EDUCATION, RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

UF will offer educational workshops for all current and new students, faculty and staff on racism, inclusion and bias.

Leads: Vice President Jodi Gentry, Vice President D’Andra Mull 

Target launch date: In December 2020, UFHR introduced a new 30-minute “Managing Bias” online training module as an initial step in our shared efforts to better understand and begin to dismantle the individual and collective forces that support racism. Faculty and staff received an email notification from the myTraining system with a link to the course. UF’s racial justice education initiative will also include training for students that is currently being evaluated in light of the Sept. 22 federal Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. The workgroup leading this initiative is in the final stages of curriculum evaluation and plans to launch this online module in the spring

Phase 1 - Launch required online educational modules for all faculty, staff and students

  • "Managing Bias" for all faculty and staff. 
  • "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" for all students.

Phase 2 - Develop and launch broader-based learning resources, webinars and conversations, including leadership-specific resources

  • UF Human Resources, along with the offices of the Chief Diversity Officer and Student Affairs, invited “100 UF voices” from across campus to a half-day online retreat to identify the knowledge and skills required to build a more racially just UF
  • Participants in this retreat helped identify three broad areas of focus for learning:    
    • Fostering Awareness: Understanding anti-Black racism 
    • Building Capacity: Knowledge and skills to engage in difficult conversations on race 
    • Promoting Action: Effecting personal and institutional change 
    • UFHR and MCDA  are launching webinars, workshops and resources aligned with the above areas 

Phase 3 - Working with UF expertise, develop a UF-specific online module for all faculty, staff and students to be launched in academic year 2021-2022

UF’s Office of Research will make available this academic year competitive grants to faculty on topics of race, equity, justice and reconciliation.

Lead: UF Office of Research 

UF Awards Faculty Nearly $1 Million to Study Racial Disparities

The University of Florida is committing nearly $1 million to faculty research projects focused on racial disparities in health care, diversity in professional programs, challenges in developing and teaching an inclusive curriculum, and strategies for creating a more inclusive campus environment.

UF Research and the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer have been working together since June to support programs that reflect UF President Kent Fuchs’ call for a wide-ranging examination of race relations at the university. Over the last few weeks, UF Research has awarded $970,000 to more than a dozen faculty teams across campus.

The projects funded include one that addresses racial disparities in clinical trials of treatments for some of the nation’s most prevalent chronic diseases, like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart and kidney disease.

“The diseases affect more than 50 million Americans, with the highest rates and worse outcomes observed among Black Americans for whom these diseases account for 40% of all deaths,” said Dr. Azra Bihorac, an associate professor of medicine and principal investigator on the project. “Although it is imperative that clinical trials for new therapies include Black participants, the data does not support that mandate. In one major trial of a new class of medications for diabetes, only 4% of the 102,000 participants were Black.”

Another project, led by psychology Professor Emeritus Carolyn Tucker, is looking at why older Black individuals are reluctant to take advantage of traditional health care and whether they might be more likely to use telehealth options that have grown significantly during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 called national attention to the occurrence of multiple chronic health disparity diseases among Blacks and older adults, particularly those with low incomes and living in urban areas,” Tucker said. “And while there has been a rapid expansion of telehealth, this expansion did not occur among these most vulnerable populations; furthermore, this expansion occurred without consideration of the readiness for or views toward telehealth among these individuals.”

Tucker’s team will survey 300 older Black men and women in Gainesville and Jacksonville to gain insights into their perceived barriers to utilizing traditional health care options and to understand how telehealth can be used more effectively with this community.

Several projects are focusing on the development of a more inclusive curriculum across the university.

Kathryn Russell-Brown, professor and director of the Levin College of Law’s Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations, aims to develop a new framework for helping faculty incorporate race, racial justice and the Black experience into the curriculum.

“This project has three goals,” Russell-Brown said. “First, to identify the institutional support faculty members say is necessary to pursue a racial justice research agenda related to the Black experience. Second, to identify the components of a successful professional development program responsive to feedback by UF faculty and based on best practices. Third, to initiate the scaffolding for this institutional rewiring on racial justice curriculum development.”

Brown’s team aims to create a comprehensive database of UF faculty who have expertise on race-related subjects, specifically the Black experience, and use that expertise to strengthen relations among these scholars and with students and the university administration.

