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Committing to a more inclusive and equitable Texas Science community

Because we are determined to help address longstanding inequities and to be a welcoming community where students, faculty and staff of many backgrounds thrive, we dedicate ourselves to promoting equity and belonging throughout Natural Sciences. We will take action specifically to make improvements in the college climate; ensure institutional accountability; and champion the recruitment, retention and support of individuals from populations historically underrepresented in our college, especially those who are Black, indigenous and from communities of color.

The college will work to advance change through:

  • Continuing and expanding upon recruitment and retention efforts with Black, indigenous and people of color so CNS can:
    • diversify our faculty by developing postdoc-to-faculty bridge programs; assuring dedicated resources for new hires; and planning a new visiting scholars’ program
    • extend a welcome mat to students of color through: coordination of cross-sector recruitment events; expansion of summer research opportunities for prospective undergraduate and graduate students; reevaluation of application practices (such as standardized tests and application fees) that may unnecessarily stand in the way of qualified and talented students seeking admission; and allocating appropriate resources for fellowships, scholarships, new hires and affiliated and outreach efforts.
  • Improving the climate in ways that all community members feel safe, supported, included, and seen at multiple levels—from departments to individual programs to Dean’s Office leadership—through:
    • first acknowledging the inequitable history in our disciplines and on our campus, including through modules in our curriculum and clear statements of our diversity, equity, and inclusion values, including through prominent displays on campus that provide more context about historic injustices at UT and beyond.
    • new efforts to highlight the perspectives, stories and voices of community members from historically marginalized groups, including in college communication, events and regular meetings with college leaders.
    • expanding engagement with institutions and groups outside of UT that serve communities of color, so that we are intentional partners with groups the college has rarely or never reached.
    • development of college-wide teaching and mentoring resources, including new courses and curriculum modules (from discipline-specific history lessons to parts of the college’s diversity, equity & inclusion concentration; relevant seminar series and evidence-based trainings; and new mentoring and career development programs.
  • Improving evaluation and assessment, data availability, data-informed decision making, and organizational accountability through:
    • establishment of a college assessment task force for data management, reporting, and documentation to oversee ensuring transparency about and strategy for all DEI assessments, audits, and surveys (e.g., climate surveys, salary equity audits, service equity audits, DEI effort reports, etc.) and to recommend new efforts aimed at better understanding equity issues related to retention and attrition (e.g., compensation audits and strategic exit-interviews before and after departures).
    • updating and reinforcing equity-focused teaching policies and practices (e.g., peer assessment teaching forms).
    • establishing new processes and resources for valuing DEI efforts, with new opportunities for compensation (e.g., stipends, teaching waivers, and formal volunteer hours) and new and continuing models for accounting for these efforts in promotions, evaluations, and college honors/awards.
    • redefinition of systems of providing service credit and value for outreach

College-wide Commitment to Progress

Improving equity and racial justice must be omnipresent across the College of Natural Sciences. It is the responsibility of all leaders and teams, not the responsibility of our Action Team members alone or any single individual, task force or unit. The above recommendations are being executed with support from all college leaders as an integral part of CNS strategy.

Questions, thoughts and concerns about this pillar, or others in the college’s Strategic Framework, may be directed to Assistant Dean for Strategy and Planning. Melissa Taylor: Melissa.Taylor@cns.utexas.edu.

As we all shop less and stay at home more, many of us are rethinking our meals and dietary habits. Canned and frozen items are staples now more than ever, and creative substitutions (sometimes with tragic results) are often required. Some of us may not have dared to step into a kitchen a few short weeks ago and are just beginning our culinary adventures. Some of us are veteran home chefs who can make magic out of anything on hand. And some of us are parents facing the demands of many hats and just trying to figure out how to get dinner on the table.  Below are Quarantine Cooking recipes for the enjoyment and nourishment of our CNS Community.

 

Pet Friendly Recipes 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CNS Lateral communities 1400px

 

The College of Natural Sciences is a large organization comprised of many different departments and units. Across many of these sub-units there are individuals in similar roles that might be the only person in their particular unit doing their particular type of work. We believe there is benefit in connection to professional peers. We believe such connection creates community and support that benefits both the individual and the organization as a whole. 

 

WHAT ARE LATERAL COMMUNITIES, AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT IN CNS?

Lateral communities create intentional connection among individuals with similar job responsibilities. They are communities of practice, problem solving, and professional development. Lateral communities create professional networks in an effort to provide learning and growth opportunities.

The CNS lateral community initiative aims to foster collaboration, professional growth, and a stronger sense of support among our college staff.

 


CNS Kick-off Webinar with Amy Kates

kates lateral communities event 04

 

Amy Kates is an international thought leader on organizational design theory. She serves as a trusted advisor to successful companies around the world. Amy's webinar explored the importance of sub-communities in large organizations and the benefits of connections across units. 

