI Council has prioritized the collection of evaluation data to be used to inform improvements to DEI-focused institutional initiatives. Consequently, we proposed (1) creating a live dashboard that benchmarked the number and type of institutional policies that have been reviewed with an equity lens and (2) creating another dashboard that recorded the number of individuals who have completed the DEI Training Track created in partnership with LinkedIn Learning. This dashboard would have disaggregated features to allow users to review completion rates by various demographic markers.
Unexpected challenges were raised during the Fellowship. The largest challenge was the current legislature proposal of the following bills: Senate Bill 16 - Banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Higher Education; Senate Bill 17 - Banning Discriminatory "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" (DEI) Policies in Higher Education; and Senate Bill 18 - Eliminating Tenure at General Academic Institutions.
Despite the challenges, the UTHealth DEI Council - which is comprised of diversity champions including students, faculty, and staff from each of our six schools, in addition to representatives from University Classified Staff Council, Interfaculty Council, Student InterCouncil, and central administration - were vitally integrated into the development and progression of the data research portion.