Enlightenment Workshop Series

The Enlightenment Workshop Series presents courageous conversations designed to foster a culture of inclusive excellence at the University of South Florida. Organized by the Black Employee Steering Committee with support from the Institute on Black Life and Black Faculty & Staff Association, these sessions began in 2020, and since the launch, over 400 members of the USF community have registered to attend.

Under the coordination of Dr. Ruthmae Sears and Geveryl Robinson (co-chairs), the workshops focus on intersectional perspectives related to bias, cultural competence and systemic racism, with an emphasis on current trends facing Black communities across the African Diaspora.

Each lecture is free and open to the public and hosted online through Microsoft Teams. View the suggested reading list, organized by topic.

Upcoming Schedule of Topics and Facilitators


 Schedule of Events
Date Topic Facilitators
September 14, 2021

Leadership Towards Equity and Inclusion: The Power of Action. View Flyer.

Dr. Kevin Sneed, Dr. Jean Kabongo, Ms. Dawn Brown, Dr. Antoinette Jackson.

October 12, 2021 People Matter: The Economics of Equity. View Flyer

Dr. Theresa Chisholm, Ms. Angela Sklenka, Dr. Elizabeth Hordge Freeman, and Dr. Valeria Garcia

November 9, 2021 The Gap That Divides: becoming Bridge Builders to Promote Student Success. View Flyer. 

Dr. LaTosha Thomas, Dr. Anthea Henderson, and Major Larry Black Jr.

December 14, 2021 Waiting to Exhale: Maintaining a Work-Life Balance. View Flyer.

Dr. Kyaien Conner, Dr. Lisa Ferdinand, Dr. Angela Hill, and Dr. John Clark

January 18, 2022 From Bystander to Ally and Advocacy: Addressing Inequities in Higher Education

Dr. Fai Howard, Dr. Sylvia Thomas, Dr. Stephen Aikins, Dr. Denise David-Cotton, and Dr. Tangela Serls

February 8, 2022 From Protest to Progress: Combating Discrimination, Bias, and Oppresive Practices

Dr. Dana Thompson-Dorsey, Ms. Geveryl Robinson, Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

March 8, 2022 The Intersectionality of Gender, Race, and “Glass Ceilings” in Higher Education

Dr. Marie Byrd, Dr. Brenda Walker, and Dr. Deirdre Cobb Roberts

April 12, 2022 A Blueprint to Inclusive Excellence; A Systemic Approach to Catalyze Change

Dr. Ruthmae Sears, Mr. Corey Posey, and Dr. Stephanie Williams


Under the auspices of the USF Institute on Black Life, USF Black Employee Steering Committee, and the USF Black Faculty and Staff Association.

Past Topics and Facilitators

October 12, 2021-People Matter: The Economics of Equity

View the powerpoint here.
View the flyer here.

Enlightenment Workshop Series: People Matter: The Economics of Equity

September 14, 2021- Leadership towards Equity and Inclusion: The Power of Action

Leadership toward equity and inclusion: the power of action.

June 18, 2021 - Endarkened Conversations on racism, power and politics.

Endarkened Conversation:  Racism, Power, and Politics. Presented by Dr. Dana Thompson Dorsey and Dr. Vonzell Agosto. “Under the auspices  of the USF Institute on Black Life, USF Black Employee Steering Committee, and the USF Black Faculty & Staff Association”

May 4, 2021 - The D.N.A of Microaggression

Dismantling the D.N.A of Microaggression in the Workplace, presented by Mr. Ackeem Salmon, Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, and Dr. Ruthmae Sears on May 4, 2021.

April 20, 2021 - Painting the Picture of Autism: Supporting Exceptionalities through the arts.

Painting the picture of autism: Supporting exceptionalities through the arts.

April 13, 2021 - Leveraging the Network

Leveraging the Network to Support Systemic Changes.

March 9: Facilitating Courageous Conversations with Antonia Robinson and Kristofer Newsome

Facilitating Courageous Conversations first PowerPoint presentation slide.

February 23: Anti-Blackness and Racism with Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman and Yulander Wells

Enlightenment Workshop Series: Theme: Anti-Blackness and Racism. Tuesday, February 23, 2021. 12-1 pm. Microsoft Teams. Joinusforcourageousconversationsdesignedtofosteracultureof inclusiveexcellenceatTheUniversityofSouthFlorida.Thefacilitators willprovideinsightsonanti-Blacknessinoursociety,discusshow anti-Blacknessrelatestosystemicracism,andusecollaborative activitiestodeveloppracticalstrategiesforidentifyinganddismantling anti-Blacknessandsystemicracismonourcampusandsociety.

February 9: Investing in Human Capital: Policies and Practices that Support the Recruitment, Retention and Sustainability of Diverse Employees with Angela Sklenka, Dr. Frank Pyrtle III and Darren Gambrell 

Facilitated by Dr. Frank Pyrtle III, Angela Sklenka, and Darren Gambrell. Headshots of all three with titles beneath.

January 19: Bias and Its Implications with Dr. Tangela Serls and Dr. Cheryl Rodriguez

Word cloud with 'bias' very large, header saying "A multi-layered concept."

November 10, 2020: Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education with Dr. Deirdre Cobb-Roberts and Michelle McNulty

Diversity & Inclusion in Higher Education

October 20, 2020: Cultural Competence with Dr. Michelle Madden and Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton

Cultural Competence. Under the auspices of the  USF Institute on Black Life  USF Black Employee Steering Committee &  USF Black Faculty & Staff Association. iBL and BFSA logos.

October 13, 2020: Inclusive Excellence with Dr. Ruthmae Sears and Geveryl Robinson


Meet the Black Employee Steering Committee Professional Development Team

White text on green background with USF palm in Apple on left. White USF logo on top of palm. Black Employee Steering Committee Professional Development Team. 9 members with headshot of each.