UNF Diversity and Inclusion Actions
President’s Commission on Diversity & Inclusion (CODI):
Established many years ago, this committee restructured two years ago and has become more action-oriented and project focused. The Commission’s membership includes over 50 students, faculty, and staff form all areas of the campus. It works collaboratively to advance the University’s efforts to be more diverse and inclusive, identifying and challenging obstacles, and identifying and building assets and strengths. The Commission works to increase the appreciation for, and the awareness of the benefits, importance and relevance of diversity and inclusion.
Difference Appreciation Initiative:
The University of North Florida began a campus wide plan to focus efforts toward increasing the appreciation for and the awareness of the benefits, importance and relevance of diversity and inclusion. The initiative kicked off with a university-community learning exchange called Building a Culturally Competent University attended by campus leaders and the community. The Commission on Diversity and Inclusion meets with the vice presidents and deans to identify strategies being deployed. These efforts are tracked and shared. While ongoing and never ending, this initiative has been a dynamic way of identifying efforts towards appreciating differences and improving the campus climate.
Cultural Competency Pursuit:
The University of North Florida (Student Affairs) developed a Cultural Competency Pursuit curriculum comprised of an introduction to the concepts of equity, diversity and inclusion; six core competency courses of varying lengths; and a capstone. The core competencies are: Race and Ethnicity; Religious, Spiritual and Secular Worldview Identity; LGBTQ Identities; Gender Inclusion; Military Veteran Identity; and Dis/Ability Inclusion. Initially, only offered to faculty and staff, the scope of the core class has expanded to include students. Due to the growth and popularity of the workshops, the program leaders conducted a “Train the Trainer” seminar to increase the number of available instructors.
The University of North Florida holds a Courageous Conversations event each semester that examines a specific current issue in our nation that directly impacts our community. Past conversations have included Racism and Reality, When Love Hurts (domestic violence), Intersection of the “isms”, Bystander Intervention and Busting our Bias (implicit bias). The two and a half hour format consists of three parts: 1) information delivery in the form of a lecture, film or panel, 2) small group dialogue on defined topics and 3) participants reassemble and share their group discoveries. Students, faculty, staff and the community are invited to attend this free event.
Coordinators from individual colleges at UNF vigorously recruit underrepresented students. Efforts by UNF’s College of Computing, Engineering and Construction (CCEC) Outreach and Recruitment Office help to bridge the STEM gap of underrepresented schools, first-generation students, women and girls. Relationships exist with area high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, principals, teachers, after-school organizations and industry partners to create opportunities in STEM programming.
The First-Year Advising:
The First-Year Advising Office has a dedicated advisor who collaborates with Institutional Advancement to support students receiving Pathways to Success scholarships. This advisor provides academic counseling as well as mentoring and connections to campus resources. In many instances, Pathways scholarships are specified to underrepresented populations and first generation college students.