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UF seeks greater diversity among faculty

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Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2009 12:00 am

UF President Bernie Machen is expanding efforts to further diversity among UF's faculty and student body.

The newly created Council on Diversity will be in charge of collecting and analyzing data from different colleges and departments, as well as proposing policies to increase diversity around UF, according to an e-mail sent by Machen on the Deans, Directors and Department Chairs Listserv.

UF spokesman Steve Orlando said the search for diversity is an ongoing issue.

"Diversity is always a challenge that we face," Orlando said. "It is difficult to create that level of diversity where everyone is comfortable and happy."

Orlando said the creation of the new council is one way the president believes we can achieve this level.

Several universities have taken similar actions throughout Florida, such as Florida State University, which is in the process of creating its diversity council.

The University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University and the University of North Florida also have similar groups.

UF's committee will examine approaches by fellow universities, according to the e-mail.

Larry Ellis, director of administration and equal employment opportunities at UF, said larger cities such as Orlando and Miami have an easier time recruiting a diverse student body and faculty.

"People look for a rich culture that Gainesville doesn't offer," he said.

Ellis said the implementation of the new council is a step in the right direction.

"Our goal is to have a faculty as diverse as the state of Florida," he said. "And students as diverse as our faculty."

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