Diversity and Inclusion

The USF Department of Anthropology is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community of students, staff, faculty, and alumni that: honors differences, provides equal opportunity, fosters mutual respect, challenges stereotyped preconceptions, and condemns all forms of discrimination and prejudice. We respect and appreciate the diversity of human experience differentiated by culture and circumstance, including those distinguished by race, ethnicity, ancestry, nationality, citizenship, language, age, gender, sexuality, disability, family status, socioeconomic background, political beliefs, and religion. These core principles compel us to make every effort to recruit and retain members of historically excluded groups that are underrepresented in our discipline, in our university, and in our community; and to make every effort to integrate meaningfully the experiences, histories, and perspectives of these groups into our curricular and co-curricular programs and learning environments. We therefore commit to developing and implementing strategic actions, as permitted by law and the regulations and policies of the University of South Florida, for achieving these goals and assessing annually our progress.


The Department of Anthropology’s Diversity and Inclusion Efforts

Recognizing the need to formalize and systematize longstanding, ongoing but often individualized and random efforts in promoting diversity and inclusion in the department and discipline of anthropology, concerned faculty from the University of South Florida’s Department of Anthropology in 2014 created an ad-hoc, informal Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CDI). The committee was soon elevated to the status of a permanent committee as reflected in the department’s governance document in 2018. The CDI is charged with furthering the department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The CDI’s founding coincided with the department publishing a Statement on Diversity and Inclusion.

The CDI was formed in order to attract and support faculty, staff, and students who are members of historically underrepresented groups in the discipline of anthropology and in the academy more generally, in the hopes of the further democratization of scientific inquiry and of more equal representation in the classroom, and in order to better respond to community concerns and needs. The committee formulated and endeavored to undertake an ambitious set of 26 goals and plans for their implementation (see below). These goals include research activities, program development, and measures of accountability. These were announced as part of a survey of the state of diversity and inclusion in US anthropology more broadly in the following article:

Yelvington, Kevin A., Alisha R. Winn, E. Christian Wells, Angela Stuesse, Nancy Romero-Daza, Lauren C. Johnson, Antoinette T. Jackson, Emelda Curry, and Heide Castañeda. 2015. “Diversity Dilemmas and Opportunities: Training the Next Generation of Anthropologists.” American Anthropologist 117 (2): 387-91.

In the summer of 2018, the Department of Anthropology formed a partnership with USF’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), the central unit on campus charged with efforts aimed at enhancing diversity and inclusion and implementing and monitoring related legal compliance programs, to establish a series of programs and activities in the area of diversity and inclusion. The department strictly follows USF’s Anti-Discrimination policies which provide faculty, staff, and students avenues for reporting violations of these policies.

In the spring of 2019, the Department of Anthropology was proud to be recognized as a campus leader for these efforts and awarded the DIEO’s National Model for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award.

At present, the members of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion are:

Sarah Taylor (Chair), Kathyrn W. Arthur, Heide Castañeda, Tara Deubel, EJ Ford, Kiran Jayaram, Chapurukha Kusimba, William Lucas (graduate student representative), Dillon Mahoney, and Elizabeth Miller.

Committee members are appointed by the chair for a period of two years.

Diversity and Inclusion Goals: Status Report

1. The creation of outreach programs at the high school level.

Status: At present these forms of outreach are being designed by faculty working with graduate students interested in the anthropology of education.

2. Workshops that would encourage faculty to recognize issues faced by students of color.

Status: Among the committee’s first set of activities in partnership with the DIEO was to engage with the DIEO to hold two diversity and inclusion training workshops for the faculty. The first one took place on December 7, 2018, and the second one on January 18, 2019. The next step was to start the first of two trainings for the graduate students. The first one took place on January 31, 2019. Another workshop for graduate students is planned for the fall, 2019 semester. The overall plan is for the faculty trainings to be held at irregular intervals, and the graduate student trainings to be held at regular intervals, one in the fall and one in the spring semesters.

In these workshops, the faculty and graduate students were trained on the topics of Cultural Competence/Awareness, Unconscious Bias, and Discrimination/Harassment, among other topics. It was envisioned that these would be the start of an on-going series of cooperative endeavors by the department and the DIEO and would include specialized training and advice as the need arises, including for the DIEO to provide training for faculty recruitment and search team composition.

Recent related workshops have included the “Female Safety in the Field” workshop held February 9, 2018. Future workshops include UndocuALLY Training and Safe Zone Training

3. Increased availability of student resources such as graduate assistantships and research funding.

Status: The department has in the past had significant success in recruiting graduate students from underrepresented group as well as in recruiting international students. The department boasts of many graduates who are members of underrepresented groups. However, the committee endeavored to establish more permanent policies and programs designed to increase the number of applicants and admitted graduate students who are members of underrepresented groups. The department’s diversity and inclusion goals continue to be paramount when considering the disbursement of graduate student funding. This includes the use of funds from USF’s Office of Graduate Studies. And the department’s own Dissertation Write-Up Award to aid students during the critical period when they are writing their Ph.D. dissertation.

4. One-on-one support through mentorship relationships.

Status: All incoming graduate students are assigned continuing graduate students as mentors. Mentors are encouraged to be sensitive to issues of diversity and inclusion potentially facing new students.  

5. Honest feedback from professors at regular intervals.

Status: The Graduate Program Handbook provides much guidance on graduate advisor-student responsibilities and interactions regarding the student’s academic performance. These guidelines include outlining suggested meeting times at various points during the student’s graduate program and the ways in which the results of the Annual Assessment for all first-year students affect the student going forward. Advisors are directed to inform the Graduate Director and/or Department Chair for guidance and resolution of any problems that may arise. Advisors are required to be aware of appropriate referrals for students whose problems are interfering with their academic performance, including issues related to diversity and inclusion.

6. Copublishing opportunities between faculty and graduate students.

Status: USF Anthropology faculty regularly co-publish with graduate and undergraduate students and former students, and faculty are encouraged to consider the department’s diversity and inclusion goals when choosing research teams and providing co-authoring opportunities. Click here for examples of recent publications

7. Using “challenging conversations” that arise organically as the basis for discussions of racism in the academy.

Status: The department has for some time had a series of yearly Town Hall Meetings between the faculty and the graduate students, facilitated by the department’s graduate director and the graduate program’s Graduate Student Organization (GSO). In Town Hall Meetings over the last couple of years, members of the GSO have brought up issues of concern related to questions of diversity and inclusion. These have included questions related to funding and recruitment, of curriculum development, and of addressing experiences of exclusion and discrimination on the part of graduate students from groups traditionally underrepresented in anthropology. These “difficult discussions” have led to the creation of a new course that was offered for the first time in the fall, 2018, titled ANG 5937 “Critical Race Discourse.” These discussions have also started further dialogue between the committee and the GSO regarding how to provide a forum for regular conversations around these themes and even avenues of conflict mediation if necessary. These efforts are ongoing.

8. Curricular changes that highlight diverse scholarship in anthropology.

Status: By its nature, the discipline of anthropology engages in questions of diversity and inclusion through its characteristic theoretical and methodological approaches. Therefore, it is difficult in the space of this report to document the myriad ways the department’s teaching mission addresses these themes. At the same time, it is pertinent to report that there have been significant efforts underway to incorporate the themes of diversity and inclusion in the academy and in scholarship more broadly into the department’s curriculum. For instance, there is the following graduate course: ANG 5937 “Teaching Anthropology.” This course prepares Ph.D. students to become teachers of anthropology. It infuses perspectives related to diversity and inclusion by infusing a critical perspective on pedagogy and on curriculum development. The graduate elective course ANG 5937 “Anthropology and Higher Education” analyzes current higher education practices from an anthropological perspective and themes addressed include questions of diversity and inclusion. At another level, the course ANG 6705 “Foundations of Applied Anthropology,” required of all new graduate students who do not already have an M.A. in anthropology, and the undergraduate course ANT 4034 “Theories of Culture,” which is required course for anthropology majors, are both on the topic of the history of anthropology. In both these courses, students are exposed to the perspectives of anthropologists in the history of the discipline from underrepresented groups who have been marginalized and “forgotten” as ancestors in the development of the theoretical canon. Further, students in these courses are exposed to perspectives from the World Anthropology Movement, a group of scholars practicing anthropology outside of Europe and North America who urge a wider perspective on the discipline. There are other similar efforts being carried by departmental faculty members in their respective courses. For the first time in the fall, 2018, a course titled ANG 5937 “Critical Race Discourse” was offered. These efforts are ongoing.

9. The use of ethnography as a tool to study the culture of anthropology departments themselves.

Status: At present, graduate students have been assessing the possibility of conducting thesis and dissertation research on diversity and inclusion efforts within anthropology departments, including USF’s. The possibility exists for this to be a site of ethnographic inquiry. Also, see Goal 22 below.

10. At the level of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology, a rating system or diversity policy score for anthropology departments to raise accountability.

Status: A number of USF Anthropology faculty members have served in various capacities at the level of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), including in positions dedicated to issues of diversity and inclusion, on the Committee on Minority Issues in Anthropology of the AAA. Committee and faculty members are currently exploring ways to diversify the discipline through the AAA and the SfAA.

11. Maintaining strong ties with the McKnight Doctoral Fellowships program administered by the Florida Education Fund.

Status: Ongoing.

12. Organizing campus visits by students in the McNair Scholars Program.

Status: Ongoing.

13. International students are given special consideration for graduate assistantships, which come with tuition waivers.

Status: The department has recruited a number of international students and been able to provide funding and tuition waivers. Recent and current international students hail from Bangladesh, Finland, Honduras, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

14. Actively recruit students who are suitable to receive the department’s endowed scholarship for minority students in archaeology, the J. Raymond Williams Memorial Scholarship in Public Archaeology. 

Status: Some years ago, the department established an endowed scholarship for minority students in archaeology, the J. Raymond Williams Memorial Scholarship in Public Archaeology, named after a late colleague.  In 2017, the winners were Dina Moore and Ofelia Sánchez. In addition to the Williams Scholarship, the CDI created the Susan D. Greenbaum Diversity Award is given every year to an undergraduate student who displays leadership in diversity and inclusion.

15. Students are regularly notified about the AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship and other funding sources.

Status: Ongoing.

16. Establishing graduate student recruitment channels by producing materials to distribute to colleagues in historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.

Status: As the result of a CDI initiative, the department’s chair set aside funds for a program, the Building Bridges for Diversity Travel Program that provides funding for tenured or tenure-earning faculty in the department to travel to an Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and/or to a Hispanic Serving Institution for the purposes of recruiting future graduate students. The program provides $1,000 per traveler.

In addition, the department initiated a joint course offered with Bethune-Cookman University, an HCBU in Daytona Beach, Florida, titled HI 337 “Topics in History: Interdisciplinary Research including an Anthropological Approach” that is taught by Dr. Anthony Dixon of Bethune-Cookman and Dr. Antoinette T. Jackson of the USF Department of Anthropology who is also a member of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. The hope is that as a byproduct of this class a “pipeline” between Bethune-Cookman and the department will be established through which African American graduate students will be recruited.

17. Searching for ways to support ongoing efforts to diversify the faculty.

Status: On the occasions when the department has been allowed to recruit new faculty members, there has been an informal but firm interest in hiring candidates from underrepresented groups in the academy and in anthropology more specifically. This has led to posting job advertisements with groups such as the Association of Black Anthropologists, Association of Indigenous Anthropologists, the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, and the Association for Feminist Anthropology, and the Association for Queer Anthropology – all membership sections of the American Anthropological Association. It has also led to the composition of search teams with diversity and inclusion goals in mind, including adding graduate student members to search teams.

When Department of Anthropology faculty positions are open, departmental search committees are encourage to maintain the department’s diversity and inclusion goals in mind when screening, interviewing, and recruiting new faculty members. The department continues to explore USF programs designed to attract senior faculty in order to meet the department’s diversity and inclusion goals.

18. Placing graduate students on search committees and other departmental committees, including students from underrepresented groups.

Status: Graduate students are routinely places on key departmental committees, including on the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. These placements are done with the department’s diversity and inclusion goals in mind.

19. Requiring all applicants to the graduate program to indicate how they would bring diversity to the department as part of their statement of purpose essay required for admission.

Status: This requirement has been in place since 2014. All applicants to the graduate program must declare how they would contribute to the department’s diversity and inclusion goals.

20. Devoting staff hours to searching for diversity fellowships and asking advisors to inform their graduate students about them.

Status: Ongoing.

21. Holding workshops for the faculty on mentoring graduate students.

Status: Much awareness was raised among the faculty in the workshops provided by the DIEO (see Goal 2) and in the Town Hall meetings (see Goal 7) with graduate students. Plans are currently being put into place to address this goal.

22. Designing and implementing an ethnographic survey of students and faculty with the goal of understanding their views on diversity within anthropology and soliciting their ideas on how to achieve it.

Status: In 2017, the department’s chairperson commissioned a Climate Survey to be conducted by Jacqueline Sivén, M.A., a Ph.D. student in the department. This survey was conducted among departmental faculty, staff, and graduate students to assess the department’s climate with respect to diversity and inclusion. The 79-page report, completed in December, 2017 is available here

The report’s author provides ideas for six main departmental initiatives in this area, all of which are endorsed by the committee and have been or are being addressed by the committee’s activities and goals:

Recommended Initiative 1: Transparency and Visibility

Status: The promulgation of a Diversity and Inclusion Statement, the publication of the Climate Survey, and the establishment of the committee’s goals and regular status report updates are all designed to address this initiative.

Recommended Initiative 2: Dialogue

Status: This initiative continues to be met through graduate student memberships on departmental committees, through Town Hall meetings, and through diversity and inclusion training.

Recommended Initiative 3: Recruitment and Representation

Status: This recommended initiative is being addressed by efforts to meet numerous committee goals (e.g., Goals 3, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17).

Recommended Initiative 4: Funding

Status: In the context of funding cutbacks, the committee and department are addressing this recommended initiative through Goals 3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 20, and 23.

Recommended Initiative 5: Protocol to address discrimination, bias, macroaggressions, or other methods of exclusion

Status: The faculty and graduate student workshops conducted by the DIEO were designed to begin to address this recommended initiative. Further efforts are currently being explored.

Recommended Initiative 6: Conduct follow-up research on issues of diversity in anthropology as a whole

Status: Graduate students and departmental faculty are exploring ways in which to meet this recommended initiative through research and teaching in this area.

23. Holding faculty-graduate student workshops on publishing and on grant applications.

Status: In the past, the Department of Anthropology has held occasional workshops on grant writing and on publication. Building upon this tradition, in 2018-2019 the Department of Anthropology established a Workshop Series hosted by the department’s faculty Graduate Committee. Recent workshops included “Looking for Funding? Find out about Strategies for Successful Grant Proposals and Funding Applications” on October 5, 2018 and “Build Your CV and Résumé!” on November 8, 2018. More workshops are planned for this on-going Workshop Series.

24. Providing insight into the values and struggles of underrepresented groups who become faculty by planning workshops and film events, etc.

