The Inclusive Retention Toolkit for Faculty, Graduate Students, and Postdoctoral Fellows is a comprehensive toolkit compiled by the Office for Inclusion and Equity (OIE) in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). The toolkit provides strategies and ideas drawn from best practices for retention from across UT Austin, comparable institutions with NSF ADVANCE grants, and relevant research literature. Suggestions and practical examples are provided for areas of retention including climate and culture, leadership development, opportunities for professional development, and mentoring. In addition, references and additional resources used to compile the toolkit are included.
In this toolkit, diversity is defined as demonstrating respect for all individuals and valuing each perspective and experience. Diversity includes but is not limited to dimensions of dis/ability, gender, gender identity and expression, international/national origin, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. A more diverse campus community comprised of students, faculty, and staff contributes to a richer and more welcoming teaching, learning, research, and work environment (see for example Chang, Milem, and Antonio, 2010; Hurtado, Alvarez, Guillermo-Wann, Cuellar, and Arellano, 2012; Reddick and Saenz, 2012).
Highlights of suggestions from the toolkit are below:
- Conduct a climate assessment within the college, school, or department to better understand the current climate and culture, as well as to inform future efforts that will promote inclusivity and diversity
- Provide transparent information for faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows on relevant policies, procedures, practices, and resources through an accessible and comprehensive departmental website including critical information on promotion and tenure, dual career assistance, family friendly policies, disability accommodations, etc.
- Engage and partner with various interdisciplinary centers and departments across campus including but not limited to the Center for Asian American Studies, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies, Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, Center for Mexican American Studies, Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, and Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies
- Examine and implement best practices that address psychosocial and organizational barriers, myths, assumptions, and cognitive errors and biases that affect retention, salary, workload equity, promotion, and tenure
- Establish opportunities for women and underrepresented graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members to network and engage with campus governance and college administration
- Encourage a mentoring culture within the department by providing both informal and formal opportunities for networking and professional development
- Recruit and mentor postdoctoral fellows with the potential for the positions to become full-time faculty lines at the end of the fellowship