VP Message- Diversity Update, Aug. 19, 2021

Dear DSA,


As I first shared with you in May, the DSA Diversity Council worked with EAB to conduct a small number of focus groups regarding diversity, inclusion, and engagement of staff within the division. These focus groups in June and July were part of our campaign to follow up on the results of the 2018 campus climate survey. The 22 staff who participated were selected from across all reporting levels and roles in the division.


I want to thank the 22 staff members who took time out of their busy schedules to participate and offer their honest feedback, thoughts and opinions.

I have spent a lot of time reading through and thinking about the results and considering how best to move forward with what we learned.


Here are some immediate action items resulting from the feedback we received:


  • Fair-market compensation was one concern raised. Last week, Human Resources shared two messages detailing the comprehensive market salary study that they completed in partnership with Segal Consulting to assess the compensation for staff positions at all levels across the UNT World. The study revealed that 95 percent of staff positions are at or above market value. You can view a list of FAQs attached to this email. Unfortunately at this time, I do not know much more than you do on the results of this study.
  • Another concern brought forward during our open Diversity Council meetings this past year and again during the focus groups was the need for more follow-up and collaboration in our diversity trainings. Knowing that was a concern our staff had, the Diversity Council ensured that this year’s diversity training Personal Development Plan includes a departmental training component. This will provide the opportunity for open discussion and feedback on a shared training, as well as better connecting equity and inclusion to our daily work.
  • The fear of retaliation if a violation is reported was shared and to address this we will have a representative from the Equal Opportunity and Title IX office come to a division meeting to share information about their processes and how to report issues. You can also find that information on their website.
  • Changes to the compensatory time and overtime policy announced by the UNT System in June was another issue brought forward. Please know this was a System change and not a UNT-specific change, but we are all working to adapt to the policy as quickly as possible without hurting employees too significantly. If anything, we hope it benefits employees. Managers should continue to work with their teams to identify times when exempt employees may need to work pre-approved comp time and I take that information forward to the President’s Office. We also are prepared to advise staff on how to document hours when emergency situations arise.
  • A concern about the level of participation by DSA leadership in diversity trainings also was brought up. To be as transparent as possible about the work myself and my direct reports are undertaking, we will share our personal development plans on the DSA Diversity & Inclusion website after the Aug. 31 deadline. Also, this past year’s diversity plans were part of the evaluation process for my direct reports and will continue to be.
  • In the focus groups, staff also expressed a desire to be given the opportunity to provide feedback on their supervisors. I am exploring the idea of 360 evaluations for DSA leadership to roll out in this next evaluation round. As details are solidified, I will be sure to share them with all of you in one of my diversity updates.


These are just a few of the immediate actions we are taking. I will work with the Diversity Council to continue to review the results and formulate more concrete steps we will take to address these important issues.


I again want to thank those who participated. We have done much work to make our division and University an inclusive environment for everyone but I know we have much work left to do.

I ask that you all continue on this journey with me and stay committed to this important work.


Take care,

Elizabeth With Ed.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs