Educating for Citizenship: The Texas Case Study

John D. Sailer

July 06, 2022

Texas stands out for its robust civics education requirements, especially in higher education. The state has long required students to take a total of four courses covering American history and government.1 States such as Arizona and Utah, which we examined in previous case studies, only require one such course. Thus, Texas serves as a model for the other 49 states of the best existing practices in postsecondary American history and civics requirements.

In this study, we examine the civics education offered in Texas, looking first at the American history and government requirements at the state’s top public universities. We have selected Texas’s six public universities that rank highest in the U.S. News and World Report 2022 rankings: The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), Texas Tech University, The University of Houston, and Sam Houston State University.2

We find that Texas’s civics and history requirements have not been uniformly enforced. Some universities, especially those that are more highly ranked such as UT Austin and UT Dallas, take advantage of loopholes to undermine legislative intent. A student at UT Austin, for example, can fulfill the American history requirement by taking HIS 340S The Chinese in the United States and HIS 356R America and the Holocaust. While these courses examine topics that are worthy of study, they fall short of what the requirement was intended to provide: a survey of American history.

Overall, however, Texas offers a commendable model, one that other states should seek to emulate with only a few alterations. The sheer thoroughness of the requirement means that students cannot help but learn substantial amounts about America’s history and government, even when the universities try to avoid fulfilling their statutory requirements.

But the general education requirements are only one part of the civics education offered at these institutions. As in Arizona and Utah, Texas’s universities increasingly provide civics education through their “co-curriculum,” by means of initiatives conducted under the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) umbrella. The second part of this report examines the rise of DEI measures in these six Texas universities and shows how such measures have subjected Texas’s higher education to bureaucratic growth and an increasing volume of explicitly politicized curricular and “co-curricular” content. A close examination of UT Austin, for example, illustrates how DEI functions as an alternative civics education, one that provides both a vision of American history and a set of civic virtues. In their most well-developed form, DEI measures offer a vision of American history that is defined almost exclusively by identity-based oppression. Unfortunately, throughout Texas’s universities, DEI bureaucracy grows, and with it grows an anti-civics education.

Part 1: The Texas Model

Broader Context

In our previous case studies, we examined the state of higher education civics requirements in Arizona and Utah. Both states mandate that public universities must cover “American Institutions” in their general education curricula. The execution of these mandates, however, demonstrates significant shortcomings.

In 2021, the Arizona Board of Regents established an “American Institutions” requirement which, at least according to the letter of the rule, should be robust. The policy requires that students study, among other things, “the basic principles of American constitutional democracy and how they are applied under a republican form of government,” “the United States Constitution and major American constitutional debates and developments,” “the essential founding documents and how they have shaped the nature and functions of American Institutions of self governance,” and “landmark Supreme Court cases that have shaped law and society.”3 Arizona’s public universities, however, have failed to sufficiently enforce this requirement.

Utah, meanwhile, also mandates that universities maintain an “American Institutions” requirement. Utah state law requires every public university student to study American history and government. As a result, many of Utah’s students are at least introduced to a conventional civics education. But this requirement consists of only one course, and some universities create loopholes to avoid fulfilling the intent of the law.4

Thus, our first two case studies demonstrate that a civics education cannot be taken for granted—even in states that formally mandate such an education. If a state wants to ensure that its college students engage deeply with American history and the principles of American government, they must craft strong requirements that mandate robust study of the subjects and minimize loopholes. This constitutes an important preface to our Texas study. Through our survey of Texas institutions, we find many strengths in the Texas Model.

This case study also continues the work of Recasting History, a report by the National Association of Scholars published in 2013.5 Recasting History examined the American history requirements at UT Austin and Texas A&M, including the assigned readings for each course, ultimately finding that “these institutions frequently offered students a less-than-comprehensive picture of U.S. history.” Those findings are reflected in this study. Although the Texas Model is commendable, it still requires revisions to ensure a truly robust history.

Texas State Requirements

Texas stands out for its robust American history and government requirements. In previous case studies, we have shown that the nearby states of Utah and Arizona have single-course “American Institutions” requirements. In Arizona, those requirements are minimally enforced, making it likely that most students in the state will learn about American history and government in fragments through other courses, not through a dedicated course requirement.

Texas shows a longstanding commitment to the teaching of American history and government in higher education. Texas Administrative Code mandates that students take a total of 12 semester credit hours in American history and government. The Government/Political Science requirement was first adopted in 1926 and specifies that such courses must focus on state constitutions, emphasizing Texas, and the American Constitution.6

Texas Administrative Code, Government/Political Science Requirement

(i) Courses in this category focus on consideration of the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the states, with special emphasis on that of Texas.

(ii) Courses involve the analysis of governmental institutions, political behavior, civic engagement, and their political and philosophical foundations.

(iii) The following four Core Objectives must be addressed in each course approved to fulfill this category requirement: Critical Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, Personal7

The American history requirement, first adopted in 1955, is less specific in its content.8 The requirement, nevertheless, ensures that students in Texas’s public universities will engage deeply with themes in American history.

Texas Administrative Code, American History Requirement

(i) Courses in this category focus on the consideration of past events and ideas relative to the United States, with the option of including Texas History for a portion of this component area.

(ii) Courses involve the interaction among individuals, communities, states, the nation, and the world, considering how these interactions have contributed to the development of the United States and its global role.

(iii) The following four Core Objectives must be addressed in each course approved to fulfill this category requirement: Critical Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, Personal Responsibility, and Social Responsibility.9

Even if universities offer some courses in this category that function as loopholes, such a robust requirement effectively ensures that students will be introduced to American history and government. We will refer to this as the “Texas Model.” In what follows, we examine how Texas’s six highest-ranking public universities comply with the Texas Model.

The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) requires students to take six credit hours in United States history, three of which can focus on the history of Texas. It requires an additional six credit hours in American and Texas government. The university offers only a few courses to satisfy the latter requirement, namely GOV 310L American Government, GOV 306C Politics and Government in Contemporary Texas, GOV 312L Issues and Policies in American Government, and GOV 312P Constitutional Principles: Core Texts.10

The university offers 30 courses that can satisfy the American history requirement.

