Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.29
Liaison Thomas Frazer
Submission Date March 4, 2022

STARS v2.2

University of South Florida
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Thomas Frazer
College of Marine Science
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

USF's Compliance and Ethics Office-Equal Opportunity Section has jurisdiction to engage in conflict resolution and/or investigate complaints that fall under USF's two anti-discrimination policies. USF's two anti-discrimination policies are as follows:

Diversity and Equal Opportunity: Discrimination and Harassment Policy #0-007
Disability and Accommodations (Public/Employees/Students) Policy #0-108
For a list of all USF policies visit this link
If you would like to read any of the anti-discrimination policies, please click on the policy named above. If you click on the link above entitled "For a list of all USF policies visit this link", you will be taken to USF's Office of the General Counsel's website where all USF policies are listed. If you have a question regarding any of the above policies, please feel free to contact the Compliance and Ethics-Equal Opportunity Section at (813) 974-3906 for further information.

Federal and state laws also prohibit unlawful protected category discrimination. If you have an allegation of protected category discrimination and would like an investigation into that allegation, then you must file a complaint with the Compliance and Ethics Office-Equal Opportunity Section. To obtain the form to file a complaint, please click on the tab on the lefthand side entitled "File an Equal Opportunity Complaint."

All members of the USF community should be familiar with these policies and are expected to conduct themselves in a respectful manner.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

EthicsPoint Hotline
USF has engaged EthicsPoint—a third party hosted hotline—to enable the safe, secure, and anonymous reporting of activities which may involve misconduct, fraud, abuse, and other violations of USF policies. You may file a report by clicking on the To Make a Report link on the chart or by calling toll-free 1-866-974-8411.
USF is committed to providing a safe, secure, and ethical place to work. As a member of the USF community, you have a responsibility to voice compliance and ethics concerns, so that we can work together to promptly resolve the issues while helping to cultivate a positive environment.


Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs designed specifically to recruit non-academic staff from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

DIEO outlines a procedure and thier role in Recruitment and Hiring
DIEO assigned and Affirematve Action Officer who:
1. DIEO provides general oversight in the development, implementation, and monitoring of the University’s affirmative action programs. In the overall recruitment and hiring process, DIEO will analyze workforce recruitment activities to determine whether impediments to equal employment opportunity exist and whether there are any significant selection disparities by race/ethnicity or gender. DIEO will help in efforts to identify and eliminate barriers to equal employment opportunity. 2. Consistent with the University’s affirmative action program, DIEO will establish annual percentage placement goals if they are required for minorities or females in identified areas of underutilization.3. 3. The Affirmative Action Officer (AAO) will monitor all job recruitments falling into job groups having either female or minority underutilization, and all faculty and director level job recruitments. Monitoring may include, but is not limited to, the following:
o In the beginning of the recruitment effort, analysis of the demographic makeup of the search committee (if one is utilized), and advertising and outreach efforts;
o Prior to the review of applications, by analysis of the diversity of the applicant pool;
o Prior to interviews, review of the proposed interview questions; and/or
o At any time of the process, review of the applicant applications. 4. The AAO may also perform monitoring, reviewing, and analyzing functions for any job position regardless of whether the recruitment for the position is open or closed and may periodically analyze a sampling of positions that do not have underutilization and/or are not faculty or director level and above positions.
5. When the AAO is reviewing an open or closed recruitment, if the AAO has questions as to what is occurring or has occurred during the recruitment and hiring process, the AAO will help to resolve the concern and, if necessary, may take corrective action.
6. The AAO will keep Hiring Authorities informed of developments related to the university’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) and will review results with all levels of management as to the degree to which their affirmative action goals and compliance are being attained. The AAO may also help design and help implement corrective actions and adjustments to programs, where needed.
The University of South Florida is a recipient of the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. This marks the second year in a row that USF has earned the HEED award, which is presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

"The University of South Florida is honored to receive the HEED award in recognition of our deep commitment to diversity and inclusion," USF President Steve Currall said. “Diversity enriches the university experience as a whole, and USF will continue to prioritize investments in programs to support access and opportunity for all.”

USF has well-established initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining historically underrepresented and first-generation students, including the Guaranteed Admissions Pathway Program that partners with high schools in the Tampa Bay region to increase admissions opportunities for students of underserved populations.

Approximately 43 percent of USF students identify as non-white, with Hispanics representing about 20 percent, Asian Americans at nearly seven percent and Blacks making up close to nine percent. In this year’s freshman class, Black, Hispanic, Asian and international student enrollment have all increased over the previous year. USF is recognized as a national leader in student success and has been honored for graduating underrepresented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students.

USF recently announced a series of new actions that reinforce its diversity and inclusion efforts, including a commitment of $500,000 to fund nearly two dozen interdisciplinary projects to advance research on topics related to anti-racism. In addition, USF is part of a group of universities nationwide participating in a three-year institutional change initiative to develop more inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring, retention and teaching practices.

The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.

