Karen Morrison, UCF’s chief diversity officer, joined the university in November:

A big thank you to all of the UCF Knights who have welcomed me as the new Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). In my first five months on campus, I’ve had an opportunity to meet many of you, discuss perspectives on the expanded role of a CDO at UCF, and explore our successes and the challenges we face pursuing UCF’s goal of becoming “more inclusive and diverse.”

I would like to update you on several of our immediate priorities and some exciting upcoming projects and ways you can get involved. I also hope that you will share your opinions and strategies with me and my team in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to advance an inclusive culture for all staff, students, and faculty.

Essentially, my role as our university’s CDO is to facilitate collaboration and communication across the campus and with the larger community; to develop effective training and educational events; and to support efforts to improve the professional and learning environment.

Creating this important position and the current work in our office signals a change of course for UCF on these issues. Some of the projects currently underway are:

  • a new website to improve communication about the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s services and opportunities;
  • enhanced engagement and education via Facebook and Twitter; and
  • a fall campaign called RESPECT UCF, leading into the 2015 UCF Diversity Week, which will be Oct. 12-16 and focus collective attention to our priorities of diversity and inclusion.
  • In the coming month, a UCF Diversity and Inclusion Working Group with broad campus representation will begin its effort to:

  • improve cross-campus communication and collaboration;
  • exchange data and strategies for improving our university’s culture that will support the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students;
  • discuss policies and procedures for campus diversity and inclusion efforts, training, and events;
  • cross-promote programs and events; and
  • anticipate issues and opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion at UCF.
  • If you would like to be involved in these conversations, I hope that you will send an email to diverse@ucf.edu.

    On our website, you can find more information about training, along with opportunities to explore with us a new approach to excellence in higher education diversity and inclusion.

    Thank you for your dedication to create a climate of respect at UCF for all of us and to build a university that stands for opportunity.