 

WHAT WILL THE CNS LATERAL COMMUNITY INITIATIVE ENTAIL?

Three CNS Lateral Communities will be piloted in summer 2020:

  • Human Resource Professionals
  • Assistants to Chairs
  • Procurement and Purchasing Personnel

College leadership will facilitate the first meeting of each cohort, as well as provide tools for collective leadership of continued connection. The individuals that make up each cohort will help shape their communities and the resources they provide. Examples of potential lateral community resources include:

  • Flexible agendas with space for members to bring problems and best practices to share
  • A community Box folder for resource sharing
  • A community Slack channel for informal and on-going group communications
  • A community listserv for more intensive communications
  • A hosted lunch for bi-annual, in person community meetings
  • Suggested training and learning resources relevant to each community

 

FEEDBACK AND REQUESTS

This is a new and iterative process, which we hope to continuously improve. All are welcome to provide thoughts and feedback for improving this initiative. Simultaneously, anyone can request new communities be added to this initiative as the effort intends to expand in the 2020-21 academic year. 

CNS Lateral Community Feedback and Requests

 

CNS Connect 2020 Web


CNS Connect creates opportunities to maintain and amplify the social aspects of our community through a new program to bridge our distance with regularly scheduled community events and support for teams. 


The College of Natural Sciences is hosting a series of virtual activities and events for CNS staff and faculty on an ongoing basis. These events are meant to acknowledge and thank our amazing staff and faculty for their perseverance and dedication during this most unique time and hopefully, not only maintain, but build community among the people of Texas Science.  

"Like people everywhere, our Natural Sciences community is contending with significant changes in our work routines. I have spoken with many of you who, like me, miss the impromptu discussions after meetings, morning coffee rituals with coworkers and meaningful interactions afforded by a shared workspace. With the shift to a virtual and remote workspace for many of us and all the challenges that entails, there are ways in which we need each other now more than ever. " 

– Dean Paul Goldbart 

 

WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK

  • Have an idea for a community activity or new ways the college can foster connection?

  • Are you an independent worker and not part of an evident team?

  • Do you have tips & best practices for what is working really well with your group?

  • Would you like to participate in a lateral community group?

SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK HERE 

 

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES 


CNS BOOK CLUB'S NEXT READ: CHASING NEW HORIZONS

Thursday, December 3, 4:00 p.m.

The College of Natural Sciences is launching a series of events to help facilitate new friendships and conversations between Longhorns. Modeled after the success of CNS Connect book clubs, there is a new virtual CNS Alumni and Friends Book Club that staff and faculty are invited to join. 

We will be reading Chasing New Horizons by UT Alumnus Alan Stern. The first book club meeting will be hosted via Zoom and will begin with a 30-minute Q&A with Alan Stern followed by smaller group discussions. If you have questions please reach out to Monika Goldschmidt at monika.goldschmidt@austin.utexas.edu.

RSVP HERE →

 

PAST EVENTS & ACTIVITIES 


CNS READS BOOK CLUB DISCUSSIONS

July 6 - 10

Choose from three book options and join others in the CNS community for group discussions the week of July 6. The first 50 participants will receive a free copy. You will receive an email with more details the week preceding discussions. 

THE YEARS THAT MATTER MOST – PAUL TOUGH

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Book 

Author Paul Tough will be joining us for a discussion on his book The Years That Matter Most RECORDING HERE → 

book years that matter most
THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS - REBECCA SKLOOT

A New York Times Bestseller

Book2

THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY -  DOUGLAS ADAMS 

New York Times Bestseller, Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read 

Book3

CNS FAMILIES 

 May 25 - June 5

 

CNS Pets Community Photo Album 

May 25 - June 5

We can’t forget the special members of our families, our pets. We’d love to see photos or videos of your loveable pets. Post photos to Instagram with #CNSpets and check this page for streaming content.

Pets Social

  

UT Lab School Resources for Parents Webinar 

Lara L Pauley, Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences 

Wednesday, May 27, 3:00 p.m.

Parents and caregivers are now balancing work from home, teaching and online learning. In this one-hour webinar UT Assistant Professor Lara Pauley will share helpful resources from the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child & Family Lab regarding family, learning at home, and life with children.

 WEBINAR RECORDING HERE → 

 

Maintaining Household Relationships & Overcoming Conflict in Quarantine Webinar

Marci Gleason, Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

Lisa Neff, Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

Hannah Williamson, Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences 

Tuesday, June 2, 3:00 p.m.

CNS Faculty will discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on family relationships and relationships in transition during this one-hour webinar.

