Opportunities and Challenges of the Role
Among the many opportunities and challenges to be addressed by the vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, the following have been identified by the university community as being of special importance (listed in no particular order):
Serve as a trusted member of the university’s senior leadership team
The successful candidate will report directly to the president, join the senior leadership team, contribute to the university’s strategic decisions, and earn the trust and respect of colleagues across the campus community. In collaboration with deans and colleagues on the president’s cabinet, the VPDEI will ensure that inclusive excellence is interwoven throughout UCF’s policies and strategic initiatives as a core value of the institution. The VPDEI will be expected to pose challenging questions and suggest insightful solutions to difficult topics in order to stimulate the very best thinking among UCF’s leadership.
Develop an organizing framework and lead the adoption of an overarching vision for DEI
The VPDEI will be expected to formulate and articulate a vision around DEI and to provide campus-wide leadership, concrete steps, counsel, advocacy, and a point of connection and communication for achieving it. To this end, the VPDEI will conduct an inventory of existing DEI resources and initiatives in order to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities and work to bring them together, utilizing an organizing framework that is both evidence-based and mission-aligned.
Lead, represent, and advocate for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI)
The VPDEI will lead, represent, and advocate for ODI within the university community. They will serve as the primary liaison between ODI and the university community, including students, faculty, staff, and senior leaders; develop and communicate the mission and vision of ODI as a resource for the campus community; and guide the design and delivery of educational and training programs to support diversity, inclusion, equal access, equitable treatment, and intercultural dialogue and competency.
Create pathways towards a more inclusive campus community
The VPDEI will be a connector and communicator across campus, building bridges between staff, faculty, and students as well as breaking down silos between and within each group. The VPDEI will have a creative and entrepreneurial perspective, and will enable a strong culture of self-assessment and data-gathering at UCF. The successful candidate will generate ideas and initiatives for assessing, understanding, and improving the campus culture and climate. To this end, the VPDEI will work with campus partners and organizations across all divisions to refine tools and surveys to undertake a holistic review of the campus climate and the effectiveness of campus programs and initiatives. The VPDEI will use this information to determine what resources are needed to create a more equitable and inclusive community.
Strengthen university and public awareness, communication, and community engagement
The VPDEI will serve as an ambassador for UCF, facilitating communication with internal and external stakeholders regarding the messaging of the mission, initiatives, and strategies employed by the university in relation to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The VPDEI will create mechanisms for communicating UCF’s commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence, and its use of an equity lens in strategic planning and decision making. A critical part of the VPDEI’s role will be to enhance community engagement and be seen as a thought leader on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the local Orlando metro area, the Central Florida region, the state, and the nation.