Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity to leave UNF to pursue passion

Jessica May

After eight years of service at the University of North Florida Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Cheryl Gonzalez will be leaving the university.

Gonzalez’s impact on UNF is seen all throughout campus as she created a safe and diverse learning and working environment for students and staff alike.

Cheryl Gonzalez. Courtesy of UNF’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

“The main thing was trying to draw attention to the fact that we needed to work as a collaboration amongst the different departments,” Gonzalez said. This was when the program “Week of One” was born.

The program focused on a week on women, race, military personnel and then everyone’s individual uniqueness, taking one week for each topic in order to help students and staff embrace UNF’s diversity. Although the program was discontinued, it earned diversity awards for the extraordinary involvement.

Every few years, the University is audited in order to make sure it is operating as it should, in terms of diversity. While Gonzalez was here the University successfully met all the conditions in the audit.

Gonzalez implemented new training programs for students and faculty on Title IX and diversity. Alongside the office of undergraduate studies, financial aid office and the register’s office, the Department of Equal Opportunity and Diversity was able to implement something that went above the federal requirements of training.

Students may recognize this training course as Campus Clarity. This program was implemented for all students to be educated on Title IX and how to be apart of the inclusive campus. Students were unable to register for classes until they completed this course.

Gonzalez is a founder and steering committee member of the African American Faculty and Staff Association. According to the AAFSA history, the group was formed in Oct. of 2011 to recognize the importance of having an environment which promotes camaraderie, unity, professional development, cultural enrichment and campus involvement for employees of African descent.

Although Gonzalez will be leaving, her achievements have greatly impacted the University, and she sees nothing but growth for the future of Title IX and diversity initiatives for the school.

With Gonzalez’s departure, she told UNF Spinnaker that she is excited to move on and grow professionally. She has been in the field for 30 years and is excited to work within her passion.

“For my growth and development,” Gonzalez said. “This new opportunity allows me to fully work in my passion.”

“When you teach, you’re not just a teacher. You are a counselor. You are a doctor, you’re doing so many other things in addition to research and instruction,” Gonzalez said. “We have to get from behind our desks and walk around the campus and remember how we got here. If there were no students there would be no faculty and there would be no staff without the students.”

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