From the Office for Inclusive Excellence & Health Equity
Dear UT Health San Antonio faculty, staff, students, residents, fellows and postdocs:
Success takes vision. And vision takes clarity. There are often misconceptions around what diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) mean at work or at school. What constitutes diversity? How can I practice inclusion? UT Health San Antonio is committed to institutional excellence that furthers understanding of these critically important concepts. Organizational vision is best achieved through direct feedback from its community members.
To that end, UT Health San Antonio launched its first campuswide diversity climate survey to better understand how the university climate contributes to one’s ability to learn, teach and work, as well as affirms a sense of belonging held by members of the campus community. Like many other academic health centers, UT Health San Antonio faces challenges and opportunities, and this survey expresses our desire and commitment to continually discern how we address issues with care and purpose.
The initial data analysis provided by a third-party vendor is comprehensive and requires a thoughtful process to disseminate communications and action planning development. In 2022, UT Health’s approach to broadening our DEI efforts includes five main phases:
- Benchmarking and goal setting
2. Assessments and audits
3. Process creation and roadmap design
4. Execution and change management
This work serves as a blueprint to discover and define how we can strengthen our commitment to education, training and professional development; revise strategies to increase diversity, such as inclusive hiring practices and student recruitment initiatives; promote innovative research addressing the needs of diverse patient populations; and advance mutual respect for qualities and experiences different than our own.
The campus climate survey was distributed to faculty, staff, residents, fellows and postdoctoral fellows from May 18 to June 15, 2021. Students and learners participated Nov. 9 through Dec. 7, 2021.
Following is a selection of key takeaways from the campus climate employee survey. You may also view recent dashboards related to student and faculty data provided by the Office of Institutional Research.
- The Employee Survey was sent to 8,031 employees and had a 36% response rate. Response rate by constituent group varied: 63% for classified staff, 28% for faculty, 5% for leaders and 4% for A&P staff.
- Overall, 89% of employees agreed that diversity, equity and inclusion are values promoted at UT Health San Antonio.
- Results of the employee survey indicate that 48% of individuals from underrepresented groups — specifically LGBTQ+ individuals, persons with disabilities and people of color — experienced exclusionary conduct in their respective workplace settings.
- About two-thirds of employees (64%) expressed both personal and professional development are encouraged at UT Health San Antonio.
- 61% felt UT Health is a supportive work environment and 34% indicated the merit and promotions processes are fair.
- 81% are satisfied with overall interactions with other employees.
This past fall, the Student Survey was sent to 4,311 students; 453 students completed the survey, which generated a response rate of 11%. Analysis of the data is currently underway by a third-party vendor and, once available, information will be shared with respective schools and the university community.
Unpacking Additional Survey Results and Planning for Next Steps
Each school has been provided with its climate survey data for employees. Other administrative areas that fall under the operational support services (such as Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs, Business Affairs, Facilities, Safety and Risk Management, Human Resources, Information Management and Services, Institutional Advancement, Marketing, Communications and Media, Research, and Strategic Planning) have also been given aggregate results.
Based on a recommendation from me, the President’s Cabinet is strongly encouraging unit-level planning processes that respond to the 2021 Campus Climate Survey. Deans and vice presidents are encouraged to lead conversations about the survey data at the office, department and administrative and/or school level, and for these data and conversations to inform ongoing strategic planning processes.
Communication of additional updates and actions implemented in response to these findings will be ongoing. Our intentions are to strengthen existing DEI initiatives already underway in departments and areas across the university and identify and develop new ones.
We thank each of you for your participation in and contributions to this critically important work. We value collaboration and urge members of the university community to work with intentionality in all areas about issues related to campus climate in order to facilitate a more inclusive and supportive environment.
Please feel free to submit questions/inquiries to InclusiveExcellence@uthscsa.edu.
Learn more about the Campus Climate Survey Process | Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Campus Climate Survey – FAQs (sharepoint.com).
Read more about the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council, a 22-member committee representing all five schools, various campus units and governing bodies and the voice of faculty, staff, students, postdocs and residents. Part of the DEI Council’s role is to help develop and implement the institution’s DEI Strategic Plan, which will serve as a vehicle to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at UT Health San Antonio.
Chiquita A. Collins, PhD, MA
Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence and Health Equity