UT Austin, United States History Courses

AFR 320C Power and Place: Making Texas History

HIS 314K History of Mexican Americans in the United States

HIS 315G Introduction to American Studies

HIS 315K The United States, 1492-1865

HIS 315L The United States since 1865

HIS 317L Topics in United States History

HIS 320E Texas before 1900

HIS 320F Texas, 1900 to the Present

HIS 333L United States Foreign Relations, 1776-1914

HIS 333M United States Foreign Relations, 1914 to the Present

HIS 334L The American Revolution and the Founding of the United States, 1763-1800

HIS 340S The Chinese in the United States

HIS 345J The Coming of the Civil War, 1829-1861

HIS 345L The American Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

HIS 350R Undergraduate Seminar in United States History

HIS 351P History of Religion in America since 1800

HIS 355F The United States, 1877-1920

HIS 355M The United States, 1920-1941

HIS 355N Main Currents of American Culture to 1865

HIS 355P The United States since 1941

HIS 355S United States Constitutional History

HIS 356G History of the United States West

HIS 356K Main Currents of American Culture since 1865

HIS 356P The United States in the Civil Rights Era

HIS 356R America and the Holocaust

HIS 356S American Presidency: 1789 to the Present

HIS 357C African American History to 1860

HIS 357D African American History since 1860

HIS 365G Topics in United States History

HIS 376F The United States and the Second World War

Ultimately, the American history and government requirements at UT Austin are robust. They ensure that students will engage with important themes in American history and government with enough time to delve deeply into such topics.

That said, the university’s expansive course offerings in the American history category weakens the requirement. A student can satisfy the requirement by taking such combinations as HIS 340S The Chinese in the United States and HIS 356R America and the Holocaust; HIS 314K History of Mexican Americans in the United States and HIS 351P History of Religion in America since 1800; or HIS 355N Main Currents of American Culture to 1865 and HIS 356G History of the United States West. These courses cover valuable content. They do not, however, provide a general overview of American history, and as a result, they enable students to bypass the intent of the requirement.

Thus, UT Austin offers policymakers a simple lesson: if they want students to receive a general survey of American history, they should craft their requirements more specifically, to ensure that students learn the basics of American history before they delve into special topics on the subject.

Texas A&M University

In its history and government requirements, Texas A&M resembles UT Austin—limited options to fulfill the government requirement, but extensive options to fulfill the American history requirement. All Texas A&M students must take the same two government courses, POLS 206 American National Government and POLS 207 State and Local Government.11 To fulfill the American history requirement, however, they can choose two of ten courses:

Course

Description

HIST 105 History of the United States

History of the United States. Colonial heritage; Revolution; adoption of Constitution; growth of nationalism and sectionalism; Civil War; Reconstruction … 12

HIST 106 History of the United States

History of the United States. Since reconstruction; new social and industrial problems; rise of progressivism; U.S. emergence as a world power; World War I; reaction and New Deal; World War II; contemporary America … 13

HIST 225 Revolutionary America

History of the American Revolution; cultural conflict and diversity; loyalists; the conflict as a civil war; ideological clashes; British perspectives; African slave experiences; American Indian experiences; home front; social diversity of American forces; global consequences; the ongoing struggle to fulfill the revolution’s promises.14

HIST 226 History of Texas

History of Texas from Spanish period to present day. Stress placed upon period of Anglo-American settlement, revolution, republic and development of modern state … 15

HIST 230 American Military History, 1609 to Present

Main events, personalities and technologies related to American military history … 16

HIST 232 History of American Sea Power

Development of American sea power from the 18th century to the present … 17

HIST 258 American Indian History

Survey of American Indian history; Pre-Columbian, First Contact, Colonial Conquest, Differentiation between cultural groups; Reservation period, twentieth-century self-determination, and Pan-Indianism … 18

HIST 300/AFST 300 Blacks in the United States, 1607-1877

Blacks in the United States from the colonial period to 1877; the slave trade, slavery, free blacks and the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on blacks.19

HIST 301/AFST 301 Blacks in the United States Since 1877

Blacks in the United States from the end of Reconstruction to the present; the ideologies of black leaders, disfranchisement, lynching and the quest for equality in the 1950s and 1960s.20

HIST 304 Southwest Borderlands

Origins and development of Indigenous, Spanish, and Mexican history of Greater Southwest; exploration and conquest; Spanish entradas into Southwest; rise of institutions and colonial society; economic history; examination of social and cultural relations including gender; Mexican independence; Mexico's far northern frontier, 1821-1848.21

Again, Texas A&M crowds out American history survey courses by offering multiple courses focused on narrower topics.

The University of Texas at Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) fulfills the state’s history and government requirements by mandating six credit hours of American history and six credit hours of government with a focus on “the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the states, with special emphasis on that of Texas.”22

As with UT Austin, UT Dallas offers only a few courses to satisfy the government requirement, GOVT 2107 Federal and Texas Constitutions, GOVT 2305 American National Government, and GOVT 2306 State and Local Government.23 With limited options, students have little room to deviate from the intent of the requirement. Concretely, this means that UT Dallas students will almost certainly study the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution.

The university’s American history courses are more numerous: HIST 1301 U.S. History Survey to Civil War, HIST 1302 U.S. History Survey from Civil War, HIST 2301 History of Texas, HIST 2330 Themes and Ideas in American History, HIST 2381 African-American History, and HIST 2384 U.S. Women from Settlement to Present.24 Through the university’s course search tool, we have collected the descriptions of each:

Course

Description

HIST 1301 U.S. History Survey to Civil War

An introduction to the methods of historical inquiry focusing on the study of American history from the beginnings through the American Civil War.25

HIST 1302 U.S. History Survey from Civil War

An introduction to the methods of historical inquiry focusing on the study of American history from the American Civil War through the present.26

HIST 2301 History of Texas

The political, social, economic, and cultural development of Texas.27

HIST 2330 Themes and Ideas in American History

An introduction to the methods of historical inquiry through the study of selected major themes in American history. A course designed to offer students an understanding of the historical and cultural context of America in the contemporary world. Topics may vary.28

HIST 2381 African-American History

An examination of the history of African Americans in the United States from the sixteenth-century transatlantic slave trade through the present. Prominent themes will include early settlement patterns, origins of slavery and racism, Emancipation and Reconstruction the Jim Crow South, black life in the urban North, and the development of the modern Civil Rights Movement and its aftermath.29

HIST 2384 U.S.Women from Settlement to Present

A survey of the changing social, political, and economic roles of American women. Particular attention will be paid to the diversity of women's roles, focusing on how women of different races, classes, and sexualities interpreted their "American experience."30

The topics course, HIST 2330 Themes and Ideas in American History, can cover various themes, including, for example, the “History of American Technology.”

