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University of Florida Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Advisor to the President Position in Gainesville, FL

Thursday, March 01, 2018 8:58 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)

Role of Chief Diversity Officer and Senior

Advisor to the President 

The University of Florida is currently recruiting for an accomplished visionary to lead the university’s diversity efforts and establish a new standard for inclusive excellence. As a member of the president’s cabinet, the chief diversity officer and senior advisor to the president will have a strategic position responsible for promoting and enabling an exceptional environment for faculty, students, and staff. The position reports directly to the president, with close working relationships with the provost as well as the chief operating officer. The position serves as an advisor to the president and the president’s cabinet.

The chief diversity officer provides leadership, expertise, and vision for the university’s new coordinated model for diversity and inclusion. The position serves in a collaborative and coordinating role with college and work-unit employees who are responsible for diversity and inclusion. The chief diversity officer facilitates sharing of best practices and identifies opportunities for greater alignment and more unified efforts across campus. The position will chair a senior advisory group of UF scholars and professionals providing expertise and support for initiatives.

Priorities for this role are strategy and engagement; coordination and alignment; communications and issues management; and success metrics. Working with the appropriate cabinet member or university leader, the chief diversity officer may focus on learning and research; recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff; community relations; and university communications.

Opportunities and Expectations for


Strategy and engagement: Serves as the university’s executive-level strategist responsible for guiding practices and creating opportunities to define, assess, and promote inclusive excellence, access, and cultural proficiency. Collaborates with deans, campus leaders, students, and other key stakeholders to identify institutional priorities and short-term objectives that align with the university’s strategic goals as articulated in The Decade Ahead and enhance UF’s national reputation. Chairs a senior advisory group of UF scholars and professionals for whom diversity and inclusion are areas of expertise.

Coordination and alignment: Works with diversity and inclusion liaisons throughout the university to support inclusive excellence. Facilitates shared best practices and identifies opportunities for greater alignment to ensure a more unified university-wide effort, when appropriate. Reinforces and supports a collaborative and decentralized approach. As budget allows, seeds faculty research to advance inclusive excellence and/or provides resources to support appropriate efforts at the college and work-unit level.

Communications and issues management: Working with other senior leaders, provides subject-matter expertise related to emerging diversity and inclusion issues throughout the university and local communities. Develops a cohesive narrative of what inclusive excellence and diversity mean at UF and works with other leaders to communicate this vision consistently within the UF community and externally.

Success metrics: Establishes and leverages key metrics to demonstrate both quantitative and qualitative progress toward a climate of inclusion.

Expertise, consultation, and compliance: Provides evidence-based insight to support diversity and inclusion. Engages and consults with the Office of the Provost, Student Affairs, Human Resources, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, and other expert stakeholders to help support related efforts, including compliance, throughout campus.

Qualities and Qualifications

The university seeks a proven leader with demonstrated vision and the ability to execute for results. The successful candidate must have a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities present at a large, comprehensive research university or comparably complex enterprise; a record as a champion of diversity and inclusion; and an enthusiasm for advancing UF strategic initiatives. In addition, candidates should possess the following:

Executive Leadership and Vision

  • Ability to develop a clear vision and strategy consistent with the university’s mission and best practices
  • Demonstrated leadership skills that result in the production of high-quality services and exceptional standards
  • Strategic thinking with the capability of contributing at the senior administrative level and leading other leaders
  • Experience implementing and managing effective diversity change efforts within a university

Communication and Collaboration

  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills that reflect effective listening, humility, and authentic engagement with individuals at all levels
  • Ability to effect results through networks rather than hierarchy
  • Strong collaboration skills with individual and group partners
  • Ability to facilitate and sustain a culture of trust and confidence

Experience, Knowledge, and Education

  • Master’s degree with six years of relevant experience, or a bachelor’s degree with eight years
  • A terminal degree in a related field is strongly preferred; extensive executive leadership experience may be considered as a substitute
  • At least five years of experience in higher education, preferably at a large, complex research university
  • Knowledge of contemporary issues of inclusion, social justice, diversity, access, and equity, including the current scholarship and pedagogical approaches that inform and address these issues
  • Fundamental knowledge of how varied forms of institutional data can be leveraged to benchmark and track accountability for the diversity mission
  • Understanding of laws, regulations, and policies related to equity and diversity in higher education


Salary is competitive and commensurate with education and experience. The University of Florida offers a generous benefits package that includes insurances, such as health, life, and dental as well as vacation, sick leave and personal days.

Applications and Nominations

To Apply or Nominate Someone The UF Strategic Talent Group is assisting the University of Florida with this important search. To obtain additional position information or to submit nominations of highly qualified candidates, please contact Kathy McKee, Talent Consultant, at talent@hr.ufl.edu or 352-273-2841. Interested individuals may submit an application directly through Careers at UF. The application packet should include a cover letter detailing how the applicant’s experience and skills meet the qualities and qualifications articulated in the position announcement; a resume or curriculum vitae; and contact information for three references. (References will not be contacted prior to further communication with the applicant.)

Helpful Resources

The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The University is committed to non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, genetic information and veteran status in all aspects of employment including recruitment, hiring, promotions, transfers, discipline, terminations, wage and salary administration, benefits, and training.

The “government in the sunshine” laws of Florida require that all documents relating to the search process, including letters of application/nomination and reference, be available for public inspection.

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