Valuing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SIS
The School of Information Sciences (SIS) is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion for all. Our commitment to promote, protect, and ensure diversity is rooted in the belief that a diverse society, and diverse information professoriate, are essential for the free exchange of ideas, knowledge creation, research, academic freedom, personal and professional growth, cooperation and success in both local and global contexts.
We believe it is critical for information professionals to have diverse perspectives in order to have the compassion and empathy needed to effectively serve their communities, and make a positive impact on society.
SIS supports a number of initiatives and activities to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environment for all members of our community. Our work is guided by the Diversity and Inclusion Statement of the School of Information Sciences, adopted in September 2007, and reaffirmed annually.
Diversity & Inclusion Statement of the School of Information Sciences
Adopted September 2007, Reaffirmed September 2019
The School of Information Sciences is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity for all. Our commitment to promoting, protecting, and ensuring diversity and inclusion in our community builds on an understanding that a diverse and inclusive society is essential for the free exchange of ideas, debate, research, academic freedom, growth, responsibility, knowledge, integrity, cooperation, and success in the local and global context. Diversity and inclusion are also essential in developing the cultural competencies and effectiveness information professionals must have to serve the needs of increasingly diverse and pluralistic communities.
Diversity and inclusion enriches the learning and teaching experiences of students, faculty, and others, and allows us to interact with each other and work together in an interconnected local, regional, and global society. All are honored, respected, and welcome in the School of Information Sciences, including those who may differ according to race, ethnicity, religion/spirituality, creed, national origin, language, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, age, veteran status, marital/partnered status, physical appearance, political affiliation, and social, economic, or educational background, amongst other factors. At the same time, there are many similarities in us that create potentials for rich and creative partnerships across the differences and that facilitate communication, understanding, and mutual growth. Without a reflective and thoughtful understanding of the similarities and differences amongst us, as well as ways to promote mutual respect and collaboration, meaningful education is not possible.
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville Principles of Civility and Community
- College of Communication and Information Diversity Statement
- University of Tennessee System Equal Employment Opportunity/Non-Discrimination/Affirmative Action Statement
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville Office of Equity and Diversity
Get to Know our Community
SIS appoints a faculty member to serve as Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Their role is to monitor and advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in curricular and co-curricular opportunities and initiatives at SIS. Our current Diversity and Inclusion Officer is Professor Devendra Potnis.
Please reach-out to them if you would like to discuss any issue related to diversity, equity and inclusion at SIS.
Initiatives at SIS
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award: This award recognizes the student’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as exemplified by their scholarship, professional service, and reflective participation while enrolled in a degree program at the School of Information Sciences. Begun in fall 2018 under the previous name, Diversity & Inclusion Badge, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award is conferred annually to graduating BSIS and MSIS students. Undergraduate students receive the award at the College’s Honors Convocation, typically held in April, and master’s students receive the award at the MSIS Hooding Ceremony, typically held in May.
Scholarships: Competitive scholarships offered by SIS are open to all applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or veteran status. Several scholarships are particularly focused on diversity and equity. This includes awards for MSIS students made through the John C. Tyson Minority Fellowship Endowment, the Carmen L. Moulton Memorial Endowment, the Jane Moulton Ray Scholarship Fund, and the John C. Winslow Scholarship.
Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities: The School’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected in several of our MSIS and BSIS program outcomes:
- Apply the general principles, values, and ethical standards of providing information services in a variety of settings and for diverse populations.
- Comply with the changing responsibilities of the information professional in a culturally diverse and networked global society.
- Identify critical professional issues in a variety of organizational, cultural, societal, disciplinary, transdisciplinary, and historical contexts.
Events are held throughout the year to foster and promote diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes invited guest speakers who share their perspectives, research, and initiatives on diversity, equity and inclusion in the information sciences.
Initatives at UT
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, enrolls approximately 29,000 under-graduate and graduate students at its Knoxville campus; 24 percent of all students identify as non-white, and 24 percent identify as first-generation students. Among under-graduates, 29 percent are Pell grant eligible. The University culture is guided by adherence to core values that define the Volunteer spirit, including advancing diversity and inclusion and engaging locally and globally.
The Division of Diversity and Engagement works across campus and in our communities to create and sustain a welcoming, inclusive learning environment for all students, faculty and staff. Their website contains extensive information and resources. Within this division is the Office of Equity & Diversity (OED). OED responds and investigates bias-related incidents.
Other resources and various initiatives from across UT include:
- Black Cultural Planning Committee at the Office of Multicultural Student Life
- Commission for Blacks
- Commission for LGBT+ Communities
- Commission for Women
- Diversity Committee at University Libraries
- Multicultural Student Organizations
- Pride Center
- Veteran Student Services
To foster awareness, collaboration, networking and professional development, the University is host to events throughout the year, including:
- Black Issues Conference, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Student Life:
- Diversity Dialogue Symposium, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Student Life
- Diversi-Tea held throughout the year to promote inclusive teaching practices, hosted by Teaching & Learning Innovation
The University also supports cross-disciplinary research and collaboration through the Communities of Scholars (CoS) Program, including:
- Intersectionality Community of Scholars
- Appalachian Community of Scholars
- Critical Race Collective Community of Scholars
The University also supports funding opportunities in support of diversity, inclusion and equity for academic departments, faculty, staff and student organizations, including:
Resources in the Knoxville area
The University is located in the city of Knoxville in Knox County. There are many organizations providing services and championing diversity, equity and inclusion in our local and regional communities. The University Libraries at the University of Tennessee provides a listing of these organizations, including:
- 100 Black Men of Knoxville
- Beck Cultural Exchange Center
- Bridge Refugee Services, Inc.
- Centro Hispano de East Tennessee
- Knox Pride
- Knoxville Area Urban League
- Knoxville Chinese Culture.Org
- Knoxville Jewish Alliance
- Muslim Community of Knoxville
- Native American Indian Association of Tennessee
The Knoxville Chamber of Commerce also supports a variety of diversity and inclusion programs for local businesses.