Again, these courses make it possible for students to bypass the intent of the American history requirement. While some students might take the two-part survey in American history, others will instead choose courses that focus on particular topics within American history, such as HIST 2381 African-American History, HIST 2384 U.S. Women from Settlement to Present, or HIST 2330 Themes and Ideas in American History. These courses cover topics that are worthy of study, but they fail to provide a comprehensive survey of American history. These courses thus provide the same cautionary tale as those at UT Austin and Texas A&M. Any policy requirement designed to ensure an overview of American history must use explicit language to guarantee this result.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University does not follow the crowding-out trend. For both of its civics education requirements, it only offers survey courses. To fulfill the American history requirement, students can choose two of the following three courses: HIST 2300 History of the US to 1877, HIST 2301 History of the US Since 1877, and HIST 2310 History of Texas.31 To fulfill the government requirement, students must take POLS 1301 American Government and POLS 2306 Texas Politics & Topics.32

The university, furthermore, clarifies the intent of both requirements, providing “competency statements” and “learning outcomes,” which explain the skills and expertise that the university expects of its graduates. We list these below:

Requirement

Competency Statement

Learning Outcome

American History

Students graduating from Texas Tech University should demonstrate an understanding of the historical origins of the United States and be able to identify and describe the importance of key individuals and events in United States and/or Texas history.33

Identify and explain the origins and evolution of the political systems and political cultures that have shaped the United States and Texas

Identify and analyze the various social and cultural factors that have shaped the daily experiences of people living in the U.S. and Texas

Develop and demonstrate analytical arguments in written and/or oral forms, related to American and Texas history.34

Government/Political Science

Students graduating from Texas Tech University should demonstrate an understanding of the organization and functions of the different levels of government in the United States, be able to explain the importance of the United States Constitution and those of the states, and be able to comment on the role of civic engagement in United States politics and culture.35

Demonstrate knowledge of the origins and evolution of U.S. and Texas political systems.36

Texas Tech stands out as the best example of the Texas Model, offering a narrow selection of robust courses that cannot be avoided by way of loopholes.

The University of Houston

The University of Houston is far more faithful to legislative intent in its requirements than UT Austin, UT Dallas, and Texas A&M—but it still includes one course that is not a general survey of American history.

The University of Houston allows students to meet the American history requirement by taking two of the following courses, though only one of the Texas history courses: ​HIST 1376 The United States To 1877, HIST 1379 The United States Since 1877, HIST 2348 U.S. Latino/a Histories, HIST 2301 Texas History to 1865, and HIST 2302 Texas Since 1865. The university, likewise, allows students to meet the government requirement through taking two of the following four courses: GOVT 2305 US Government: Congress, President, & Courts, GOVT 2306 US and Texas Constitution and Politics, POLS 1107 Texas Constitution and Government, and POLS 2336 U.S. and Texas Constitutions, Politics, and Institutions.37

Regardless, students at the University of Houston will undertake a robust course of study in American history and government.

Sam Houston State University

Of all the universities we surveyed, Sam Houston State University’s requirements stand out as the simplest. For its American history courses, it offers HIST 1301 United States History to 1876 and HIST 1302 United States History Since 1876; for its government courses, it offers POLS 2305 American Government and POLS 2306 Texas Government.38 Thus, all students at Sam Houston State University will take the same courses to satisfy the history and government requirements, and these courses reflect the apparent intent of such requirements.

Conclusion: The Texas Model

Ultimately, Texas provides policymakers across the country with a template for a strong higher education civics policy. The Texas Model makes it virtually impossible for students to avoid studying American history and government—and with modifications, the few loopholes that the law enables can be closed. The state should act to close these loopholes. Other states should adopt the Texas Model.

The Texas Model, however, will be worth little if it is overshadowed. In our previous case studies, we show that diversity, equity, and inclusion measures have come to stand in for civics education in Arizona and Utah. Texas is no different, and in the following section, we explore the rise of an anti-civics education under the auspices of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Part 2: DEI as a New Civics Education

We have shown that Texas has long maintained strong, albeit imperfectly executed, standards for civics in higher education. Other states ought to look to Texas as a model for mandating a basic but robust series of college courses in American history and government.

The Texas Model, nevertheless, risks being overshadowed by an alternative civics education, provided within the university indirectly under the auspices of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In our previous civics case studies, we explored how growing DEI bureaucracies advocate for a discrete vision of political life and civic duty, disseminating this vision through course requirements, mandatory training sessions, research incentives, and performance evaluations. At many universities, the concept of DEI itself has become shorthand for the civic mission of higher education.

This DEI bureaucracy is on the rise throughout Texas’s public universities. In this section, we explore such measures at Texas’s top public universities. Before we do, we will first explain two common features of DEI bureaucracy: its tendency to espouse a radical civics education and its tendency to grow and entail an ever-widening set of initiatives.

Politicized Content: DEI as a New Civics

“Jewel Mullen is in the business of cathedral-building”—so begins an article on the “health equity” initiative at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School.39 Texas’s flagship state university stands out for its zealous and far-reaching DEI policies. The Dell Medical School provides just one example of UT Austin’s DEI revolution, but it is telling. “The work,” the article continues, “is rooted in aspiration and takes years to complete. It’s collaborative, arduous, vast in scope. The result is built to last and breathtaking in its grandeur, says Mullen, M.D., MPH, MPA.”40

In practice, the most exhaustive DEI efforts offer a coherent and often radical vision of American life, one defined by privilege, oppression, intersectionality, microaggression, and the quest for social justice. It constitutes, in other words, a new sort of civics education, complete with a history of American civic life and a set of duties for responsible citizens. In another article, Dr. Mullen recommends How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo as essential reading for those who wish to understand “health equity.”41 Both books declare the omnipresence of racism in America and call for the effective reordering of society.42

The Dell Medical School embeds this political vision into its institutional policy, most obviously through a “Health Equity” core competency. The school’s core competencies, which apply to its undergraduate medical education, comprise a set of “knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes” expected of all graduating students. We list a selection of these competencies below.

UT Austin Dell Medical School, Core Competencies, Health Equity

Demonstrate an understanding of the root causes of health inequities including how the socialization of dominant cultural norms, beliefs and values and application of public policy create these health inequities among defined populations.

Describe the structures of oppression such as racism and sexism that perpetuate biased biomedical assumptions and influence differential provider treatment among diverse populations.

Examine how the intersectionality of one’s own multiple identities such as race, ethnicity, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, culture, socioeconomic status, geographic location and immigration status influence one’s thoughts and actions.

