Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

Examples of DEIJ

True to Texas Woman's University's priority to celebrate diversity, the College of Professional Education (COPE) embraces it and believes in the positive transformational changes that education, as an influential agent, brings to society. COPE aspires to become a more diverse community and recognizes that the interconnectedness that exists between equity, inclusion, social justice and diversity is necessary to achieve academic excellence.

COPE affirms the inclusion of diverse populations while honoring our commitment to social justice and respect for everyone. We do not tolerate any forms or acts of oppression based on sex, gender, race, ability, nationality/cultural identity, sexual orientation, citizenship status, religion, ethnicity, language, age, or class.

One of the ways COPE fulfills this commitment is through the work of its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) committee.

U.S. News Rankings in Ethnic Diversity
  • 2nd in Texas
  • 4th Nationally
  • 57.9% of student population are people of color

Committee Members

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FacultyDepartmentEmail
Aimee Myers, PhD Teacher Education amyers@twu.edu 
JaNiece Elzy, EdD Literacy & Learning jelzy@twu.edu 
Shann Hwa (Abraham) Hwang, PhD Human Development, Family Sciences & Counseling shwang@twu.edu 
Rachel Simons, PhD School of Library & Information Studies rsimons@twu.edu 
Jorge Figueroa Flores, PhD Teacher Education jfigueroa2@twu.edu 
Kristen Becker, EdD School of Library & Information Studies kbecker2@twu.edu 
Non-FacultyPosition/Dept.Email
Sharon Bailey Administrative Assistant, Dean's Office/EPP sbailey18@twu.edu 
Whitney Mathison, PhD, LPC, NCC Director, Counseling & Family Therapy Clinic wmathison@twu.edu 
Lorena Cavazos Administrative Assistant, Teacher Education lcavazos2@twu.edu 
Kudakwashe Blessing Svosve Undergraduate Student ksvosve@twu.edu 
Karina Martin Graduate Student kmartin32@twu.edu 
Ex-OfficioPosition/Dept.Email
Lisa Huffman, PhD Dean, College of Professional Education lhuffman1@twu.edu 

Student Newsletters

Mission

The DEIJ Committee stewards an ethos of equity and social justice, along with select practices designed to recognize and honor the gifts of each community member. 

Vision

This committee envisions a representative, respectful, celebratory, curious, kind, engaged, equitable, discerning, and supportive environment for learning, study, research, teaching, and all other forms of collegiality arising within a diverse community established for the pursuit of higher education. Above all, the DEIJ Committee pursues social justice through action, with the goal of encouraging these principles in students, staff, and faculty and enabling them to advance equity within their larger communities.

Values

The committee upholds Texas Woman’s University core values of Opportunity, Creativity, Collaboration, Well-being, Excellence, Caring, and Diversity. Further, the committee identifies the following as key values for its mission and vision. In order to accomplish and exemplify this mission, committee members practice viewing questions of equity, inclusion, social justice, and diversity through:

  • Recommendations and decisions reflective of an adamant stance against perpetuating racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, classism, ableism, ageism, and other group discrimination in both individual and institutional manifestations
  • Dispositions and actions that express respect for individuals of all backgrounds and circumstances
  • Intentions and actions centered on equity as the guide and goal for processes and outcomes under the committee’s purview
  • Perspectives informed by humility and curiosity about what we may learn
  • Openness to recognizing causes for celebration and recognition of excellence, including a willingness to share joy in our diverse identities and experiences
  • Imagination and sensitivity that give rise to discernment, caring, and mercy
  • Support for opportunities that foster creativity and collaboration amongst diverse community members

Committee Responsibilities

The committee is charged with making recommendations to the Dean regarding equity, inclusion, social justice, and diversity efforts, along with providing direction and feedback that will strengthen the educational, organizational, and institutional climate of COPE. The committee addresses the climate and culture of the college; recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students; faculty and staff development; inclusion of diversity, social justice, and equity throughout the curriculum; and review of programming.

The committee recommends and monitors policies designed to establish expectations for curriculum, faculty, staff, and students, while also ensuring recourse to fair treatment in the event of a policy breach. The committee is tasked with the improvement of five areas: access, campus culture and climate, scholarship, institutional strategic initiatives, and community collaboration and engagement.

The work of the committee includes, but is not limited to:

  • Serve as advisors who provide direction and feedback on DEIJ efforts to COPE.
  • Recommend educational or professional development programming related to DEIJ.
  • Recommend strategies for the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff, and students.
  • Recommend curricular development and improvement efforts in relation to DEIJ.
  • Coordinate to publicize with the office of Marketing and Communications all DEIJ related news and events.
  • Create a process in collaboration with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach, the Office of Civility and Community Standards, and other campus Offices as needed, for members of the COPE community to express DEIJ related concerns and situations.
  • Work cooperatively on DEIJ issues brought to the committee by COPE leadership.
  • Provide opportunities for access to the college for a diverse student, faculty, and staff population.
  • Issue recommendations to improve the college culture and climate.
  • Offer learning opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to achieve education and diversity learning goals.
  • Include DEIJ outcomes in college faculty and staff performance appraisals.
  • Serve as what other organizations have termed “a bias incident response team” to offer perspective and make recommendations as requested.
  • Engage community participation to strengthen the Committee’s mission, vision, values, and objectives.
  • As appropriate, advocate for creation of, and offer support to, a university infrastructure that includes the strategic goals of commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice practices.

