This year, there are two recipients of the Dr. Bertina H. Combes Inclusive Excellence Award. The first award recipient is Faculty Success. A unit with the Division of Academic Affairs, Faculty Success is headed by Dr. Holly Hutchins, Vice Provost for Faculty Success. The commitment of this unit to diversity, equity and inclusion is evidenced through Faculty Success’s efforts over the past two years to improve the cultural competence of Academic Affairs faculty and staff by providing learning and development opportunities focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Faculty Success was very successful in partnering with the Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) to develop and provide a diverse array of synchronous and asynchronous learning and development options for employees through its Anti-Bias and Cultural Awareness (ABCA) Program. This “best practice” model has engaged over 90+ percent of the Academic Affairs faculty and staff and is worthy of emulation by other units at the University of North Texas. We believe the example of Faculty Success can be both inspiring to and instructive for departments across the university that wish to institutionalize inclusive practices and competencies. Congratulations to Faculty Success!
The second recipient of the Dr. Bertina H. Combes Inclusive Excellence Award for 2022 is the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation (DSI) led by Vice President Adam Fein. For almost two years, the DSI team has engaged in intentional efforts to improve the climate for employees within the division and to foster a greater sense of belonging. Under the leaders of Dr. Fein, a climate survey was initiated in summer of 2020 to better identify opportunities for improvement and growth. The Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation established a diversity and inclusion council and an e-newsletter to ensure better communication with all divisional employees. Efforts to facilitate inclusive excellence is also evidenced through the continued participation of DSI employees in the programs, offerings, and initiatives of IDEA. Having the DSI leadership team and diversity and inclusion council to complete the multi-part, 20-hour Inclusion, Equity and Community Building (IECB) workshop really set the tone for the division regarding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, DSI’s efforts to ensure equal access by persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQA+ community have helped to ensure UNT is indeed a welcoming and caring campus community. Congratulations to the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation!