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Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Community Briefing Webinar

Dear UT Community,

During the Fall 2020 semester we introduced Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion which is made up of students, faculty and staff volunteers dedicated to enhancing the campus experience for everyone. 

Following a results-driven timeline, the Core Task Force and six (6) subcommittees together have held more than forty (40) meetings of record, facilitated seven (7) student, faculty, and staff and listening sessions and implemented a campus-wide climate survey. This is in addition to countless hours focused on data gathering and in-depth analysis. The culmination of this work is now reflected in a comprehensive report highlighting key messages, notable achievements and actionable recommendations to help guide UT into the future of diversity, equity and inclusion actions on our campus.

The Task Force recognizes that our work is not done, rather it is only beginning. As we move forward together with all of you, we would like to extend an invitation to a Community Briefing Webinar on April 27, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. ET to learn more about what is shared in the Task Force report and what our next steps are. 

Register in advance for this webinar.

If using an H.323/SIP room system:
H.323:
162.255.37.11 (US West)
162.255.36.11 (US East)
Meeting ID: 945 3042 0183
SIP: 94530420183@zoomcrc.com

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

Following the community briefing, we will continue to keep the community updated through the Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website and through periodic global messages. 

Regards, 

Lonnie Bryant

Professor of Finance, Chair, Finance Department 

David Stern

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Stephanie Russell Krebs

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

J Sumerau

Associate Professor of Sociology; Director, Applied Sociology (Lead Writer) 

Claire Cilien
Student; Resident Assistant; Former Black Student Union Member; Alumna 

Hannah Lammon
Student; Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group

Sabrina Griffith (through Feb 25, 2021) 
Former Director of Student Care and Advocacy; Alumna

Ana Maia
Senior Associate Director of Leadership and Assessment

Art Goon
Director of Graduate and Continuing Studies

Marte Marshall
Student; Graduate Assistant for Retention Initiatives

Leander Hamilton
Assistant Director of Human Resources

Adrianne Wilson
Assistant Professor, Education Department; Masters of Educational Leadership Program Coordinator

Arthur Hollist
Professor of English  

 

Thursday, April 22, 2021, 2:30 p.m.
The Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Report

This is a broadcast message from the Office of the President

To:      University Community
From: President Vaughn
Re:      Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

The Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) report has now been completed and the final report will be posted on the DEI Website. I thank the DEI Task Force, Core Task Force, subcommittee members and leadership for their hard work and guidance on this important issue.  And I’d like to thank all community members who participated in listening sessions, completed our campus climate survey and submitted written feedback to the Task Force.  These collective efforts are providing very helpful information which we intend to use as part of a broad University of Tampa initiative.  Please join me in thanking all involved. 

Recommendations from the Task Force are noted below along with certain University action plans which are briefly described to highlight UT intentions to make significant progress on this issue.

  1. Centralize DEI as a prominent UT focus by establishment of a University diversity, equity and inclusion statement.  A new statement was developed by the Task Force, endorsed by senior staff and is being recommended for adoption by the University.  The statement will be reviewed with an appropriate process leading to adoption consideration. 
  2. Create a senior leadership position focused on diversity efforts.   A position description will be developed for such a position and a search undertaken to fill it as soon as possible.
  3. Develop a more centralized approach to diversity efforts and resource planning as recommended. The university’s diversity initiative will be included in the normal process for budgeting consideration as part of planning for diversity programs, improvements and progress.  The new person hired for the senior diversity position will review current activities and develop/discuss various plans, programs and activities as well as consideration of associated costs and requested resources for the 2021-22 year and beyond.  We look forward to working closely with the person hired to develop a centralized and strategic diversity plan with a variety of new programs, activities and initiatives as part of an ongoing effort to make progress.  
  4. Provide some campus space to support the diversity initiatives.  Preliminary plans will be to develop an appropriate space in the next future building as a quick assessment suggests that there may not be adequate space currently available.  We anticipate the next new building, where space will be planned, may be one described as the Multipurpose Building on the Campus Master Plan.  Diversity leadership, with student feedback, will be included as input in space planning over this year.  Construction is anticipated to begin sometime between late 2022 and mid-2023. 
  5. Strive for continued improvements in student retention and graduation success.  While student support is available to all UT students, Academic Affairs will be asked to review needs of student subgroups, current processes and support activities.  Likewise, student affairs will be asked to collaborate with others as we strive to enhance the sense of belonging and welcome for all individuals.
  6. Implement a new vendor tracking system.  This system will be implemented to enable more complete tracking and utilization of vendors.  Development of a new vendor system and definitions will then allow us to assess how we’re doing with distributing vendor opportunities. 
  7. Review admission activities and do more to support recruitment of minority students.  Admissions has energetic minority recruitment efforts already, however we will investigate providing additional assistance with completing complicated government FAFSA/financial aid forms, which we know are a deterrent to some.   As part of our new Capital Campaign, we also plan to target additional endowed minority opportunity scholarships to help expand student access to UT. 