“This plan builds on the momentum of prior efforts to generate a UF curriculum on race and anti-racism that offers a substantive knowledge base to students and institutional support to faculty,” Russell-Brown said. “It meets the needs identified by core UF stakeholders as a response to the country’s current racial climate and it helps to create significant institutional change and momentum by relying upon expertise among UF’s faculty.”

Other projects focus on the student experience.

Dr. Duane Mitchell, professor of neurosurgery and director of UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, is leading an effort to identify barriers to success for Blacks in the biomedical field and to develop strategies for them to thrive.

“Biomedical research is integral to translation of scientific findings to healthcare policy and clinical bedside practice,” Mitchell said. “Biomedical professionals who themselves identify as Black, and understand issues relevant to the Black community, are most qualified to produce culturally-sensitive research.

Mitchell’s team is taking a qualitative approach that will include conducting interviews with 30 Black biomedical professionals and completing rigorous narrative analysis of their stories. The project will then host a storytelling event that showcases five new Black professionals telling their stories.

“Our project harnesses the universal, culturally relevant power of personal storytelling, grounded theoretically in the life story tradition to amplify and celebrate the Black scientists and biomedical professional’s experience – that is, Black voices in research at UF,” Mitchell said.

“Our goal is to leverage UF’s multidisciplinary research strengths to develop solutions to the many health, education and economic disparities that affect people of color, on our campus, in our country and around the world,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research.

UF Chief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias is encouraging all grant recipients to share their research, be it in progress or completed, at an Antiracism Symposium scheduled for next Fall.

“It’s encouraging to see the power of research at UF unabashedly take on racial justice.” Farias said. “We expect these projects to be catalysts for wider interdisciplinary efforts underway to diversify our faculty, understand implicit bias and remove barriers to success.”

For a list of the 2020 awardees, please click here: https://research.ufl.edu/finding-funding/internal-competitive-funding.html

The 2020-21 academic year will focus on the Black experience, racism and inequity. Each of our colleges will feature speakers, seminars and courses. Led by faculty, we will also reevaluate and revise appropriate elements of our curriculum, including UF Quest.

LeadChief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias 

*Please see College and Business Unit Breakouts for in-depth information.

Educating the Next Generation of Gators: Addressing Racism in the Curriculum, 2021 Academic Year, Office of the Provost

General Education Committee (GEC)

  • Attain more diverse representation on the committee
  • Evaluate practices of the GEC for hidden bias, lack of hospitality, etc. and make changes
  • Increase the number of race-related courses that are approved for Diversity credit
  • Post all race-related courses on the General Education site
  • Charge a task force of faculty, staff and students to evaluate current GEC policies, requirements, and practices and provide recommendations for increasing diversity and enhancing educational opportunities for students to learn about racism and practice anti-racism

University Curriculum Committee

  • Attain more diverse representation on the Committee
  • Evaluate practices of the GEC for hidden bias, lack of hospitality, etc. and make changes
  • Support proposed certificate programs involving race-related topics.

Academic Policies

  • Perform an academic policy audit and assess hidden negative impacts on under-represented students
  • Perform a course grade audit to evaluate historical trends in performance based on race, ethnicity, gender, etc. Create a dashboard to monitor impacts.
  • Create a syllabus statement related to Diversity and Inclusion

UF Quest

  • Welcome new proposals for Quest 1, 2, and 3 courses related to race
  • Encourage developing linked Quest 1-4 courses that share themes of race and anti-racism
  • Include in the Quest experience modules aimed at educating students about racism and practice of anti-racism

UF Student Success

  • Continue to shape and garner support for peer tutoring, peer mentoring, and coaching programs with sensitivity to serving all students with care
  • Continue to press torward the vision of a central UF Student Success Center providing holistic support for students and including transitional academic advising core staff with embedded staff from Student Affairs, Financial Affairs, SHCC, CWC, C3, Registrar, etc.
Student Government will join in this effort by organizing programs and speakers across campus, as with yesterday’s ACCENT speaker announcement.

Lead: UF Student Body President/Trustee Trevor Pope

Ongoing: 

  • Anita Hill - ACCENT speaker, Sept. 10
  • Black Lives Matter co-founders - ACCENT speakers, June 25 
The UF Faculty Senate will organize Town Hall meetings and add a standing agenda item as part of their monthly Faculty Senate meetings.

Lead: Dr. Sylvain Doré

Chair, Faculty Senate Update:

Completed

  • Received support from the BOT on a Standing Agenda Item on Diversity in the Faculty Senate
  • Diversity, Race, and the Florida Bookshelf in the Faculty Senate Office
  • Dialogue with the Sheriff, Gainesville PD, and University Police
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training for postdocs with Groundwater at Santa Fe
  • Underserved Communities: Help K-12 children to have high-speed internet and the connecting required equipment (and possibly considering masks for children)

Ongoing

  • September: What are some of the resources available for Black and African American Faculty?
  • Faculty training on diversity, Race, anti-Blackness, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
  • UF calendar highlighting a tab on diversity and DEI scholarly activities on campus
  • Contacted student body president to invite Isabel Wilkerson to talk about her book, "Caste: The Origins of Discontents" 
  • Track recruitment and retention of historically underrepresented faculty
  • Enroll UF as part of the Harvard COACHE. This would help to compare us one year to the next as well as benchmark us with other institutions, and establishing action plan.
  • Ongoing monthly discussions with Florida State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser and all Faculty Senate Presidents to review the BOG plan
  • Continued discussion about child care (BOT, HR Office, and the Welfare Council)
  • Review with the Welfare Council regarding student evaluations, to assess if underrepresented groups are negatively impacted and how to help counter-balance such a problem
  • Discussion with the Welfare Council regarding the policies and practices and a series of courses about diversity, DEI and about Quest
  • Plan for a survey of activities related to diversity and DEI via the newly established monthly meeting with the College Faculty Councils
  • How to improve the “Faculty Experience” for historically underrepresented faculty and a recruitment strategy (cohort): onboarding, mentoring, support, coaching, training, physical and mental health, exit interviews, etc.
  • Antonio Farias invited to highlight initiatives and resources addressing diversity and DEI for the November Faculty Senate
In UF’s spring semester, we will devote a day to community service and learning as guided by local leaders.

Lead: Office of Government and Community Relations

Community service and learning opportunities will be available to members of the UF and broader communities throughout the spring semester. We hope that this will enable a better match of resources to needs across our communities. The workgroup leading this effort consists of members of various stakeholder groups from UF and Alachua County. The group hopes that this year’s work will help to lay groundwork for a continued culture of continued service with the community.

Ongoing

  • The community service and learning period will launch on MLK National Day of Service on January 18 and end on International Gator Day May 15.
  • Host collaborative program in April 2021 with UF and the broader Gainesville community to engage in learning and discussion around servant leadership.
  • gatorsvolunteer.ufl.edu will serve as the information hub and provide details on how faculty, staff and students can volunteer in the community as well as the purpose of service. The website allows nonprofit organizations to communicate their needs to potential volunteers. 
  • Both virtual and in-person volunteer and service opportunities will be available.
  • In addition to service opportunities within Alachua County, opportunities will be available for UF employees and alumni elsewhere in Florida to participate in community service and learning.
  • Identify and organize leadership development programming for university students, faculty and staff.
  • Identify and assist leadership development programming provided in our communities.
  • Identify and develop active community-campus partnerships where servant leadership is foundational to success. Enable trans-disciplinary and asset-based partnerships (strengths, skills, and knowledge of those in the community are validated and legitimized) where building capacity of individuals, groups and the organization will better address issues of public concern.
  • Identify and assemble community leaders who can provide expertise to these programs.
  • All UF employees received a postcard urging support of the Gator Volunteers campaign.
  • Revive the UF Service Leadership Institute. Host an event in April. Participants will include invited community stakeholders, and UF students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Sessions will be led by a combination of community partners, students, staff, faculty, and alumni. Small group dialogue will encourage reciprocal exchange of knowledge and learning, while promoting learning guided by local leaders.
  • Create a database of community leaders categorized by their area of expertise to develop engagement opportunities.
  • Partner with Alachua County Public Schools to identify service and learning opportunities including mentoring, career days, etc.
  • Survey community leaders’ opinions regarding their collaborations with the university, assess needs related to leadership development training, and identify organizational assets that can be integrated into UF’s practices.
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