Continuing USF’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

Dear Members of the USF Community,

As announced March 16, Mary Wardell-Ghirarduzzi, vice provost for antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI), is leaving USF for a position at University of the Pacific. Mary has worked with faculty, staff, students, and administrators to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion through outreach, education, partnership, and engagement. We are committed to continuing — and enhancing — USF’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as we work toward becoming an anti-racist community. USF will sustain investment in this critical, mission-focused area, and we will recognize and bring together the excellent work of our colleagues across campus and beyond.

As we prepare to welcome our new provost, Chinyere Oparah, in mid-July, we want to ensure we lose no momentum on all our community has accomplished and the work that lies ahead. Pamela Balls Organista, interim vice provost, will continue to oversee ADEI, as well as the Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, McCarthy Center, living-learning communities, and the Black Achievement, Success and Engagement initiative, all of which are important components of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Translating diversity, equity, and inclusion perspectives and values into concrete actions and strategic initiatives is a central goal of the USF strategic planning process led by Pamela, along with Golden Venters, director of organizational effectiveness in student life.

Pamela is working on an interim appointment to oversee ADEI operations and services, and will serve as the contact for ADEI until that interim role is filled.  

We are also making plans, which we will share as they are finalized, to strengthen the collaboration and partnerships across divisions to expand the work we must do to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. This is a university-wide responsibility and privilege.

As you know, Pamela serves not only as co-lead of strategic planning, but also as a member of the President’s Cabinet. The provost’s office will consult with the community as we proceed with this transition and our commitment to this work.

I am grateful to all who have shared their ideas and energy, and I look forward to providing additional information as plans are finalized.

Tyrone H. Cannon
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs