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Division of Campus and Community Engagement

Division of Campus and Community Engagement

All-Campus Division Announcement: A Pledge To Serve

Dear UT Community,

Dr. LaToya Smith (March 2023)Earlier this month, President Hartzell updated the campus on Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) implementation. I want to echo his sentiments and share some important news. Starting January 1, our Division will be known as the Division of Campus and Community Engagement to better reflect our work’s new scope, nature, and reach. Our name emphasizes that we are here to serve all Longhorns and all Texans as we deepen and broaden the ways that our University facilitates engagement on campus and across a wide range of communities.

This focus on engagement will ultimately increase our impact while leveraging the strengths of the University. While we continue the work to adjust programming to meet SB 17’s requirements and reflect this change in our focus, it is important to reiterate what will not change: our Division’s commitment to fostering access and belonging.

The Division will lead the University’s strategy for enabling more students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to access and engage with this incredible University while fostering a sense of belonging for all. We do that by creating unique gateways, connections and communities at every stage of the education pipeline, from PreK through PhD.

We seek to connect with those across our city and state who may not otherwise have a relationship with the University to ensure the flagship impacts all of Texas. We are here to serve our community, connect our campus and continually reimagine how our campus, city and state can engage with the University.

Campus Engagement

I am especially proud of how we engage our distinctive and diverse campus with our centers, support services, programs and events. We recently launched the Disability Cultural Center, the first of its kind in Texas, to recognize and support people with disabilities as an integral part of the campus community. This is one of many relevant centers and programs that impact students, faculty and staff on campus.

Our Division is also at the heart of the University’s service-learning and volunteer projects, connecting the entire University and the greater Austin community to leverage world-class resources for the public good. And we are leading the charge in collaborating with campus partners to ensure our growing cohort of first-generation Longhorns has the guidance and support they need to navigate college and feel at home on campus. Our work is vital to the University’s goal to “change the world.”

Community Engagement

Our impact doesn’t stop at the boundaries of campus. We engage with communities all across Texas. UT Elementary School prepares little Longhorns in East Austin by drawing upon the intellectual resources available at the University to provide scientifically-based research and best teaching practices. The University Interscholastic League oversees athletic, academic, music and other extracurricular activities in over 1,500 communities across the state.

In addition, the President has charged the Division with reimagining Explore UT to better engage students and families to increase ease and access while exploring all the opportunities that UT Austin provides, from education to entertainment.

These are just a few of the programs within the Division. Learn more at community.utexas.edu.

A Pledge to Serve

The Division of Campus and Community Engagement dedicates itself to building communities as a vital element of the President’s plan to become the world’s highest-impact public research University. This plan depends on attracting and recruiting the most talented people and creating a culture where they thrive and excel. We commit ourselves to supporting the whole person, nurturing small communities, improving social mobility and serving the world.

With its depth, breadth and extraordinary expertise, the Division of Campus and Community Engagement will continue to distinguish UT Austin as uniquely capable of meeting the demands of a rapidly changing campus, state and world. We are here for all.

Sincerely yours,

Latoya smith signature

Dr. LaToya Smith
Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy