Vice President Search

Position Description

The full position profile with extensive responsibilities, requirements, and qualifications can be found here: 

About the University

The University recently published its latest strategic plan, “In Pursuit of Excellence,” wherein diversity, equity, and inclusion are reaffirmed as a University Core Commitment in achieving its long-term and strategic goals and initiatives. USF values diversity with inclusion and excellence with equity as elements of our values—and diversity is quite literally at the heart of the institution in our student body.

These values are embedded in each of the strategic areas of focus in recognition that the success of each requires meaningful engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Beyond its presence in our academic endeavors, these values must also be embedded in our organizational infrastructure and should further drive not just who we attract and who we hire and retain, but also how we develop relationships and in which ways we invest in the success and advancement of diverse populations in our broader communities.

At USF, diversity exists along numerous axes, including gender identity, race and ethnicity, country of origin, language, socioeconomic background, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual identity, veteran status, and disability, among many other considerations.

In recent years, USF has received national recognition for eliminating the graduation gap by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status—a rare achievement in higher education. Approximately 35% of USF students are eligible for federal financial aid through Pell Grants and the University has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating underrepresented and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than White and higher-income students. Specific recognition for the University includes the Education Trust naming USF as the number one public university (and fourth among all U.S. universities) for eliminating the completion gap between Latinx/a/o and White, non-Latinx/a/o students. The University’s many accomplishments were fueled by the use of data analytics combined with dedicated faculty and staff implementing real-world solutions and best practices.

With our core values in mind, racism, gender and sexual violence, discrimination, and other acts of intolerance are rejected and treated with accountability to create a safe and welcoming environment where students, faculty, and staff can flourish professionally and academically. Our success to date indicates that we have a strong foundation upon which to build a model that is based on equity rather than diversity alone.

We endeavor to develop sustainable initiatives, policies, and programs to engage and amplify the voices of diverse students, faculty, and staff to ensure that all members feel a sense of belonging, connectedness, are represented in leadership, and have an opportunity to succeed. Closer attention to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of diverse students, faculty, and staff, as well as increased utilization of diverse suppliers, are key aspects of the intentional efforts necessary to sustain these values. Our vision moving forward is to proactively pursue inclusive excellence to enrich our campus communities and as a key aspect of our engagement with the broader Tampa Bay region, particularly communities of color.

USF seeks the intentional inclusion of versatile perspectives, essential to a university with local, state, national, and global impact.

As the most recent recognition for its work, the University was a recipient of the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. This is the third time that USF has earned this honor, which is presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

The University continues to build on initiatives in support of its mission and commitments by developing new strategies in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, the USF Latino Scholarship Program has provided opportunities to thousands of students in the Tampa Bay region over the past 30 years and the USF Black Leadership Network launched in 2016 offers scholarships, mentoring and professional development for students across all three USF campuses. USF’s Guaranteed Admissions Pathway Program is designed to create partnerships with local high schools to increase admissions opportunities for students of underserved populations. In addition, a group formed last year at USF, the Advancing Latino Access and Success Task Force, is working to further advance the University’s commitment to Latinx/a/o student access and success.

As an initiative from the Office of the President, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion also oversees several internal Presidential Advisory Committees (PACs): the Committee on Black Affairs, Committee on Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Status of Latinos Committee, Status of Men Committee, the Committee on Accessibility, and the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Committee. There are also two external PACs: the African American Advisory Council and Latin Community Advisory Council. These eight committees are charged with advising the President on matters pertaining to issues related to their affinity groups on behalf of USF faculty, staff, and students, and to evaluate and monitor the University environment for problems and issues related to these matters. Additional PACs are always under consideration as the University continues to grow and become a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Position Summary

The Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (VPDEI) reports directly to President Rhea F. Law and is responsible for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive institutional diversity programs and university-wide, multifaceted inclusion and diversity initiatives to support the University's commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, accessibility, and equal opportunity. The VPDEI will assist in the creation of an inclusive culture that drives results by designing an overarching DEI strategy and aligning initiatives within the University’s administrative units.

The VPDEI will also be responsible for creating and executing an institutional DEI strategic plan, seeking feedback in an inclusive process from stakeholders on- and off-campus. An anti-racism website serves as a collective resource and information warehouse for content related to USF’s commitment to social and racial justice. Highlights include opportunities for community involvement, training resources for faculty and staff, and tools and links for students to find courses related to anti-racism. Additionally, the Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (DARE) dashboards, developed in partnership with the Office of Decision Support, reflect USF’s commitment to cultivate more inclusive and anti-racist campuses. The position is a member of the President’s Cabinet, the senior leadership body of the University, and leads the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with a presence on all three campuses.



In accordance with the State of Florida’s open records laws, all applications and letters of interest will be made public. For best consideration, please send all nominations and applications to:

Ernest Barefield

Gans, Gans & Associates


Phone: 813-986-4441 ext. 7127



For more information, please visit USF’s home page at

The University of South Florida celebrates diversity and inclusive excellence in alignment with our institutional mission. We believe our future success as an institution requires that we attract and retain a diverse workforce. We are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer. All job decisions at USF are made without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion or belief, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate. 

The University of South Florida does not discriminate on the basis of sex and prohibits sexual harassment. Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator. Reports may be made at any time either online or directly to the University's Title IX Coordinator.