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Commission on Diversity and Inclusion

June 30, 2016 ~ 8:30 a.m.
Osprey Commons, Talon Room

Members in Attendance 

Edythe Abdullah, Cheresa Boston, Nancy Broner, Lucy Croft, Alison Cruess, Mark Dawkins, Bella Genta, Cheryl Gonzalez, Melonie Handerson, Chris Janson, Dan Moon, Karen Patterson, Sucheta Pyakuryal, Oupa Seane, Tom Serwatka, Zhiping Yu

Members Absent 

Christopher Brown, Luciana Carvalhal Braga, Glenda Kelsey, Probyn Inniss, Tru Leverette, Tarah Trueblood, John Whalen

Item 1 Welcome and Introductions 

Tom Serwatka, vice president and chief of staff, welcomed members to the retreat and introduced Ms. Julia Burns, principal, Converse Consulting, as the facilitator.

Item 1a Approval of Minutes 

Tom Serwatka asked for a MOTION to approve minutes from the May 13, 2016 retreat. The MOTION was made and seconded. The MOTION was carried unanimously.

Item 1b Introduction of CODI Team 

Tom Serwatka announced that CODI’s new leadership team would include four team members (a) two co-chairs, Tom Serwatka, vice president and chief of staff and Mark Dawkins, dean, Coggin College of Business; (b) one project director, Alison Cruess, assistant director, IT Communications and Training; and (c) one staff support, Melonie Handerson, coordinator, special projects, Office of the President.

Item 1c Report on the HEED Application 

Mark Dawkins updated members on UNF’s application for the HEED award, reporting that INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine would announce recipients in the fall.

Item 2 Priorities and Goals 

Julia Burns lead a discussion on CODI’s objectives, goals, tactics, tools and measures. She noted the Commission’s overall objectives as:

  • Increase the appreciation for and the awareness of the benefits, importance and relevance of diversity and inclusion.
  • Work collaboratively to advance efforts to be more diverse and inclusive, identifying and challenging obstacles, and identifying and building assets and strengths.
  • Increase and enhance community recognition of UNF as a diversity-welcoming university.

Tools were listed as:

  • Innovative communication
  • Stories (history/past, current, goals, vision)
  • Assessment
  • Feature student voices

And, overall measures as:

  • Compositional diversity matches/exceeds national/regional demographics for the workforce – faculty, students, staff, suppliers, leadership.
  • Faculty and curriculum will commonly include diverse perspectives.
  • Continue to repeat the campus climate survey – currently in a five-year rotation with emphasis on varying groups.
  • In addition to data points, include the personal experiences: comfort level, feelings of isolation.
  • Share the measures – using both data and stories.
  • Measure institutional change over time:
    • Faculty composition vs. demographic target
    • HR complaints relating to race or other prejudice


Goals, Tactics, Tools & Measures





Roll out the Cultural Competency Pursuit (CCP) Curriculum 2017-2019


  • Cross-department planning and strategizing 
  • One to two from each division/college to establish exemplars as models and resources
  • Train the trainers
  • Share validation and quality of CCP curriculum
  • Use the First-Year Experience to reach freshmen and the Integrated Transitions Steering Committee
  • Share validation and quality of CCP curriculum



  • Tie travel dollars to CCP completion
  • Include faculty diversity and inclusion publications on the President’s website
  • Provide recognition at convocation for all who have completed the CCP curriculum



  • Provide completion incentives to staff
  • Tie bonuses and merit pay increases to  completion



  • Offer CCP as a one-credit course 
  • Recognize students with cords at graduation
  • Provide certificates of completion 


  • Student, faculty, staff  and leadership completion rates 
  • Pre- and post-tests


Encode diversity and inclusion initiatives into UNF protocol

  • Include equity, diversity and inclusion in UNF’s strategic plan
  • Include diversity and inclusion activities in the promotion and tenure process
  • Include diversity and inclusion activities as part of regular Human Resources evaluations
  • Add diversity and inclusion activities to faculty evaluation on the same footing as teaching, scholarship and service



