The University’s raison d’etre is knowledge: its creation and dissemination.
— Alex Clarke (UT Dallas graduation 1984)
Universities serve humankind through the creation and dissemination of knowledge. A university's value to humanity, civilization, the nation and the region is measured by the extent to which it fulfills these interrelated and mutually supportive objectives. Increasingly, the public values higher education for providing a work-force of professionals to meet growing demands, and this objective sub-serves the broader goal of preparing leaders equipped to move the nation and the world into the 21st century.
At this critical cross-roads (the opening decades of the 21st century) three forces have coalesced to provide impetus and motivation for advancing diversity in higher education.
The first of these is national and springs from the civil rights movements of the latter half of the past century with their emphasis on fairness and equity. This movement has been fueled by the increasing multi-ethnicity of our population and the growing realization that the nation needs the skills, abilities and talents of all our citizens. State and federal mandates in higher education share this common goal.
The second is international and arises from economic, societal and technological “shrinking” of our world. We live in a global village of interrelated science, technology, politics and economies. In all developed nations, the number of international students is growing, and the number of students from underdeveloped nations is rapidly increasing. Graduates of our universities must be prepared for international leadership, for communicating and working with colleagues, superiors and subordinates from many cultures. Parochial, ethnocentric perspectives will not suffice. The movement for internationalism in higher education has succinctly articulated this need.
- In problem solving and research, and
- In the dissemination of knowledge (the twin objectives of all higher education).
Diversity of background and perspective are emerging as powerful forces in innovation and problem solving, the essential underpinnings for advances in science, technology and business.(Scott Page video) Faculty diversity is progressively recognized as an essential element in effective pedagogy. Thus, any university striving to excel in these essential roles must be diverse.
The University of Texas at Dallas understands these forces and is committed to achieving diversity and inclusion on our campus. This commitment is articulated by our President David E. Daniel’s Statement on Diversity and is the basis for the mission of the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. The program for faculty diversity is specifically charged with increasing the diversity of our faculty through recruitment and retention, and for promoting diversity in the curriculum and inclusion in our classrooms.