Many colleges and universities across the United States have made significant efforts to increase student, faculty, and staff diversity. Diversity officers are found at a large number of colleges and universities throughout the United States. But despite the focus on increasing diversity, efforts to produce a campus community that reflects the nation’s demographic statistics have had mixed results at best.
The University of South Florida in Tampa is also focusing on a strategic initiative to increase spending with businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. The university reports that it has made significant gains.
In 2018-19, the University of South Florida spent nearly $35 million with diverse suppliers, an increase of nearly $8 million from the previous year and almost double the amount from 2016-17. Overall, 8.7 percent of the university’s competitively sourced purchases last year were made with diverse suppliers.
Terrie Daniel, assistant vice president of supplier diversity at the university stated that “the University of South Florida is deeply committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, including with the Tampa Bay region’s business community.”
Daniel and her team continue to focus on outreach efforts and expanding programming opportunities for businesses to learn more about the university’s procurement processes and how they might be able to work with a large organization like USF. The office of supplier diversity also educates USF staff and faculty on best practices for considering minority, woman and veteran-owned businesses when making purchases.
The university will hold its third annual supplier diversity day next month. The all-day event brings together the Tampa Bay region’s business community with key purchasers from USF, aiming to strengthen relationships, further educate vendors about the university’s procurement process and offer guidance for successfully competing for future business opportunities at the university.