UNF Department of Diversity Initiatives dissolved, an update

Michael Tracey, General Assignment Reporter

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion has recently undergone two major changes: Vice President Whitney Meyer resigned, and the Department of Diversity Initiatives disbanded. Spinnaker asked Sheila Spivey, Assistant Vice President, to expand on those changes for the Osprey community. 

Effective Sept. 30, former Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President Whitney Meyer left to begin what was described in the official announcement as a new “career opportunity.” However, she will continue to support the University’s work as a community partner and alumna.

Spivey assured Spinnaker that a search was underway to find a candidate passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion— someone who will have the ability to move the University forward.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The Department of Diversity Initiatives began in 2016 to bring together the Women’s Center, the Intercultural Center, and the Interfaith Center. The DDI focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion to look through an intersectional lens. Assisting in developing broader student engagement opportunities, the DDI helped the Office of Diversity and Inclusion create a welcoming and inclusive environment for students.

After it dissolved, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion now recognizes what comprised DDI into separate departments to enhance its centers. These departments will include the Women’s Center and Victim Advocacy Program, the Intercultural Center, and Student Alliance for Inclusion and Diversity

“We’ve seen tremendous growth over the years, so we’re at a place where we can elevate those areas to departments,” said Spivey. 

It is a considerable change and one that promotes a positive shift at UNF. Assistant Vice President Spivey weighed in more on the specifics.

“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion really is going to function more so as an umbrella organization. This allows those individual areas to develop a broader platform than all being housed within one department,” Spivey said. “Bringing us all together to be able to provide some cohesion, as well as to provide some individualized services and programs respected to identity.”

In addition to the changes, Spivey also wanted to spotlight the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence because she believes it genuinely shapes the direction for the coming years. It’s a concrete strategy with a plan to extend further than its campus-wide approach.

Photo courtesy of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“We’ll be utilizing that plan to weave diversity, equity, and inclusion into the entire fabric of the campus, and also to provide greater outreach and work with broader Jacksonville communities as well,” noted Spivey. 

Visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s official website to explore the departments, check the calendar of events, and learn more about the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence happening through 2025.


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