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Hordge-Freeman, Penniecook enter new roles to strengthen inclusion efforts

A permanent interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion will be decided later this year, according to Law.

Senior Advisor to the President and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman and Vice Dean for Education and Faculty Affairs in the College of Public Health Tricia Penniecook will begin new positions to progress diversity efforts at USF, according to a university-wide email sent Friday by President Rhea Law.

Law said the decisions come at a time when the university is progressing and solidifying its approach to diversity efforts.

“At USF, we have refocused our steadfast support of all members of the university’s community by reorganizing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and by establishing an institutional strategic plan that identifies diversity, equity and inclusion as an institutional commitment,” she wrote.

Beginning her role as interim associate vice provost for faculty recruitment, retention and engagement Aug. 7, Hordge-Freeman will work closely with Interim Provost Eric Eisenberg’s leadership team. Her efforts are expected to implement programs and strategies that enhance the university’s inclusion efforts through faculty excellence, according to Law.

Hordge-Freeman’s current roles as senior advisor and interim vice president for institutional equity allowed her to lead discussions on systemic racism during the national outcry over the murder of George Floyd, Law wrote. She also assisted in reenvisioning the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and developed new recruitment initiatives for students and faculty.

Penniecook will step into her new role as interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, with Hordge-Freeman remaining as senior advisor for a brief period of time to ensure a smooth transition for Penniecook, the email said.

In her role as vice dean, Penniecook led the College of Public Health through an academic master planning process and integrated a plan to address diversity efforts and systemic racism in the college, Law wrote.

The position will be filled permanently later this year, according to Law, as the search advisory committee recently hosted its kick-off meeting.

Advancing diversity and inclusion strategies at the university is something Law said she is excited to see progress.

“I look forward to … building on our commitment to providing an inclusive, vibrant community that strives to remove barriers and support the success of our diverse community members,” she wrote.