Intervene to end or pre-empt practice barriers such as lack of access to language interpretation services to support others experiencing barriers to equitable care including identity-based discrimination, bias and microaggressions.

Advocate for inclusive interpersonal, institutional and societal practices and procedures through application of understanding the role intersectional identity plays in health inequities.43

Each of these call on students to embrace the values, dispositions, and language of social justice advocates. They compel students to embrace highly questionable political positions, including the assertion that the “socialization of dominant cultural norms, beliefs and values” creates “health inequities,” or that the “intersectionality of one’s own multiple identities” constitutes a salient influence on “one’s thoughts and actions.” They embed the watchwords of identity politics (“structures of oppression” and “microaggression”) into curriculum standards. As such, they give an extra tool to activists seeking to enforce their preferred orthodoxy on campus.

The Dell Medical School illustrates the way that DEI initiatives can espouse a vision of American history, politics, and political engagement. Thus, our examination of civics education would be incomplete without a discussion of the growing DEI apparatus at Texas’s universities. While some DEI measures remain politically neutral, many take the form of a pseudo-civics education, employing the tropes of identity politics to offer a definitive characterization of American life.

Growing Institutional Bureaucracy

The goal of DEI programming is a total reordering of every aspect of higher education policy. In practice, many offices of diversity and inclusion fail to achieve this ambitious goal, establishing significant but not all-encompassing policies. Other institutions, meanwhile, have effected what could be called a DEI revolution, whereby policies created in the name of “diversity” and “equity” govern teaching, research, admissions, promotion, hiring, and institutional mission.44 This reflects a model established by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), the “preeminent voice” for those in the higher education DEI profession.45 NADOHE has established various guidelines for diversity administrators, all of which are exhaustive in scope. These far-reaching measures illustrate the ultimate aim of DEI measures—to dictate the civic mission of an institution.

This tendency toward growth makes even small DEI initiatives relevant to our study of civics. If DEI bureaucracy is designed to grow, DEI programming in its nascent form portends more exhaustive measures later. Without a limiting principle, small university offices and initiatives will aim to become more comprehensive, and as they do, they will exert more direct influence over the content of the curriculum and co-curriculum alike. Indeed, exerting influence on education is an explicit goal of NADOHE.

A chief diversity officer, according to NADOHE, should play a significant role in shaping the university’s institutional mission, curriculum, pedagogy, hiring practices, and scholarship. In March 2020, the organization published its Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education 2.0. We list a few standards below:

Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education 2.0, Selected Standards

Chief diversity officers work to ensure that elements of equity, diversity, and inclusion are embedded as imperatives in the institutional mission, vision, and strategic plan.

Chief diversity officers are committed to planning, catalyzing, facilitating, and evaluating processes of institutional and organizational change.

Chief diversity officers work with faculty, staff, students, and appropriate institutional governance structures to promote inclusive excellence in teaching and learning across the curriculum and within cocurricular programming.

Chief diversity officers work within a community of scholars to advocate for inclusive excellence in research, creativity, and scholarship in all fields as fundamental to the mission-driven work of the institution.46

In other words, the Standards call for DEI policies at the highest level of university administration (“embedded as imperatives in the institutional mission, vision, and strategic plan”), along with policies that should dictate both teaching (“inclusive excellence in teaching and learning across the curriculum and within cocurricular programming”) and research (“inclusive excellence in research, creativity, and scholarship in all fields as fundamental to the mission-driven work of the institution”).

In 2021, NADOHE published another set of guidelines: A Framework for Advancing Anti-Racism Strategy on Campus.47 Like its standards for chief diversity officers, NADOHE’s framework is exhaustive and ambitious—but it goes even further. The framework identifies ten “priority areas” for institutional transformation. We list these below.

Priority Area

Purpose

Institutional Structure

To create equitable systems by identifying and eliminating structural barriers within the higher education organization that prevent access to education.

Policies and Procedures

To replace structural and systemic policies and practices that impede the success of BIPOC and historically marginalized groups with anti-racism policies and practices.

Resource Allocation

To require the institution to audit its allocation of resources with an equity lens to fund diversity equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts appropriately and ensure that the overall spend is in alignment with anti-racism practices.

Academic Equity and Student Success

To create equitable systems that promote academic equity and student success for BIPOC students inside and outside of the classroom in any higher education organization.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

To ensure curriculum and pedagogy are used to design the classroom experience for academic equity.

Hiring, Retention, and Promotion

To implement safeguards within institutions of higher education that promote equitable processes and to eliminate racist practices in hiring, retention, and promotion decisions.

Institutional Programming

To provide essential knowledge and the necessary tools to act towards repairing historical wrongdoings along with restoring autonomy based on pride, territoriality, self-determination, and self-defense.

Education/Training/Employee Development

To provide anti-racism training and professional development opportunities to the students, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

Campus Climate/Culture

To gauge the institution’s racialized temperature to illuminate and address inequitable conditions (policies and practices relating to both institutional and interpersonal interactions) that affect the well-being of all members of the campus community, including BIPOC students, staff, and faculty.

Admissions and Access

To use anti-racism strategies to increase admission and access of BIPOC students to institutions of higher education.

The framework provides recommendations under each priority, many of which would entrench DEI as policy within a given institution, enforce conformity to the reigning understanding of “diversity” and “equity,” and ensure that curriculum would be constantly updated. One recommendation would embed the concept of “anti-racism” in curricula: “Provide training and professional development to ensure faculty can review curricula, pedagogical practices, and the methodologies used to assess learning with an anti-racism lens.”48 Another would establish a commitment to DEI as a litmus test for an employee’s good standing: “Accountability should be written into executive, manager, and tenure evaluations with stated goals, and with rewards and accountability if DEI goals are not met.”49

The framework also offers an explicitly politicized version of anti-racism, one which deems all organizational structures as racist. This is nothing short of a radical call to action: all systems must be constantly overturned and disrupted.

Dismantling systems that maintain exclusion requires an understanding that everything we do in an organization is part of a flow of interacting activities that work together to maintain systems of privilege and preserve the status quo, often in ways that we do not realize. “To be antiracist is to actively work to change racist structures and systems” (Kendi, 2019).50

It is telling but predictable that the framework would draw from Ibram Kendi, the standard bearer for contemporary “anti-racism.” Kendi advocates a radical interpretation of American life, along with a radical solution, grounded in far-reaching race-conscious policies. But as we have already shown, this politicized, radical vision for American life is a common feature of DEI programming.

