UT Seeks Diversity Goals

A performance audit by the state shows that the University of Tennessee has reached some of its desegregation goals, but fallen short in others.

UT’s new Vice President for Equity and Diversity Theotis Robinson says the university has exceeded its goals for minority enrollment in its law school and medical school in Memphis.

Robinson says a new Black Cultural Center will help the main campus at Knoxville improve undergraduate minority enrollment.

“One of the areas of difficulty we have had is in the recruitment and retention of undergraduate African-Aamerican students,” Robinson said. “One tool that we have found to be quite useful is the Black Cultural Center. In fact, Tennessee was one of the first schools to establish such a center. With the growth of our student population and the aging of the facility, and new facility needed to be built.

“Construction on the new center is expected to begin during the course of this academic year and completion is scheduled in 2002. We look forward with great anticipation to this new facility.”

Robinson says the recent appointment of Dr. michael blackwell as UT’s dean of veterinary medicine is another example of UT’s increasing diversity efforts.

“I think one of our more noteworthy bits of progress has been the hiring of Dr. Michael Blackwell as new dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the first African-American ever appointed dean of a school of veterinary medicine other than at Tuskegee Institute. So we are quite proud we were able to attract him”

Robinson says recruitment of minority faculty also has improved, diversity is becoming an increasingly important part of the quality educational experience at UT.

“We are ahead of our goals for black faculty, but of course we want to far exceed the minimum levels not only for African-American faculty, but Hispanic, Asian, and other cultures across the board. We live in a very diverse world and if UT is to offer a world class education to its students we must have a diverse faculty.”