 The report will be presented to the entire campus community, including students, staff, faculty and the Board of Trustees.  As part of the beginning of a new institutional initiative, I ask that you plan to participate in the April 27 webinar presentation, Values to Action:  UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. See above for details. 

The University of Tampa community has an important opportunity to continue its journey started many years ago to be a welcoming campus to all and support everyone to be successful. I believe “Values to Action” is the catalyst to inspire new actions for UT as we embrace the challenge of preparing ourselves and our student body with the understanding and competencies needed for an increasingly diverse world.

Monday, June 1, 2020, 3:46 p.m.
UT Affirms its Core Values

This is a broadcast message from the Office of the President

UT Community,

We are witnessing the pain, sadness, and frustration that many in our community and across the nation are facing. We are simultaneously outraged and confounded at the inhumanity witnessed in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury, Nina Pop and many others.

We continue to face outward displays of racism, implicit bias, violence, and racial injustice. Many of us in higher education have worked for years to promote diversity and social justice. But much work remains. We will continue to promote self-reflection, community-wide dialogue, and mutual understanding and respect, but we recognize we cannot meet our goals without more robust student, faculty and staff participation.

Our new reality of living with COVID-19 has been challenging, and the social isolation and distancing has further divided our society. While we work toward our coming together for Fall 2020, we must be more committed than ever to live up to our shared values that are articulated in the Spartan Code. The code intones that we are a community committed to the values of honesty, citizenship, inclusion, respect, responsibility and life-long learning. And as such we all agree and pledge to honesty, citizenship, inclusion, respect, responsibility and life-long learning.  

To live the Spartan Code means combatting racism in all forms. This involves recognizing our privilege and using our individual and collective voices to promote justice. It means standing in solidarity with our black faculty, staff and students knowing that many of us will never understand their experiences. It means continually evaluating our campus climate and striving to be better. It means showing up and affirming each other, not just now in a time of crisis, but all of the time.

If you would like to share comments or concerns regarding our campus climate with the Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group, you can email diversityadvisorygoup@ut.edu. The group will meet next week to discuss feedback we’ve received and action steps moving forward.

We care about our UT Spartans. If you need support, there are a variety of resources:

  • If you have been impacted by current events, need support and would like to speak to a counselor please contact counseling@ut.edu.
  • For student organization support please contact Erika Buckley, Associate Director of Leadership and Diversity Education, ebuckley@ut.edu.
  • To report any bias incidents in the UT community the Bias Education Resource Team is available and can be contacted through the chair, Sabrina Griffith, Director of Student Care and Advocacy, sgriffith@ut.edu

Take care of yourself and each other. Know your Spartan Community is always here for you.

Regards,

Ron Vaughn, President
David Stern, Provost
Stephanie Russell Krebs, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
James  MacLeod, Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, 12:24 p.m.
Diversity Message

This is a broadcast message from President Vaughn

On June 1, James MacLeod, chair of UT’s Board of Trustees, Stephanie Russell Krebs, David Stern and I sent a message expressing our outrage at the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury, Nina Pop and others. We reaffirmed the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and to combatting racism in all its forms. Our message acknowledged that we need to further exemplify our core values.

Since that time, we have met twice with a group of faculty and staff who authored a letter about diversity matters, and also with the student-focused Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group. We listened and discussed views on actions that we might consider taking. Those conversations were fruitful. I am writing today to give an update on important actions UT is taking and next steps for the coming year. 

The first step is to emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion at an institutional level.  To this end, I have appointed Drs. Krebs and Stern as co-chief diversity officers. They already co-lead the Diversity Advisory Group, and both are committed to diversity and social justice.

I will also appoint a Diversity Working Group -- led by Krebs and Stern -- that will consist of faculty, staff and student representatives. A call for nominations and self-nominations will be issued soon. The charge will be manifold, including creating an inventory of UT’s curricular and co-curricular diversity efforts, benchmarking diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and programs at other similar institutions, helping to develop a diversity statement for UT, and recommending ways that UT could enhance its diversity, inclusion and racial equity efforts.