Texas Institutions

DEI bureaucracy tends to grow. Higher education DEI officers who follow the guidance of NADOHE, the largest organization devoted to their profession, will seek to expand the scope of their work. These initiatives, moreover, veer toward a coherent and often radical vision of civic life, providing the impetus for a new civics education.

In what follows, we examine the DEI policies in Texas’s universities. We devote particular attention to developments at UT Austin, where DEI policies are the most far-reaching. As Texas’s flagship university, UT Austin’s DEI bureaucracy is a sign of things to come elsewhere. Ultimately, this development demonstrates a need for limiting principles, a way to curtail the unchecked growth of DEI bureaucracy. Otherwise, the Texas Model will be rendered moot.

UT Austin

The extensive DEI measures at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School—which, as we have shown above, are both far-reaching and politicized—are representative of the general push for DEI at UT Austin. The university has implemented dozens of DEI measures, most notably through its “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity.”51 Following the university’s lead, schools and colleges within UT Austin make similar efforts. As a result, UT Austin mandates multiple layers of DEI policies which influence teaching, research, admissions, hiring, and faculty evaluation.

University-Wide Commitments

The Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity stands out as the most obvious and far-reaching attempt to write DEI into UT Austin’s institutional policy. The plan reflects NADOHE’s thoroughness, leaving no feature of faculty life untouched. Below, we list and discuss a few of these measures. Perhaps most significantly, the plan establishes a commitment to DEI as a de facto job requirement for faculty.

Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, Evaluation Measures

Establish and implement procedural norms and policies that represent best practices for faculty hiring at the university and enhance institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this manner, we will strengthen regular faculty hiring processes by increasing the yields of diverse faculty through refinements in our hiring processes. Our goal at the end of the four-year plan is for all faculty searches to comply with these policies.

CSs [colleges and schools] will include applicant experience or demonstrated skill in promoting or achieving diversity, equity, and inclusivity in teaching, service, or research, as a desired skill set.

This skill or experience with diversity, equity, and inclusivity work will be stipulated in each job posting as a desired characteristic.

Each CS will develop mechanisms for evaluating faculty contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion in their units for considerations of merit and promotion.

Develop workshops and other resources for training in writing about and evaluating contributions to diversity.52

These measures create obvious incentives for faculty to focus on work related to the mainstream understanding of “diversity, equity, and inclusivity,” encouraging them to downplay views or work that might run afoul of that prevailing conception. As such, it can create an immense silencing pressure, while also pushing faculty members to produce shoddy research and teaching.

The plan also calls for recruitment on the basis of DEI credentials.

Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, Recruitment Measures

Develop and fund a Provost’s Early Career Faculty Recruitment Fellows Program (Provost’s Fellows) to support the recruitment of excellent faculty members who can contribute to diversity at UT Austin through their teaching, service, or research. The goal of the program is to increase the number of faculty with diversity-related skills and interests by identifying early promise and investing in career development and professional growth.

Create a robust and sustainable postdoc program that brings an additional 10 or more junior scholars to campus each year who are interested in developing within their field and also in contributing to work on diversity and inclusion.

Implement centrally-funded special faculty hiring programs with diversity-related skills as a principal or important criterion. Merely belonging to a particular racial group or having some other immutable characteristic does not qualify as a diversity-related skill.

Invest $3 million over four years to supporting recruitment and hiring of faculty whose qualifications allow them to contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion.53

In practice, these recruitment efforts will likely have the same effect as the evaluation efforts—namely, establishing a de facto requirement, while encouraging a heavy emphasis on scholarship and teaching that falls under the narrow categories of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The plan also calls for extensive growth in DEI personnel.

Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, Administrative Growth Measures

Create a diversity officer position in the dean’s office of each CS responsible for faculty diversity. This position will be responsible for the coordination of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track faculty in each CS.

Larger CSs should consider appointing two diversity officers, one for faculty and staff diversity and the other for student diversity.

Create a support mechanism for small CS participation in diversity officer initiative.

The Provost’s Office will regularly convene diversity officer meetings. Diversity officers are expected to participate.54

More diversity officers will ensure the implementation of the entire faculty DEI plan, as well as any college-level diversity initiatives. These officers also have a natural incentive to create and enforce new measures, as the NADOHE Standards and Framework so forcefully illustrate. Increasing the number of diversity personnel also creates a contingent within the university with a vested interest in the continuance of the DEI bureaucracy, which guarantees their continued employment. Thus, like many other measures in the faculty DEI plan, the diversity officer mandate incentivizes the expansion of the DEI bureaucracy over time.

The plan, moreover, calls for mandatory training sessions for all faculty members.

Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, Training Measures

Design and implement resources and training for all tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track faculty members on inclusive student interactions. This process has already begun with the formation of the UT Access, Equity, and Inclusion Institute, a three- ear (2019-2022) pilot collaboration between the Vice Provost for Diversity unit and the LGBTQ Studies Program that seeks to improve faculty practices that lead to enhanced access, equity, and inclusion with regard to students.

The Vice Provost for Diversity unit, through the UT Access, Equity, and Inclusion Institute Form, will inventory, develop, and implement resources that seek to improve and put in place policies and practices that enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and climate in faculty-faculty and faculty- administration relations.55

These sessions are unlikely to change minds. They function, instead, as one more tool to enforce conformity to a narrow orthodoxy and ensure that faculty will teach the same set of ideas.

College-Level Commitments

UT Austin’s Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity is only one of many university-wide efforts to embed DEI in the institution’s policy. The university lists various initiatives on its DEI webpage, including a “University Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan,” which was adopted in 2017.56 Across the university, meanwhile, colleges and schools implement their own DEI measures.

College/School

Selected Initiatives or Commitments

Cockrell School of Engineering57

Develop and deliver programming around monthly DEI focus topics for the entire Cockrell School (students, faculty, and staff).

Create and implement a strategy to broaden the delivery and impact of focused DEI-related workshops (including Bias Busters and leadership workshops).

Develop strategies and policies to value/recognize DEI efforts and “invisible service.”

College of Education58

The College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin is committed to a culture of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in which students, faculty, staff, and visitors engage in an environment that is welcoming and respectful of all people. The Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee serves as a steward of this facet of the college’s mission.

College of Fine Arts59

All departments have established internal working groups, intersecting with the Fine Arts Diversity Council, to review and establish guidelines and principles for diversity and inclusion within core academic curriculum and creative programming.

