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Friday, September 30, 2022

UF announces Marsha McGriff to be the university’s chief diversity officer after 8-month search

McGriff is expected to assume position on December 6

UF appointed its second ever chief diversity officer after an 8-month-long search for the right candidate for the position.

Marsha McGriff, UF’s new chief diversity officer, will build upon current and previous work, lead diversity, equity and inclusion strategic planning, build a culture of accountability and transparency on progress made, and engage with community leaders and student diversity groups. 

Following the resignation of the university’s former and first chief diversity officer, Antonio Farias, in February, UF President Kent Fuchs appointed a search committee of 16 students, faculty and staff to find someone to fill the position.

Two rounds of interviews took place since the resignation searching for possible candidates. McGriff was chosen as a finalist in early October and will now serve as UF’s chief diversity officer and senior advisor to the president.

“I’m thrilled that Dr. McGriff will be joining the University of Florida,” Fuchs said. “She is a proven leader with more than two decades of experience in developing and leading strategic initiatives to further diversity and inclusion in higher education. I look forward to working with her to advance UF as a university that is second to none in welcoming, celebrating and supporting all students, faculty and staff.”

McGriff is currently the associate vice president for inclusive excellence at Ball State University. 

The last chief diversity officer, Antonio Farias, would set up and attend various events for student groups, met with diversity leaders and individuals that made up the UF community and provided both financial support and resources to all.

During the 8-month-long search, the position was vacant with the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer staff left to fulfill the duties of the role. Student diversity groups said the vacancy did have an effect on the progress of president Fuchs’s promises following the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

As the chief diversity officer at UF, McGriff’s strategic vision: ‘Vision 2026: Inclusive Excellence in Action,” describes her guiding principles, leadership philosophy and her plans for building and expanding the university’s work on diversity and inclusion.

One of the things she promised to uphold at UF, which many students hoped the new chief diversity officer would do so, is to use data and assessment to make decisions about diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and programs on campus and reports to account for the progress made through quarterly updates that would be made available for everyone.

In 2020, UF admitted the lowest number of Black students within the past five years before that, according to its data. The number of Black students enrolled at UF has stayed under 10% since 2008.

Apart from accountability, students from diversity groups like the Black Graduate Student Organization and Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science UF chapter want the chief diversity officer to be an advocate and ally for students, faculty and staff who have been historically excluded from higher education and underrepresented.

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For McGriff, she plans to establish the role of chief diversity officer as the campus partner for faculty, staff and students in diversity, equity and inclusion and to educate, empower, serve and support groups and individuals at the university.

At Ball State University, McGriff led the Office of Inclusive Excellence as the chief diversity officer. She also supervised faculty, administrative support, graduate students, interns and the campus ADA coordinator.

McGriff has worked to improve diversity and inclusion in higher education for over 20 years, according to her resume.

She received her bachelors of science degree and masters of education from Tuskegee University and her doctoral degree in education from Creighton University.

Before her time at Ball State University, McGriff was the director of the Hudson & Holland Scholars program at the Indiana University office of the vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs.

At Ball State University, McGriff launched the LGBTQIA+ Allies Faculty and Staff Affinity group while supporting other groups like the Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Asian American and Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association and the Latinx/a/o Faculty and Staff Association which launched this Fall. 

McGriff also created the campus’ inaugural Inclusive Excellence Plan and Inclusive Excellence Toolkit, while working with the Provost, human resources, affirmative action, institutional research to implement an Inclusive Hiring Plan to increase faculty and staff diversity. 

She also worked with and all academic deans to create Inclusive Excellence/ Diversity Plans for each college and academic unit. 

In 2019, McGriff had received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, making it the fifth consecutive year the university had been recognized nationally on their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus.

According to a UF News article, McGriff is expected to assume her role as chief diversity officer and senior advisor to the President on Dec. 6. 

Contact Camila Pereira at cpereira@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @CamilaSaPereira.

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Camila Pereira

Camila is a third-year journalism student and the administration reporter on the university desk. When she is not reporting for The Alligator, Camila is always listening to music and probably drinking honey milk tea.


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