Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.98
Liaison Jay Price
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jay Price
Sustainability Manager
Facilities Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admissions without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. Eligibility and other terms and conditions of employment benefits at The University of Tennessee are governed by laws and regulations of the State of Tennessee, and this non-discrimination statement is intended to be consistent with those laws and regulations. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, The University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the University. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), ADA (disability), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), 1840 Melrose Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-3560, telephone (865) 974-2498. Requests for accommodation of a disability should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Office of Equity and Diversity.
Inclusion of this statement is required in the following:

Position announcements (which are not paid advertisements) sent to potential referral sources and other institutions of higher education to solicit applications or nominations.
Catalogs, application forms, posters and other material used in conjunction with the referral and/or recruitment of students, faculty or staff.
Publications which contain general information and are made available to alumni/ae, faculty, staff, students or other participants in or beneficiaries of University programs. http://oed.utk.edu/searches/statement/

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

The Bias Education and Referral Team (BERT) includes members of the university community who are available to support and guide students seeking assistance in determining how to handle a bias incident. The team members will review incident reports and meet with affected students to facilitate services such as counseling, health services, or other referrals as needed to address safety concerns and to provide assistance and comfort to those impacted. Their responsibilities are as follows:

1. Collect verifiable information and engage UTPD and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (if applicable) in the investigation of the incident;
2. Coordinate a plan of action to address bias incident with consideration and/or administration of interim action (e.g., University Housing relocation, no contact directive, and/or interim suspension);
3. Meet with affected students, faculty, staff, or visitors to facilitate support services (e.g., Counseling Center), ensure safety, and provide assistance as deemed appropriate;
4. Develop an appropriate plan to initiate bias incident communication with the campus community;
5. Generate referrals to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Office of the Dean of Students, or the Office of Equity and Diversity;
6. Document and conduct follow-up to bias incidents.

Examples of actions:
September 27th Incident Report Summary
By shollo12, January 30, 2020
On Friday, September 27th, 2019 the Bias Education and Referral Team (BERT), received an online report of a potential bias incident that occurred on-campus on September 27th.
The type of Incident was described as:
Verbal/Written Harassment
The nature of bias was described as:
BERT provided support to the reporter. This case is inactive pending further information.

More incident reports can be found at https://bias.utk.edu/category/incidents-data-reports/

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

UT has multiple programs which aim to recruit a diverse student population to the University. The College Access and Persistence Services Outreach Center provide services to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare them to succeed in postsecondary or professional academic programs. The UT Lead Summer Institute is a five-week, fully paid program for underrepresented students from UT's designated "Promise Schools", who are recipients of the Tennessee Pledge and Promise Scholarships, first-generation students, and students with a math ACT score below 25. NIMBioS is a university program that that explores the interface between math and biology. They conduct Pre-College programs, such as Adventures in STEM, in conjunction with the National Parks Service, the Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks.

Faculty and staff recruitment strategies incorporate the STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) Program as well as the Future Faculty Program, which has a focus on candidates from underrepresented populations.
The purpose of STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) at UT is to revitalize our efforts to hire and retain a diverse faculty by using peer-to-peer instruction about academic research on bias and diversity. The STRIDE activities are led by a committee of faculty at the Knoxville and Agricultural campuses of UT. As a faculty-led committee, our mission is to increase excellence and diversity by improving faculty hiring processes that seek to attract and retain the best possible candidates. We work closely with UT’s Office of Equity and Diversity but our scope is somewhat different.
Background info: https://provost.utk.edu/2016/08/stride-takes-academic-approach-to-advancing-diversity/

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

The LGBTQ and Ally Resource Center offers a mentoring program, which provides a safe space for LGBTQ students and allies to share their experiences and to grow professionally and personally.They also have student crisis intervention; walk-in sessions; group, individual, and couples counseling; and workshops. Consultation and referral services for faculty and staff. The center offers help lines for students and faculty and staff. Additionally, the Multicultural Student Center provides quality tutoring for a variety of undergraduate courses. They provide students with the option of individual or small group tutoring to fit your needs. They hire quality tutors with the ability to combine their subject area expertise, communicate with students, and work towards creating self-motivated independent students. (http://multicultural.utk.edu/services/tutoring/); The UT Lead program's mission is to promote undergraduate success, academic excellence, and persistence to graduation through a support program for selected UT student, specifically students qualifying for the Tennessee Promise or Pledge Scholarships. CURENT has many programs, including undergraduate work study programs, the Academic Year Young Scholars Program, the Summer Young Scholars Program, summer undergraduate research programs, and summer science programs which especially encourage students from underrepresented groups to apply.

The UT Student Counseling Center also provides this commitment to diversity on their website:
"The Student Counseling Center is committed to providing high-quality care and services to all UT students. Regardless of your race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender expression, physical ability, personal creeds or religious/spiritual beliefs, national origin, or socioeconomic status, we pledge to create an affirming and welcoming environment. We actively pursue this by providing culturally responsive counseling services, specialized training for our staff, participation in community events that promote diversity and inclusion, and exemplifying a welcoming, compassionate presence within the Volunteer community."
They also offer crisis resources and emergency appointments for all students as detailed here: https://counselingcenter.utk.edu/clinical-services/crisis-resources/

UT’s top priority is the safety and well-being of faculty, staff, and students. The 946-CARE (865-946-2273) program is available twenty-four hours a day to help faculty and staff maintain a secure and healthy working environment.

The UT Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is designed to provide free, confidential assistance to help employees and their families resolve problems that influence their personal lives or job performance. It provides free short-term counseling, financial counseling, and brief legal advice for regular employees scheduled to work at least 75 percent (30 hours per week) time.

Various peer support groups are available for all UT faculty and staff. Notable groups include the Commission for Women and the Commission for Blacks.
The Commission for Women is a body appointed by the Chancellor to advise on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of university programs, policies, and services designed to improve the status of women on the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee. Here are some of their priorities for the 2019-20 academic year:
-Promote women’s leadership by supporting and enhancing mentoring and professional development
-Advocate for sexual assault awareness and prevention and bully-free workplaces and contribute to the evaluation of relevant policies/programs/implementations
-Advocate for pay equity across genders
-Review parental leave policies for birth/adoption and related work-life issues

The Commission for Blacks is a body appointed by the Chancellor to advise on planning, implementation, and evaluation of university programs, policies, and services as they relate to Black students, faculty and staff.

UT Knoxville is also a member of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity and makes their resources available to all faculty members.

UT's Human Resources department also offers a Diversity Professional Development Fund for staff that allows staff to attend diversity-related conferences and seminars.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

The Graduate Diversity Enhancement Fellowship is annually open to first-time enrollees who have been admitted to a graduate program of study at UTK with the intent of pursuing a doctoral or master’s degree and who demonstrate significant potential to contribute to the Graduate School’s educational mission and its diversity-related goals. These students almost always become Graduate Assistants in their years of graduate study therefore broadening diversity in UTK’s faculty.


Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

While the university does not maintain residence exclusively for transgendered or transitioning students, the University Housing department work on an individual basis with to accommodate the special needs of students.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/spsp-announce/eP3nAh_jtWA http://www.utk.edu/maps/.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.