More from Dean of the USF Libraries
- Identifying, partnering, and engaging the USF Libraries, university, and community in diversity and anti-racist initiatives that broaden access, equity and inclusion.
- Communicating USF Libraries diversity, anti-racism and equity related efforts, activities, and initiatives.
- Providing diversity, anti-racism and equity related professional development opportunities for all members of staff at USF Libraries.
- Assessing library efforts and offering recommendations to University Libraries administration for library wide diversity, anti-racism, and equity initiatives.
2020-2021 USF Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Committee
As the student success librarian at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library I am committed to making sure all of our students have the tools and space to succeed. Diversity and Inclusion initiatives I have worked on include creating signage for our gender neutral bathroom, a diversity and inclusion assessment of our webpage, taking part in planning the second annual diversity and inclusion conference at the St. Petersburg campus, facilitating a Native American land acknowledgement for the campus, as well as attending and providing trainings regarding diversity and inclusion. I am passionate about social justice, intersectionality and antiracism. I am always learning and growing through this work.
Diversity and Inclusion initiatives have always been something I have been interested in supporting throughout my career. My experience with diversity and inclusion goes back to work I did at Virginia Tech and including serving on multiple diversity and inclusion committees, serving as a diversity trainer and creating opportunities for others to learn about diversity, inclusion and African American history through collaborative work. I am pleased to be able to support the work of our current USF Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Committee and anti-racist efforts throughout the university.
When I started working at USF, over 20 years ago. I was the only African American working in the library at the “front desk” at that time. Several student told me, I was the 1st African American they have ever seen working at a desk in a library. I told my supervisor, she told me to join the D & I committee. She said, I could help students feel like, they can be a part of the big picture.
Being on the committee helps me to understanding that each individual is unique and different. I am learning from people from all different walks of life. Whether it’s a difference in culture, religion, education or background. I hope I am helping others understand our difference as well.
As the marketing and outreach librarian at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library I am interested in finding ways to share diversity and inclusion topics with others as well as connecting them helpful resources. I do this through organizing library exhibits, events, social media, as well as partnering with others on campus and in the community. I hope that through these initiatives and others, to build a more diverse and inclusive community and inspire critical thinking and conversations.
As an Instructional Designer, I work with a variety of instructors and courses and have seen first hand the impact diversity and inclusion efforts can have in the online classroom. I am particularly interested in helping to provide resources so instructors can include more diverse voices in their classrooms. I am also a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs which provides Guide and Service Dogs for people with vision loss and veterans with PTSD. My goal is to help ensure USF is an inclusive place for all students, faculty, and staff.
Diversity and Inclusion are subjects that are incredibly important to me. In my personal and work life, diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of my actions and commitments. My journey, starting as a teenager to now, has taught me the importance of diversity to create a more positive, empathetic, and peaceful community. To me, it’s about breaking the cycle of whitewashed education, history, and those hidden biases we are taught throughout our lives that will evolve us into a better society. In my work life, I make diversity and inclusion a priority while hiring, and with my current student employees. I create a safe and judgment-free space for them to talk about the social issues happening in the world and their own experiences dealing with racism, prejudices, and injustices. I support these dialogues from our future generations to encourage a society that listens and lifts each other up.
My personal experience with diversity and inclusion began in college and while working at Walt Disney World. For the first time, I was introduced to cultures, oral histories, and lifestyles I had never known about. It felt like a whole other world had been unlocked and I had a desire to learn more. Focusing on diverse and inclusive literature, I ended up taking a year off of school, traveled to different counties, and even got to work in a Muslim Secondary School in London. I am also a Peace and Justice Practitioner for the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College. This training included intensive 6-month training on diversity, inclusion, hidden biases, and social justice to practice principles for how we treat each other.
David Shedden serves as the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library’s Special Collections Librarian and provides research assistance, library instruction, and collection development support for journalism and history. He was a researcher, archivist, and the Director of the Library at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies for more than 25 years. David is currently working with a number of USF colleagues on the African American Experience in Florida Collections Initiative and Portal, the Native American land acknowledgement initiative, the African American Burial Grounds & Remembering Project, and The Weekly Challenger African American digital newspaper archive. (https://lib.stpetersburg.usf.edu/weeklychallenger) As part of the library’s partnership with the Florida Humanities Council, he helped create the “African American History Archive: An Audio, Print, and Video Bibliography.” (https://floridahumanities.org/media/african-american-archive/) Recently David joined the USF St. Petersburg campus’s Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Issues of Diversity and Inclusive Community.
Allison Symulevich is the Scholarly Communications Librarian. She is the liaison librarian for Criminology, Political Science, Forensic Studies, & Legal Studies. Allison is interested in diversity and inclusion initiatives, especially LGBTQ+ issues.