As your inaugural chief diversity officer, it’s an incredible honor and privilege to serve the Gator Nation. Our democracy derives its strength and draws talent from the diverse pool of citizens and immigrants that, with each generation, renews our ability to dream of a more just and prosperous world. Like our dynamic country, UF is a wonderfully complex place. I learn this every day in my meetings with a wide range of individuals and groups across campus, in the Gainesville community and out there in Gator Nation. As I become more acquainted with this university, I am impressed with the deep commitment to values-based learning, teaching and community building and with the ground-up work on issues of diversity, inclusion and equity that is happening.
So, where do I come in? Great question, and here’s a look at my top priorities from 50K feet.
- Continuously Signal the UF mission: The University of Florida must create the broadly diverse environment necessary to foster multicultural skills and perspectives in its teaching and research for its students to contribute and succeed in the world of the 21st century.
- Create a sustainable and resilient Structure capable of supporting every Gator so they can thrive here at UF and beyond. We will continuously stress test to make sure the structure is resilient and refine its features as we build.
- Shape our climate and culture. Whether you’re a science fiction fan or not, close your eyes and imagine what it would be like to make Mars habitable for humans – how long it would take, the resources needed, the expertise and, most of all, the faith and patience to see that complex mission to completion. That is the equivalent of what lies ahead. It’s bold and grand and doable in small chunks if we believe creating a more just world is possible and essential. Where you stand right now is where the work continues – so join me in our quest to build a Gator Nation where all may thrive!