College of Natural Sciences60

Initiated multiple efforts to attract, recruit, and employ a diverse faculty and/or faculty who demonstrate past or potential contributions to DEI within their research, teaching and/or service.61

Develop undergraduate course modules (from standalone class to case studies and resources for use in existing courses, across disciplines) that help instructors discuss histories of inequities within science.62

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.63

LBJ School64

Integrated a robust DEI module into the fall new student orientation

Created a core policy development course that includes a DEI-focused module. It will launch in fall 2021 and will be required for all MPAff students

Launched a yearlong holistic review of the MGPS program that will build recommendations on curriculum reform

McCombs School of Business65

Develop strategies and policies to value and recognize DEI service by faculty and staff.

Develop and deliver programming around quarterly DEI focus topics for the entire McCombs School (students, faculty, and staff).

Commit to continuous improvement in McCombs School DEI efforts to update the DEI plan periodically.

School of Information66

[DEI committee charges]

Mandatory training in anti-racist pedagogy and cultural competency for all TAs and faculty. The D&I committee will work with other units at UT to identify training resources and host iSchool training session(s) focusing on more inclusive classroom strategies.

Investigation of racial climate in grad programs/department. The D&I committee will survey and review other data as appropriate, summarize what they find, and present the findings to the General Assembly (all faculty, staff, and researchers) with recommendations for action by the beginning of Spring 2021.

Increase awareness of systemic racism and ways to engage in dismantling it. The D&I committee holds events regularly and will seek additional opportunities to host events and speakers in the areas of anti-racism and information studies, either in-person or remotely.

College of Pharmacy67

[DEI committee objectives]

To promote education and training opportunities as well as college activities for faculty, staff and students in support of creating an inclusive working and learning environment.

To facilitate the incorporation of content and learning strategies throughout the entire curriculum to strengthen students’ cultural competency.

School of Nursing68

The Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report outlines recommendations in “Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.” To transform nursing education, we must “cultivate inclusive learning environments that acknowledge and challenge racism in all aspects of nursing education and practice.” To that end there are ongoing efforts within the School of Nursing to engage in dialogue about race, racism, and the resulting racial inequities through events hosted by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

UT Austin administrators have also prevented real attempts to create ideological diversity on campus. In 2021, a small group of faculty members attempted to establish an independent academic unit, the Liberty Institute, designed to allow for “the study of the fundamentals of how free societies function, as well as the relationship between freedom and human flourishing.”69 The original plan for this center would have entailed independence from other academic departments—and the plan gained the support of the Texas legislature. Ultimately, however, the UT Austin administration thwarted the original intent of the plan, removing the institute's independence.

In the following section we provide a more brief overview of DEI initiatives at the other institutions we surveyed. While these initiatives are not as far-reaching as those at UT Austin, they have a model in Texas’s flagship university.

Texas A&M University

The Texas A&M University Office for Diversity provides a glossary, described as “basic definitions as a resource for the campus and community.” The terms that the office deems relevant are telling. They include “Critical Race Feminism (CRF),” “Critical Race Theory,” “Intersectionality,” “LatCrit Theory,” “AsianCrit Theory,” and “Tribal Critical Race Theory,” as well as the terminology of gender self-identification, such as “Gender Expression,” “Gender Identity,” “Gender Pronouns,” and “Cross-dressing.”70 Clearly, a fixation on the narrow categories of demographic identity constitutes an important component of Texas A&M’s diversity initiatives.

At Texas A&M, DEI measures are not as entrenched as they are at UT Austin. Still, such measures figure prominently throughout the university, especially at the college level. This reflects a growing trend in the establishment and enforcement of DEI measures—the creation of DEI policies at the lower levels of academic administration. Ultimately, such dispersed enforcement can have a compounding effect, creating multiple layers of DEI requirements throughout the university.

Below, we list a selection of DEI initiatives within the various schools and colleges of Texas A&M University.

School/College

Initiative/Commitment

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences71

The recent establishment of the position of Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence in the College brings us in line with our peer institutions, who have a similar position in each case.

The College will be asking each department to establish (or continue) a climate committee. The college committee will develop one action item each semester to further our diversity, inclusion, climate, and equity goals.

College of Dentistry72

Establish a college-level Diversity and Inclusion Council to review strategies, initiatives, and recommendations from the IDEA Committee and to report their findings and feedback to the Director of Diversity.

Set strategic and budgetary priorities to demonstrate commitment of the administration to diversity and inclusion.

Engage faculty, staff, and students in regularly recurring cultural competence training initiatives.

Establish a rigorous review process to monitor the climate and progression toward achievement of diversity and inclusion goals.

School of Education and Human Development73

The CEHD Equity and Social Justice Collective has been working to centralize and further expand our existing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in and through the college. The Collective serves as an umbrella under or through which academic departments and program areas, offices and units, centers and labs, groups and committees, and individuals in the college can magnify and continue to do important work to advance climate, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in and through the college.

College of Geosciences74

Develop a suite of training and programming opportunities to support ongoing education and professional development around anti-racism topics (e.g. racism, implicate [sic] bias, cross-cultural knowledge, and microaggressions).

Embed questions related to DEI efforts into faculty and staff annual evaluations.

Build an inventory of efforts that faculty and staff can undertake to address DEI in their respective units

Provide training and support for managers to effectively evaluate and guide employees in these efforts

College of Liberal Arts75

Supporting lectures, performances, workshops, exhibits, and discussions about climate and inclusion

Aggressively pursuing university-level diversity fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students

Promoting diversity training and professional development opportunities for staff, faculty, and students

College of Medicine76

Get a DEI rep in all recruitment committees (including students, staff, and faculty recruitment).

All year round (and revolving) series of student, staff, and faculty development seminars/ workshops on DEI, including the students’ Roundtable.

Organize local, regional, and international seminars /conferences on DEI.

These efforts are consistent with a theme throughout Texas’s top universities—an expansion of the DEI bureaucracy, extensive DEI training and requirements, and the promise of continued action toward the goals of DEI.

UT Dallas

UT Dallas also updated its strategic plan in 2021. The plan’s introduction notes that the year 2020 saw “the greatest movement for social justice of the last 50 years,” and that this event influenced the final version of the plan. The 2021 plan introduced a new theme: “Fostering Diversity and Inclusion.”77 “UT Dallas commits itself,” the plan reads, “to integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into every level of our organization and operations.”78 It lists nine “supporting initiatives.”