While we have a variety of on-going diversity, equity and inclusion programs, services and activities in place, several new action steps have been initiated. These include:

Training Opportunities:

  • Plans are underway for a special session for the Senior Staff and deans focused on diversity, inclusion and equity.
  • Diversity workshops for Baccalaureate Experience faculty and mentors and for other faculty through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) are scheduled. These workshops will be led by Sabrina Griffith, director of Student Care and Advocacy and leader of UT’s Bias Education Resource Team (BERT).
  • Continuation of bias training for Campus Safety, and a plan to expand opportunities for bias training to the broader campus.

Of note, more than 25 staff and faculty members participated this summer in a 10-week Sustained Dialogue series. This series taught the participants how to build spaces for challenging conversations about issues that matters and how to create meetings where talking about big issues are celebrated.

Human Resources Programs:

  • Human Resources’ search process improvements are underway, including a UT employment dashboard that will provide interview resources, diversity ad placement resources and recruiting guidelines. The staff will also host a presentation on building a more inclusive search that addresses unconscious bias.
  • Human Resources’ training on diversity in the workplace and Title IX training will be coming this fall.

Center for Teaching and Learning Initiatives:

  • Creation of a new website dedicated to resources on diversity and inclusion for faculty.
  • First Year Experience courses will devote two weeks to discussion of diversity and inclusion, and first-year students will have the opportunity to sign a diversity pledge.

Student Programs

  • The First Year Experience (FYE) and Office of Orientation and Family Engagement collaborated to launch a virtual book club on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
  • The Diversity Advisory Group is reading Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race, and will discuss it this fall.

Athletics

  • Jennifer Alger, senior woman administrator in the Athletic Department, has been named the diversity and inclusion liaison and is the point of communication between the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national office and the UT athletic department .

Admissions and Recruitment

  • UT became fully SAT/ACT test optional for 2021 admissions. We believe this will enhance the diversity of the student body and will provide for greater access and inclusion.
  • UT works with community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide access and opportunity to first-generation and minority students. Every UT admissions counselor works with several CBOs, and this summer the Office of Admissions appointed a counselor that manages our CBO initiatives with 390 different CBOs.
  • New since July, UT is one of only 10 schools that are part of a Coalition for College pilot program. This program is designed to provide access and free college search tools for 200,000 under-represented high school freshmen and sophomores.
  • This summer admissions created an inclusion video, We Are Spartans, that affirms our commitment to combating racism and discrimination. The video has been shared with prospective students and is posted on the UT website.  

We have long known that a diverse and inclusive campus strengthens the learning experience and, in turn, the larger society. I look forward to our collective work to build a better UT.

Sincerely,

Ronald L. Vaughn, President

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, 10:46 a.m.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force: Call for Nominations

This is a message from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs:

Dear UT Community,

Last week, President Vaughn announced a call for nominations and self-nominations for Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He shared that the charge will be manifold, including creating an inventory of UT’s curricular and co-curricular diversity efforts, benchmarking campus diversity, equity, and inclusion practices, and reviewing programs at other similar institutions. In addition, the task force will help develop UT’s diversity statement, and recommend ways that UT could enhance its diversity, inclusion and racial equity efforts.

There will be opportunities for involvement to garner multiple perspectives and voices throughout the process, some involving a greater time commitment than others. We hope you will consider nominating yourself or others who are passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion. The nomination process is open to faculty, staff and students. We anticipate the work of this group will span the academic year.

Opportunities for involvement include:

  • Core task force member and sub-committee chair or co-chair (2-4 hours a week time commitment, must be available on Fridays from 1-3 p.m., for weekly meetings via Zoom);
  • Serve on a task force sub-committee (up to 1-2 hours a week);
  • Offer to be part of a focus group and/or listening session (dates TBA);
  • Submit comments/feedback in writing to the task force at diversitytaskforce@ut.edu

We will likely have more nominations for the core task force and for the committees than we can accommodate. We will make appointments that represent different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and we will look to include individuals from various facets of campus life.

To start the self-nomination process click on the Values to Action: UT's Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion self-nomination form. The nomination process will close on Friday, Sept. 11.

 If you are interested in nominating someone else please email their name and email address to diversitytaskforce@ut.edu, and we will encourage them to complete the nomination process. 

Regards,

Stephanie Russell Krebs and David Stern, Co-Chief Diversity Officers

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, 3:21 p.m.
Diversity Task Force Update

This is a message from the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost:

Dear UT Community,

At the beginning of the month, we introduced a nominations process for Values to Action:  UT's Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Prior to selecting the core task force members, we invited Lonnie Bryant, professor of finance, and Sabrina Griffith, director of student care and advocacy, to join us in leading the task force, based on their long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We are pleased to report that they have accepted this appointment and the four of us look forward to leading this important work.