Status: The members of the committee as well as departmental faculty more generally are engaged with other groups on campus dedicated to enhancing diversity and inclusion. This involvement includes attending functions and events sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the DIEO, such as the Annual LGBTQ+ Community Gala Event, the Diversity Summit, and various lectures in the DIEO’s Diversity Lecture Series. In 2015, the committee’s chair, simultaneously in his capacity as then chair of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Diversity Committee, took the lead in organizing a university-wide/community event involving the showing of the 2013 film Living Thinkers: An Autobiography of Black Women in the Ivory Tower, directed by Roxana Walker-Canton, who appeared at the screening held on February 25, 2015, in the TECO Room of the College of Education. This event was jointly planned with the College of Education’s Diversity Committee, with sponsorship from the DIEO office, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the Institute on Black Life, the Humanities Institute, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Anthropology, and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. The event drew a standing room-only crowd in the TECO Room, and the event lasted an hour longer than the planned time because of the generation of discussion and debate from members of the university and the wider Tampa Bay communities.

Through the department’s Trevor W. Purcell Lecture Series, named after the late Jamaican anthropologist and colleague, and the Not So Occasional Speaker Series, a diverse set of anthropologists are brought to the department to present on their research and to interact with faculty and students. Recent visiting speakers have included the late Dr. William J. Peace, departmental Ph.D. alumna Dr. Alisa R. Winn, Dr. Babajide Ololajulo of the University of Ibadan, and Dr. Isar P. Godreau. The department hosted Dr. Godreau from the Universidad de Puerto Rico (UPR)-Cayey after Hurricane María hit the island. She used her time at USF to work on projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and a training video that is now used to train UPR undergraduate students on how to conduct ethnographic research.

As a department specializing in applied anthropology, much of the faculty’s activities involve research and community involvement. These are too numerous to mention but they include applied research and advocacy with university groups such as UndocuALLY Campus Allies, a group of USF students whose immigration status is precarious.

25. Compiling more comprehensive statistics on the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup of our department, college, and university, to the extent these are available.

Status: USF enjoys a very diverse student population and the university has institutional structures in place to ensure the success of members of traditionally underreprestented groups. In 2017, the Education Trust ranked USF first for Latino Student Success and sixth for Black Student Success. In 2019, USF ranked 11 out of all universities in the U.S. News and World Report magazine ranking for Social Mobility, defined as an institution’s ability to enroll, retain, and graduate low-income students who receive federal Pell Grants. 

Among undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, USF’s largest college and where the Department of Anthropology is located, CAS students as of spring, 2016 were 61 percent female, and only 49 percent white (with 22 percent Hispanic, 13 percent Asian, 12 percent black, 4 percent multi-racial, 3 percent international, 1.5 percent not reporting, and less than 1 percent American Indian or Pacific Islander).

This diversity is not repeated among graduate students nor faculty. CAS graduate students as of spring 2016, were 56 percent female, and 59 percent white (with 16.6 percent international, 10 percent Hispanic, 5 percent black, 1 percent not reported, and less than 1 percent each for all other races and ethnicities).

With respect to faculty diversity, a recent report suggests that recent university-wide efforts have resulted in a more diverse and representative faculty. The report compares USF faculty diversity to 43 other public universities from 2017. USF is ranked 17 for total percentage of minority faculty, number 6 for percentage of African American faculty, first for the percentage of Latino/a faculty, and number 20 for percent of Asian faculty. USF is ranked number 4 for percentage of women faculty and number 15 for percentage of women faculty with tenure. Clearly, however, more effort is needed along these lines.

The CDI prompted changes to the Department of Anthropology’s Governance Document, requiring the graduate director to annually report measures of student diversity as well as efforts extended to enhance diversity and inclusion in the graduate programs. Data collection is ongoing.

26. Set goals for diversity and inclusion.

Status: These goals were set in 2014 and continue to be revised and addressed, and status reports continue to be updated.


Amber Pierson at conference