UT Dallas, Strategic Plan, Fostering Diversity and Inclusion, Supporting Initiatives

  1. Create an institutional strategy and action plan to identify and achieve DEI goals, including addressing gaps of inclusion by underrepresented and low socioeconomic status.
  2. Track progress toward DEI goals and publish regular updates on the University website.
  3. Develop diversity, equity, and inclusion education programs and strategies led by the Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (formerly the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement) to foster an inclusive campus climate.
  4. Integrate diversity education into the annual compliance education program.
  5. Require anti-bias and diversity and inclusion education for all supervisory personnel and for faculty and staff search committees.
  6. Identify opportunities to expand need-based scholarship programs and tuition support to make a UT Dallas education affordable.
  7. Pursue designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution to join a group of research universities with this distinction.
  8. Identify opportunities to include DEI initiatives in the faculty annual report and review process.
  9. Provide development and retention programs to help all faculty and staff members find success as UT Dallas.79

Many of these initiatives closely follow the model provided by UT Austin and NADOHE: create a diversity action plan, call for more diversity educational programming, and most notably, open the door to make DEI initiatives a feature of faculty evaluation.

The University of Houston

The University of Houston provides a resource page for faculty conversations on diversity. “It is our hope,” the page’s summary notes, “that these resources serve as a place to initiate engagement in the necessary knowledge of race concerns.” Among the resources provided: the books How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped From the Beginning by Kendi, and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, as well as “The Urgency of Intersectionality,” a TED Talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw.80

One goal established in the University of Houston’s strategic plan is “Social Responsibility.” The strategic plan web page clarifies the intent of this goal: “Help Build Equity and Inclusion in Our Community.” The University of Houston’s DEI efforts are not as robust as those at other universities in Texas. It does not have a university-wide diversity plan, and many of its schools and colleges make only oblique reference to their DEI efforts. But as the strategic plan shows, the university aims to put more administrative effort into diversity, equity, and inclusion, laying the groundwork for bureaucratic growth.81

While its efforts are not as extensive as those at other institutions, the University of Houston still pushes for DEI programming at the university level. Its strategic plan lists several methods for advancing diversity and inclusion, such as “Build a coalition of medical and health professionals, health care providers, and students who work with community members to achieve health equity” and “Bolster efforts by our students, staff and faculty to seek social justice and racial equity.”82 It likewise notes that one strategic plan milestone—that is, one goal—of the plan is for the university to be “noted as a model institution for exposing students to diverse ideas and seeking social justice.”83

The university has also established various committees to carry out goals related to social justice, diversity, inclusion, and equity. These include the President’s Social Justice Committee (“Members of the group will draw on their varied expertise and experience to facilitate our understanding of racism, its systemic roots and how to address these issues in a substantive manner”) and the Staff Council DEI Committee.84

At the college level, meanwhile, DEI measures are expanding rapidly. The College of Medicine adopted a “Diversity and Inclusion Policy,” which includes among other measures “departmental diversity efforts including faculty promotions; faculty engagement in diversity and equal opportunity initiatives; yearly campus-wide training module completion; and cultural competency curricular content.”85 The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has its own Staff DEI Committee, designed to “acknowledge racism and its inequities in an effort to dismantle them and to recommend and promote diverse, equitable, and inclusive initiatives.”86

In December 2020, the College of Architecture and Design released a 61-page Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Report.87 The dean of the college prefaced the report by implying that these recommendations were adopted by the college. “We recognize,” the preface notes, “the need for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment and do, heretofore, adopt the recommendations proffered in this document.”88 Those recommendations include: “Integrate a diversity statement into the College Vision Statement,” “Commit to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all College committees, plans, and reports,” “Develop a Curriculum Strategic Plan for the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and “Develop guidelines to recognize and reward faculty in the promotion and tenure process for community-based research and creative work.”89

Thus, while the University of Houston has not established comparatively stringent university-wide DEI policies, the DEI bureaucracy still grows.

Texas Tech

In 2021, a faculty member at Texas Tech University’s Department of Biological Sciences announced on social media four new tenure track positions. “​​We currently have FOUR TT assistant professor openings in Cell Biology, Immunology, Education Research, & Behavioral Endocrinology,” Dr. Lisa Limeri tweeted, continuing: “Our department emphasizes the importance of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in faculty hiring,” encouraging applicants to “see our department motion.”90 She posted two documents, both of which can be found on the department’s website: “Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University” and “Rubric for Evaluation of Diversity Statements from Faculty Candidates.”91

Compared to other universities in Texas, Texas Tech University’s DEI initiatives are less exhaustive. In its 2021 report, the university’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion reported such initiatives as funding for faculty and staff events (“Funded activities include cultural events, speakers, panel discussions, and receptions”), faculty diversity awards (“Every spring, the OID honors recipients of the President’s Excellence in Diversity & Equity Awards”), and a diversity banquet (“The OID hosts the event and features a nationally renown [sic] speaker in order to raise funds for student scholarships, raise the profile of the OID and the DDEI, and emphasize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the community and at Texas Tech”).92 Such programming, as we have shown, likely foreshadows more extensive DEI measures to come, but at the moment, the university-level DEI bureaucracy does not mandate or enforce far-reaching policies. The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion houses the university’s competitive chess program—hardly an instance of bureaucratic overreach.93

The university, nevertheless, shows the same signs of drift toward more expansive and politicized DEI programming; the Department of Biological Sciences’s “Rubric for Evaluation of Diversity Statements from Faculty Candidates” provides a key example. According to the rubric, candidates will receive lower scores if their diversity statements “do not incorporate a track record that is appropriate for the level of the candidate, which includes intersectional actions spanning the needs of minoritized individuals,” if they discuss the topic of diversity “in vague terms, such as ‘diversity is important for science,’” or if they conflate “diversity, equity, and inclusion without distinguishing among them.”94 They will likewise receive higher scores if they provide “clear and detailed ideas for advancing equity and inclusion at Texas Tech and within their field, through their research, teaching, and service. Level of proposed involvement appropriate for career level” or if their “ideas and plans recognize the need to maintain inclusion and pursue equity as necessary precursors to increasing diversity in the department, the field of biological sciences, and the University.”95 In other words, within the Department of Biological Sciences, a commitment to DEI is an explicit job requirement.

