Florida Sea Grant’s Commitment to DEI
(Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
June 17, 2020


The Florida Sea Grant College Program is proud to embrace the efforts of the national network in systematically beginning to address DEI issues within our program. The information on this page builds on that national framework and specifically identifies action items for the coming year.

The Background information (below) is drawn from the strategic DEI 10-year vision plan developed with support of the National Sea Grant Office; the report is entitled “Reaching Outward and Looking Inward: Building Resilience through the Lens of DEI.” Released on October 12, 2018, the report contains an excellent summary of the need for these efforts and some first steps, including:[1]

    • Recommendation 1: Network Building
    • Recommendation 2: Targeted Research Calls
    • Recommendation 3: Undergraduate and/or Graduate Student Fellowships

As addressing DEI will be an ongoing commitment, we recognize that action items will need to constantly be updated; as such, this site will change as we complete some action items and identify others.

At this time, I pledge to uphold and augment these efforts to ensure a continued focus in expanding our programming to reach a broader audience. I am open to discussions on this topic and encourage everyone to reach out, at any time. At the same time, I will be trying to reach in, since this effort is one that must come from within as it is not the responsibility of underserved individuals and communities to educate me. I also acknowledge that this is a learning process and I am likely to make mistakes – in both words and actions. I ask for your patience as I grow and learn, and I pledge to always do better; in return, I ask for forgiveness for the missteps I am bound to make as they will be coming from a place of ignorance not malice.

Dr. Sherry L. Larkin, Director



A leader in research, extension, and education for more than fifty years, Sea Grant fosters the practical use and conservation of coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources in order to create a sustainable economy and environment. Achieving this mission requires talented and committed teams working together to build innovative solutions that can be disseminated to a broad community. An essential component of these teams is the full inclusion and participation of individuals from a broad diversity of backgrounds, who bring a range of perspectives, values, and tools to bear on major scientific problems.

With an initial investment from the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO), the Sea Grant network led the development of a strategic DEI 10-year vision plan, entitled “Reaching Outward and Looking Inward: Building Resilience through the lens of DEI” (p. 4; released 10/12/18). The theme signifies the goal to extend Sea Grant’s solid foundation of “science serving America’s coasts;” share its 50-year success; anticipate, prepare and respond to future changes; and model the way as a visionary program that embraces and nurtures all aspects of DEI.


Sea Grant DEI Vision

Sea Grant champions diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by proactively recruiting, retaining and preparing a diverse workforce; and engaging and serving communities that are representative of the populations where our programs operate. DEI are defined as core values for Sea Grant in the following way:

Diversity: Sea Grant embraces individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, education levels, job classifications, veteran status types, income, and socioeconomic status types. Sea Grant is committed to increasing diversity of the Sea Grant workforce and communities we serve.

Equity: Sea Grant provides all individuals and communities with the opportunity to be heard in decision- making processes. Sea Grant is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons. Sea Grant works to challenge and respond to bias, harassment and discrimination.

Inclusion: Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking and learning. Sea Grant cultivates a sense of belonging among staff, partners, and communities served.

In other words,

Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party.

Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist.

Inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.”

Robert Sellers, Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan


FSG Action Steps

Proposed Action Progress (09/08/20)
1.     Develop programmatic pledge, etc. DEI vision, mission and commitment statement have been drafted
2.     Address DEI in background information about our programs online and in social media accounts   Created webpage, need to address on social media
3.     Include DEI as an explicit criterion in hiring and for funding and awards Incorporated into aquaculture supplemental and P.D. RFPS (research/extension) and into job descriptions for new coordinators (admin.), need to ensure review process considers
4.     Establish campus coordinators at FAMU, Bethune-Cookman Univ., and Edward Waters College (HBCU’s) to facilitate inclusion in FSG programming a)     Completed and added to listservs
5.     Improve internal culture on DEI Regular “All Heads” meetings have included DEI as an agenda item to discuss internal and external efforts, which will continue
6.     Pursue formal DEI training for staff (e.g., implicit bias, etc.) Pursuing training for December through UF’s Café Latino
7.     Conveying DEI priorities and ensuring culture is maintained with partners and volunteers (where relevant) Nothing systematic to report
8.     Dedicate programming efforts in support of DEI (e.g., appoint an FSG DEI Coordinator) Nothing tangible to report but ideas are being considered
9.     Increase the number of written materials that are translated into Spanish This is happening, will report numbers after the first of the year
10.  Increase number of minorities or minority groups represented on agents and state-level advisory committees Nothing systematic to report


[1] This document serves as the primary reference for this summary; as such, several passages are verbatim but without explicit reference. Please consult the source document for referencing.