USF will be featured, along with other recipients, in the November 2020 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs designed specifically to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs designed specifically to support academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support non-academic staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:


Black Faculty & Staff Assoication Mentorship Program-The USF Black Faculty and Staff Association Mentoring Program is designed to support underrepresented and under-served minority undergraduate and graduate students at the University of South Florida. This objective is achieved by providing the students’ access to faculty and staff members who act as mentors and assist students in successfully navigating their academic journey at USF. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs geared towards advancing their academic and professional growth. The program also aims to increase retention rates among students of color at USF by demystifying the higher education experience. In alignment with the BFSA vision, the program models "service through mentorship."

VICTIM ADVOCACY & VIOLENCE PREVENTION: The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention provides free and confidential services to USF students, faculty and staff, both men and women, who have experienced crime, violence, or abuse, for incidents occurring on or off campus, recently or in the past.
STUDENT OUTREACH & SUPPORT: The Students of Concern Assistance Team (SOCAT) is here to work with students who may be troubled or whose behavior is of concern to others. SOCAT was started as a way to identify and provide support to a student before more significant problems arise.
DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: The Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity is committed to fostering an institutional climate that is welcoming, inclusive, and safe for students, faculty, staff and visitors. As a system-wide office they promote initiatives that contribute to the diversity of our institution and celebrate the rich heritage in our campus community and the region.
STUDENT OMBUDS OFFICE: An ombudsman (or ombuds) is a neutral third party who helps students and/or employees address problems, concerns, and complaints through informal means such as conversation, mediation, and other problem solving strategies. Many campuses, state agencies, and corporations have an ombuds.
COUNSELING CENTER: The Counseling Center promotes students' psychological wellness and academic success by providing students high quality, culturally competent counseling, mental health education training and outreach in collaboration with the university community.

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

The University of South Florida announced it is one of 20 universities joining a nationwide, three-year institutional change initiative to develop more inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring, retention and teaching practices.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) co-leads the effort, known as Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty, along with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A researcher in the lab
USF and other participating universities will begin their work with a self-assessment of current strengths and opportunities. The institutions will then develop and implement campus action plans to drive change and scale efforts across all of their STEM programs. The alliance provides participating universities with comprehensive support and resources for institutional change, including access to national partners.

The effort is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of its Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) initiative. The group of universities recently announced join 15 universities who started their work on the project earlier this year.

“USF is immensely proud to join Aspire’s second cohort in the Institutional Change Network,” said Ralph Wilcox, provost and executive vice president. “We are committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse population of faculty members and fostering their success. Increased support and guidance will provide even more opportunities for USF to grow as an inclusive environment for new and returning STEM faculty members.”

Despite the centrality of diversity in learning and student success, efforts to increase underrepresented faculty nationally have not been as successful as intended, particularly in STEM. A 2019 NSF analysis revealed that underrepresented minority faculty occupied nine percent of professorships in STEM fields at four-year institutions. Other research shows when diverse faculty members teach underrepresented students, they achieve at significantly higher rates and can result in eliminating as much as 20 to 50 percent of the achievement gaps in courses.

Several members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), which USF aspires to join, are part of APLU’s initiative, including Iowa State University; University of California, Davis; University of Florida; University of Missouri; and University of Texas at Austin.

“Recruiting, hiring, and retaining more inclusive and diverse STEM faculty on our campuses is essential for the increased success of all STEM students, the increased quality and production of our scientists, and public universities’ ability to achieve their mission to improve lives,” said Travis York, APLU’s Assistant Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs.

Through a strategic focus on student success over the past decade, USF has achieved national recognition for eliminating the gap in student graduation rates by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The APLU effort will further enhance USF’s ability to serve its students by incorporating additional inclusion training with all STEM faculty. It will also support efforts to recruit faculty whose demographics reflect an increasingly diverse student population.

“If we are going to envision broader participation of underrepresented groups in engineering, computer science, and scientific disciplines, it is critical that students have faculty role models who they can relate to and emulate,” said Jóse Zayas-Castro, professor and executive associate dean of the USF College of Engineering. Zayas-Castro plays a leading role in several initiatives within his college and university-wide that focus on recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, as well as helping recent USF PhD graduates obtain academic positions.

USF hopes to build on the campus-wide work currently underway that recently led to the university earning the national Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award for its ongoing commitment to prioritizing diversity and inclusion.

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:


Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of that person's sex.

Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status, or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII. For more information about LGBT-related sex discrimination claims.

Cultural Competence and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is managed and delivered by multiple departments. USF HR partners with departments to make information about training opportunities available through the HR website, to assist with making training spaces available (SVC 2070, Canvas), and to provide support with setting up enrollment and documentation of training completions through GEMS.
Examples of training delivered:
• I am Latino
• Disability Etiquette
• Harassment Prevention
• Implicit Bias
• Dismantling Racism Study Circles (this is a new offering for Fall 2020)
• AccessiBULL Disability Ally
• Active Bystander
• All I’m Asking is Respect
• Diversity Lecture Series
• Diversity Hiring Best Practices
• Schemas and Stereotypes
• Safe Zone
• UndocuALLY
• Got Your 6, Veteran Success

Departments that train and deliver content:
• The Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Equal Opportunity
• The Office of Multicultural Affairs
• Student Accessibility Services
• Office of Veteran Success

Linked In Learning is available to all USF faculty & staff on-demand. LinkedIn Learning provides addtional robust training videos and courses robust training on these topic

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.