 WEBINAR RECORDING HERE →  

 

Multigenerational Ties during COVID-19 Webinar

Karen Fingerman, Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences and Department of Psychology

Thursday, June 4, 3:00 p.m.

In this one-hour webinar UT Professor Karen Fingerman will discuss the impacts of cohabitating among parents, young adults, and isolation among older adults. 

 WEBINAR RECORDING HERE →  

 


ALL ABOUT FOOD WEEK

May 11 - 15

 

Nutrition & The Immune System Webinar 

Molly Bray, Department Chair, Nutritional Sciences

Chris Jolly, Associate Professor - NTR Graduate Chair, Department of Nutritional Sciences  

Wendnesday, May 13, 3:00 p.m.

WEBINAR RECORDING HERE →  

 

Quarantine Cooking Recipe Share  

As we all shop less and stay at home more, many of us are rethinking our meals and dietary habits. Canned and frozen items are staples now more than ever, and creative substitutions (sometimes with tragic results) are often required.  Some of us may not have dared to step into a kitchen a few short weeks ago and are just beginning our culinary adventures.  Some of us are veteran home chefs who can make magic out of anything on hand.  And some of us are parents facing the demands of many hats and just trying to figure out how to get dinner on the table.  So share your Quarantine Cooking recipes for the enjoyment and nourishment of our CNS Community.

 VIEW RECIPE SHARE HERE → 

 

What We're Cooking Tonight Community Photo Album 

Was dinner tonight a success or perhaps an epic fail? We’d love to see photos of your meals, you and your family in the kitchen, or even the victory garden your tending. Post photos to Instagram with #CNScooks and check this page for streaming content during All About Food Week.  

Cooking Tonight

 


Self-Compassion in the Midst of Covid-19 Webinar

Kristin Neff, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology

UT Associate Professor Kristin Neff is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, being the first one to operationally define and measure the construct over a decade ago. In this one hour webinar, Kristin will explain what self-compassion really means and share skills to practice self-compassion in daily life.

 


HOW TO STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR COMMUNITY

  • Join the Facebook Group for CNS employees
  • Stay on top of COVID-19 updates, which include connection resources and ideas. See All Campus Communications, Messages from the Dean, and the CNS employees wiki for more.
  • Follow college and department news, including in the Point of Discovery podcast and The Texas Scientist magazine
  • Make room for acknowledging and empathizing with colleagues' feelings right now. Don’t ignore your and others’ mood(s). If a virtual partner is feeling down and you’re giddy and goofy, that’s not helpful. Empathy matters. It builds trust and keeps the relationship going, even though the emotional cues are harder to pick up. The shared experience — the synchronization — is what matters. Use face-based virtual interaction when you can. Show support and you’ll get support.
  • UT Shoutouts: Nominate a coworker or team member who has been working on UT campus to keep the university property clean, safe and functioning properly for one of Texas Connect’s daily UT Shoutouts.
  • Keep in touch with coworkers while working remotely.
    • Utilize communication apps and software such as Slack & Zoom.
    • Don’t forget to celebrate personal milestones with your co-workers. These moments would normally be shared in the classroom, office or lab setting and shouldn’t be forgotten in a remote work environment.
    • Host a short birthday celebration or a virtual retirement party.
    • Create an “Office Humor” channel on Slack where you can post those laugh-out-loud moments you come across. Laughter truly is some of the best medicine. (Pro tip: Slack has a great Giphy integration - start a message with /giphy followed by your search term and you can insert the smile-inducing GIF.)
    • Schedule virtual lunch dates or time for “coffee talk” with your colleagues.
    • Implement regularly scheduled but optional Team Watercooler Chat on Zoom: Team members can drop in to take a break and talk about how everyone’s day is going, relevant news, fun facts, or ask a question everyone can answer.
    • Consider a Teams or Zoom Scavenger Hunt: With the goal of helping people become more familiar with the functionality of the system, some managers are creating a game out of finding settings, searching for channels, and posting content. This is a great way to help others learn tools in a low-risk way.  
    • Open or close Zoom meetings with time for team members to touch base with personal updates. All of us need non-task interactions alongside getting work done. If Zoom meetings end early, allow kids to join and add some youthful energy and exuberance. 

 

As we all shop less and stay at home more, many of us are rethinking our meals and dietary habits. Canned and frozen items are staples now more than ever, and creative substitutions (sometimes with tragic results) are often required.  Some of us may not have dared to step into a kitchen a few short weeks ago and are just beginning our culinary adventures.  Some of us are veteran home chefs who can make magic out of anything on hand.  And some of us are parents facing the demands of many hats and just trying to figure out how to get dinner on the table.  So share your Quarantine Cooking recipes for the enjoyment and nourishment of our CNS Community.