Sam Houston State University

The Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice adopted a set of policies titled “DEI Strategic Priorities 2022-2025.” Although they remain vague, these priorities signal a substantive commitment to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. They include “Enhancing faculty, staff, and student experiences by creating equitable recruiting, hiring and support practices to foster an inclusive teaching and learning environment,” “Evaluating student learning to ensure seamless access to inclusive pedagogy and culturally responsive learning opportunities,” and “Transforming the college climate by responding to and learning from community challenges to promote an inclusive environment for all communities served.”96

Such priorities reflect the trend at Sam Houston State University. The university does not have a comprehensive DEI plan, and many of its departments show only tangential interest in DEI programming—but the universities, and various colleges within the university, have moved to establish5

University Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Sam Houston State University is committed to promoting a campus culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. This is accomplished through proactive assessment of policies and operational strategies, as well as program implementation that strives to remove institutional barriers to recruit and retain a diverse university community with intersectional perspectives. Furthermore, the University acknowledges and values our responsibility to cultivate an equitable and inclusive environment where students, faculty, staff, and community recognize the benefits of collaboration and mutual respect through diverse identities and experiences.97

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

In concert with Sam Houston State University’s (SHSU) mission to foster educational excellence and community engagement, as well as with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ (CHSS) mission to foster understanding among human beings in their diversity, the CHSS Diversity and Inclusion Committee is dedicated to facilitating the recruitment, retention, and support of diverse students, faculty, and staff, as well as to broader action towards increasing diversity across our university community.98

College of Education

The SHSU College of Education supports an inclusive learning environment where diverse perspectives are recognized as sources of strength and enrichment. We value human diversity in all its visible and invisible dimensions including: political views and ideologies, learning and physical ability levels, age, socioeconomic status, language, gender, race, gender identities and expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, religious and spiritual beliefs, and other characteristics that have historically marginalized people. We commit to practicing the cultural responsiveness we expect of the educators, scholars, counselors, and leaders we prepare.99

Policy Recommendations

Bolster the civics curriculum.

Mandate survey courses. The Texas Model, which requires all students to take two American history courses and two American government courses, can be bypassed through the inclusion of overly specific courses in those broad categories. Texas policymakers should require all, or at least some, of those courses to be conventional survey courses.

Establish content guidelines. The Texas Model could be made more robust with the inclusion of broad content requirements. In doing so, Texas could borrow language from other requirements. The requirement could, for example, mandate that the courses cover key Supreme Court decisions, basic concepts of American government (including federalism and the separation of powers), important influences on the creation of the American constitution, and essential founding texts.

Champion the Texas Model. Texas’s longstanding commitment to the teaching of civics in higher education is a great asset. Other states ought to emulate Texas, and Texas lawmakers ought to build upon their success—and then highlight it.

Curtail the DEI bureaucracy.

Ban DEI criteria for admissions, hiring, promotion, tenure, and evaluation. Formal DEI requirements—for admissions, hiring, promotion, and tenure—have become a standard practice in higher education. Such requirements constitute a threat to academic freedom, and they will inevitably contribute to a one-sided portrayal of American history and government.

Create and enforce transparency measures. DEI programming, both training sessions and formal events, can easily become an alternative curriculum, albeit without any stated commitment to open inquiry. Given the lack of natural limitations to this programming, transparency is an important first step.

Ban mandatory DEI training. DEI training sessions often function as promotional events for the preferred political ideology of DEI bureaucrats. These trainings should not be required for students or faculty, nor should they be a condition for accepting roles in student or faculty leadership.

Remove DEI from university strategic plans. Many DEI administrators make an explicit goal of adding diversity, equity, and inclusion to their university strategic plans, further encoding their work in institutional policy. This should be opposed.

Conclusion

Across the country, universities have followed a troubling, but now unsurprising, trend. Many universities have sidelined any standard American history education in the university curriculum. Today, attending a university does not guarantee that a student will study the American constitution, learn about the key events of American history, or become familiar with the basic principles of American government. At the same time, American college students are all but guaranteed to be taught a specific vision of American politics through the “lenses” of diversity, equity, and inclusion—a new civics which is, at the same time, an anti-civics.

As we have shown, Texas is not immune to this trend—though, unlike other states, its history and government requirements remain robust. It is up to lawmakers, and the citizens who hold those lawmakers accountable, to prevent this robust civics from being eroded and to preserve Texas as a model in education for citizenship.


1 Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Sec. 51.302.,  American or Texas History,  https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.51.htm#51.302; Texas Education Code, Chapter 51, Sec. 51.301., Government or Political Science, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.51.htm#51.301.

2 “2022 Best Colleges in Texas,” U.S. News and World Report, https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/tx.

3 2-210 General Education, Arizona Board of Regents, February 2021, https://public.azregents.edu/Policy%20Manual/2-210%20General%20Education.pdf.

4 John Sailer, Education for Citizenship: The Utah Case Study, National Association of Scholars, June 21, 2022, https://www.nas.org/reports/educating-for-citizenship-the-utah-case-study/full-report.

5  Peter Wood, Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History? National Association of Scholars, January 1, 2013, https://www.nas.org/reports/recasting-history-are-race-class-and-gender-dominating-american-history/full-report.

6 Texas General Education Core Curriculum WebCenter, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, accessed June 20, 2022, http://board.thecb.state.tx.us/apps/TCC/.

8 Texas General Education Core Curriculum WebCenter, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

9 Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 4, Subchapter B, Rule §4.28.

10 Core Curriculum, The University of Texas at Austin, accessed June 30, 2022, https://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/academic-policies-and-procedures/core-curriculum/.

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37 UH Core Curriculum 2021-2022, University of Houston, accessed July 5, 2022, http://publications.uh.edu/content.php?catoid=41&navoid=14724.

39 “Building the ‘Cathedral’ of Health Equity,” The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, August 13, 2020, https://dellmed.utexas.edu/news/building-the-cathedral-of-health-equity.

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42 For one exposition of these books, see John McWhorter, “The Better of the Two Big Antiracism Bestsellers,” Education Next, August 3, 2020, https://www.educationnext.org/better-of-two-big-antiracism-bestsellers-kendi-how-to-be-an-antiracist-book-review/.

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44 See, for example, John Sailer, Education for Citizenship: The Arizona Case Study, National Association of Scholars, May 17, 2022; John Sailer, Education for Citizenship: The Utah Case Study, National Association of Scholars, June 21, 2022.

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46 Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education 2.0, National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, March 2020, https://nadohe.memberclicks.net/assets/2020SPPI/__NADOHE%20SPP2.0_200131_FinalFormatted.pdf.

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65 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin, February 21, 2022, https://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/media/mccombs-website/content-assets/documents/dei/McCombs-DEI-Plan-2022Feb22.pdf.

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