Membership and Governance

Composition

The committee is composed of 12 people. It includes a faculty member representative from each department (Teacher Education, Literacy and Learning, Human Development, Family Studies, and Counseling, and the School of Library and Information Studies), one staff member, two students (one undergraduate and one graduate), two ad hoc faculty members and two ad hoc staff members representing COPE (designated by the Dean), and the COPE Dean or Dean’s Designee as Ex-officio.

Nomination to Membership

Full-time tenured, tenure-track, and clinical faculty interested in representing their department as either a new or returning committee member may nominate themselves to their department Chair. Upon member selection within the department, the Chair will notify the office of the Dean about the decision. Staff and ad hoc faculty members may nominate themselves to serve on the committee by sending a letter of interest to the Dean via email. Note that adjunct and visiting faculty members are eligible and welcome to serve on committee task forces.

Students interested in serving will submit the DEIJ student application, which will be made available through an open call. Student nominations by faculty members are encouraged, but not required. The committee members will review these student applications and make appointment recommendations to the Dean.

Terms of Committee Members

Initial committee member terms will be staggered: half of those founding committee members who are faculty or staff will serve a two-year term, while the other half will serve a three-year term. Subsequent terms for faculty and staff will be for three years. Faculty/staff members may serve two consecutive terms before taking a hiatus of at least one full term before returning to serve again on the committee. Student members may serve one year in the committee, with a possible extension to a second term based on educational commitments/graduation.

Membership Vacancy

When an unexpected member vacancy occurs, the committee will inform the Dean of COPE. If the vacancy is for an ex-officio member, then the office of the Dean will submit a recommendation and nomination to the committee. If the vacancy is for a departmental faculty representative, then the department Chair will send a recommendation and nomination to the committee to fill the vacancy. These new memberships will be for the remainder of the vacating officer’s term. In the case of a student vacancy, a call for nominations will be opened by the committee, with nominations by faculty members additionally solicited.

Committee Officers

For the sake of organization and good order, a team of officers will be elected annually for one-year terms, with the exception of the roles of Vice Chairs to Co-Chairs. Elected Vice Chairs effectively commit to two combined years of office-holding, the first year as Vice Chairs, and the second year as Chairs. Officers may be re-elected to serve a second consecutive term, so long as their membership on the committee would not expire during the second term. Faculty and staff committee members are eligible to nominate themselves for any one officer position, per year.

Officer positions will consist of:

  • Two Committee Co-Chairs: Ensures preparation of meetings, including advance circulation of the agenda and any attachments, at least three days prior to the meeting. Convenes and conducts meetings to sufficiently address agenda items. Collaborates with other officers and task forces regarding work. After the initial founding election, this position is an automatic advancement from Vice Chair and does not require an annual election.
  • Two Vice Chairs/Incoming Co-Chairs: Supports Committee Chair/Co-Chairs while also learning committee processes. Initial election to this position includes an automatic advancement to the position of Co-Chair in the following term (when current Co-chairs step down).
  • Recording Secretary: Records, drafts, and submits minutes for committee meetings.
  • Communications Liaison: Scans the university and community environment, keeping current with issues to bring before the committee for its consideration.

Task Forces

To support its mission and vision, garner needed information, and accomplish delimited work, the committee may empower the establishment of ad hoc task forces. A current committee member must serve as chair (or co-chair) of any such task force; any committee member can nominate themselves to chair a task force. The committee member chairing the task force will be expected to identify and invite members to serve on the task force, to attend its meetings, and to report regularly on its functioning and accomplishments. Invited task force membership may include individuals outside the committee who can further its specific charge. As an example, a task force might be needed to poll student organizations and compile a report of findings. A task force made up of students who are not committee members might be organized under supervision of a committee member to accomplish associated tasks. Other prospective members of task forces could include visiting and adjunct faculty members, representatives of community constituencies impacted by COPE and its work, and the like.

Standard Procedures

The committee will initially meet monthly unless and until members elect to alter its charter. The date and time of monthly meetings will be determined by committee members to facilitate attendance and participation.

At the committee’s inaugural meeting, sufficient time will be allotted to ratify a workable charter, such as this document or an amended version of it, as well as to elect committee officers, or to agree on a plan for their election by the time of the committee’s second meeting.

In subsequent years, officer elections will take place during the summer semester, so that new officers may be on-boarded by the time the fall semester begins.

Quorum

A simple majority of the current voting members of the DEIJ Committee will constitute a quorum. Passing items will require a simple majority of the quorum present when a vote is held.

Recommendations

Action and policy recommendations will be made based on a simple majority vote of a quorum in attendance, and submitted to the Dean of COPE, along with voting percentages, and a brief minority opinion, if wanted. As the committee is not a governing body, the focus of these recommendations is to deepen the conversation and to consider all voices and perspectives, in keeping with committee values and the purpose it stewards.

 

Page last updated 10:37 AM, September 20, 2021