Dear USF faculty, staff and students,
I am pleased to announce today that Dr. Haywood Brown, who has served as USF’s Vice President for Institutional Equity in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), has accepted a new role within USF Health as Senior Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for USF Health and the Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs for the Morsani College of Medicine, effective April 2. I would like to thank Haywood for his many valuable contributions to USF’s DIEO efforts over the past several years and congratulate him on this important new appointment.
In accordance with our commitment to further strengthening our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts -- an intentional and renewed commitment over the past year -- the University of South Florida is taking unprecedented steps to reimagine DIEO as we search for its permanent leader. I am grateful that Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Senior Advisor to the President and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, has agreed to serve as Interim Vice President for Institutional Equity. We will conduct a full national search for a permanent vice president, who will be a member of the President’s Executive Leadership Team, during the summer. Once a permanent vice president is selected, Dr. Hordge-Freeman will transition into a role that will allow her to integrate her expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion into broader initiatives across the university.
To facilitate this transformation, we are investing new resources to help us assess current capabilities, strengthen the organizational structure and envision the future of diversity, equity and inclusion at USF. In advance of the vice president search, Dr. Hordge-Freeman will lead a process with both our on-campus leaders and staff, as well as community stakeholders, to help define the role, responsibilities and goals. Additionally, we will engage outside consulting resources to help facilitate a comprehensive review and design for this new department and ensure we are following best practices nationally.
As part of our commitment to best practices, we are redirecting the compliance functions that have historically been held within the DIEO office to a new Equity Compliance unit within the USF Office of Compliance and Ethics. This unification of the compliance functions will provide a better, more seamless experience for our students, faculty and staff; help us maintain our commitment to equity at our institution by focusing and resourcing equal employment, Title IX and Disability/ADA compliance; and streamline the processes for these essential university functions.
These organizational changes will give us a greater ability to focus on proactive diversity, equity and inclusion outreach initiatives university wide. The diversity, equity and inclusion function of USF’s future will drive culture-change initiatives, programming, training and resources to help USF build on its thought leadership in this vital area. It will give students, faculty and staff the support they need to take full advantage of USF resources, build an even greater sense of community and equip them for future success.
I have full confidence that this change will usher in a positive era for USF, grounded in our Principles of Community and strengthened by our enduring commitment to diversity, equity, access, anti-racism and cultural inclusivity.