  • Align measures with those in the Affirmative Action Plan



Provide regular, ongoing engagement across campus


  • Provide campus-wide diversity and inclusion discussions
  • Review best practices nationwide


  • Explore providing students extra credit to participate in diversity and inclusion activities
  • Involve those who need it the most – reach out beyond “preaching to the choir”
  • Celebrate the process (unscripted, covering new ground)




Deepen UNF’s public image and brand as a diverse and inclusive university

  • Create a marketing plan to increase UNF’s visibility around diversity and inclusion
  • Invest in minority faculty recruitment, retention and support systems (funds)
  • Provide scholarships/financial assistance for diverse students – undergraduate and graduate
  • Provide certificate programs in diversity and inclusion



  • Tell the story of diverse faculty research/scholarship/best practices in the university
  • CODI can collect and present the stories and find meaningful, impactful, authorized storytellers and encourage dialog
  • Integrate diversity and inclusion efforts with recruitment for faculty, staff, students, administration, suppliers
  • Tell our story outside UNF in the community
  • Publish academic work – tell the story with research and scholarship about UNF’s diversity and inclusion journey
  • Provide faculty rewards for diversity and inclusion-related research (is this a fundable grant opportunity?) 


  • HEED award and similar


Item 3 CODI Structure

The commission discussed CODI’s future structure noting that, as defined here, would require changes to the by-laws.

Tom Serwatka and Mark Dawkins were named co-chairs; Allison Cruess was named project director; and Melonie Handerson was named staff support.

Commission membership was discussed with a consensus that membership would be open to anyone who wanted to be involved and was passionate about moving the work forward. It was noted that membership and participation with CODI should be viewed as a developmental opportunity. And there was a strong preference expressed to make decisions through consensus rather than voting, when possible. However, in the event a vote was required, a smaller group of members would act like a board with the authority to make voting decisions. (See Voting Members below for the description of this body.)

The Commission brought forward a discussion regarding member qualifications from the May 13, 2016 retreat, and included these as: 

  • Members need skill and passion and should view membership as a development opportunity
  • They must be recommended by vice president or dean. 
  • Vice presidents or deans need not appoint a representative for their unit. Invitations should be sent to each with language that encourages appointment only of those who are passionate, engaged and willing to advance the work.
  • Members are accountable to their own vice president/dean and to each other.
  • Members should represent the university’s bodies.
  • Students should be included as members, and include undergraduate, graduate and non-traditional students.
  • Need a job description / descriptions?  

The Commission defined voting membership of CODI as, “may include individuals from the following groups.” 

  • Chair of the CODI 
  • The Associate Chair (or co-Chair)*
  • One representative from each college, as appointed by the dean of that college 
  • One representative from the Faculty Association
  • One representative from the Office of the President 
  • One representative from the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs*
  • One representative from the Division of Student and International Affairs*
  • One representative from the Division of Administration and Finance 
  • One representative from the Division of Development and Alumni Engagement
  • One representative from United Faculty of Florida 
  • One representative from the A&P Association, appointed by the A&P Association president 
  • One representative from the USPA Association, appointed by the USPA Association president 
  • One representative from the Graduate Student Organization, appointed by the GSO president 
  • One representative from the Student Government Association, appointed by the SGA president*
  • One representative from the Jacksonville community, appointed by the university President
  • One representative from the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity*

*Membership required.


The Commission agreed that they would like to use a term other than “voting member.” Possible names could be: 

  • Steering Committee members
  • Organizing Committee members 
  • Or perhaps name this steering body after an early UNF diversity and inclusion champion? 

The Commission discussed committees, noting that rather than defining standing committees, these will be convened only as needed to advance the work and disbanded when their work is done. Committee members would be recruited for skills appropriate to the committee’s need. Committee members need not be CODI members.