The nominations process yielded a significant amount of interest from community members, and we are happy to announce the core task force and subcommittee membership. Note that leadership from the Faculty Diversity Committee, the Faculty Community Engagement and Responsible Citizenship Committee, and the Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Committee are represented on the core task force to assure communication and collaboration between these central groups remains paramount.

Others who expressed interest in being involved will be invited to listening sessions that will occur later this semester to assure all voices are included in the work of the task force.

Below is a listing of core task force and subcommittee membership. 

Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Core Task Force

Lonnie Bryant
Faculty, Finance

Claire Cilien
Student, Resident Assistant, Black Student Union

Sabrina Griffith
Staff, Student Care and Advocacy

Art Goon
Staff, Graduate Admissions

Leander Hamilton
Staff, Human Resources

Arthur Hollist
Faculty, English, Faculty Community Engagement and Responsible Citizenship Committee

Stephanie Russell Krebs
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Hannah Lammon
Student, Dean of Students Diversity Advisory Group member

Ana Maia
Staff, Leadership and Engagement

Marte Marshall
Student, Graduate Assistant for Retention Initiatives

Brian Spencer
Graduate Student

David Stern
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

J Sumerau
Faculty, Sociology

Adrianne Wilson
Faculty, Education, Faculty Diversity Committee 

Task Force Subcommittees and Chairs

Curricular Inventory
Arthur Hollist, Chair, Faculty, English and Writing
Gary Luter, Faculty, Theatre and Dance
Destiny Lane, Student
Abigail Hall, Student
Karla Borja, Faculty, Economics

Co-Curricular Inventory
Ana Maia, Chair, Staff, Leadership and Engagement
Erika Buckley, Staff, Leadership and Engagement   
Molly Butters, Staff, Career Services
Hannah Lammon, Student
Michelle Mooney, Student
Brian Spencer, Student  

Campus Climate
Adrianne Wilson, Chair, Faculty, Education
Jen Wortham, Faculty, Health Sciences and Human Performance
Sangbum Ro, Faculty, Management
Alisha Menzies, Faculty, Communication
Claire Cilien, Student
Dylan Stephens, Student
Lonnie Bryant, Faculty, Finance
Haydn Rubelmann, Staff, Biology

Benchmarking
J Sumerau, Chair, Faculty, Sociology
Autumn Brucato, Staff, International Programs
Anthony Dodd, Student
Rachel Killam, Staff, Career Development and Engagement
Stephanie Russell Krebs, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students 

DEI Practices
Art Goon, Chair, Staff, Enrollment
Kelsey San Antonio, Staff, Human Resources
Paula Pack, Staff, Retention Initiatives
Marte Marshall, Student
David Stern, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

UT as a Workplace
Leander Hamilton, Chair, Staff, Human Resource
Cheri Etling-Paulsen, Faculty, Finance, Teaching and Learning
Sabrina Griffith, Staff, Operations and Planning
Dai Holmes, Staff, Enrollment Management
Jay Langdoc, Staff, Information Technology and Security

The core task force will meet on Friday, Sept. 25, and the subcommittees will meet the following week. We will continue to keep the community updated through the Values to Action: UT’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website and through periodic global messages. 

Regards,

Stephanie Russell Krebs, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Co-Chief Diversity Officer 
David Stern, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Co-Chief Diversity Officer
Lonnie Bryant, Professor of Finance
Sabrina Griffith, Director of Student Care and Advocacy

Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, 5:25 p.m.
Statement from UT President Ron Vaughn Regarding the Events in Washington, D.C.

This is a broadcast message from President Vaughn

The University of Tampa joins in the condemnation of the unfortunate violence, destruction of property and willful interruption of the functioning of the U.S. government that occurred yesterday in Washington, D.C. I urge UT faculty, staff and students to reaffirm their commitment to open dialogue, critical inquiry and pursuit of truth. We do not have room for nor will we permit violence, injustice and the abandonment of rational thought.

Our country must unite to support a peaceful presidential transition and work together to restore the proper functioning of our democracy. I expect that each member of the UT community will rise above individual political or social agendas to work to embody the values of the Spartan Code – honesty, citizenship, inclusion, respect, responsibility and life-long learning. As such, we urge the UT community to use their voices to educate and create positive change.

May UT continue to be a place where learning is the preeminent mission, and may this learning occur in a context of peace and civility.