LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University is starting the academic year with a strong commitment to an environment of respect, support, and adequate representation of minorities on campus. The University created the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to play a critical role in supporting students and employees of all races, ethnicities, genders, faiths, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds.
“We highly value diversity as an academic institution and it is important that all of our efforts reflect that,” said Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Poly. “This new office will help our University become an even more inclusive campus, with a clear mission to continue growing diversity and making Florida Poly a place where everyone has a sense of belonging.”
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will work with human resources to build programs and processes that support diversity efforts throughout the University. These include a survey of students, faculty, and staff about the current diversity environment; scheduling speakers who represent various backgrounds and identities; coordinating culturally engaging events; and creating an infrastructure that will serve as the foundation for expanding diversity and inclusivity on campus.
The new office was established this semester at the recommendation of the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which meets regularly to prioritize issues of diversity on campus. The chair of that committee, Rick Maxey, will lead the new office.
“Studies have shown that students learn better when they see faculty who are representative of their backgrounds and identities,” said Maxey, who will assume the new title of assistant vice president for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “This initiative is a demonstration of the commitment by Dr. Avent and shows that he and the entire University care about each and every student and employee as people, first and foremost.”
Maxey said the new office will enrich the student experience by reducing the feelings of isolation that can occur among members of underrepresented groups, and by growing the comfort in which people interact with one another. The office also aims to expand students’ worldviews through opportunities to work and socialize with people from diverse backgrounds.
“We want to ensure that everyone at Florida Poly sees a reflection of themselves and realizes that they matter, and their contributions matter,” Maxey said.
Students, faculty, and staff who want to know more about the new Office of Diversity and Inclusion can email here.
Director of Communications