Custom content sponsored by University of South Florida
In large corporations and big public universities, it’s often difficult to get things done quickly. Committees must be formed. Reviews must be conducted. Input from all corners of the organization must be sought.
The University of South Florida in Tampa Bay recently pulled off something remarkable: It conceived, developed, promoted and presented a free online certificate program — Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace — in just six months.
Even more impressive was the response: 135,000 people from companies and universities across the nation and around the world signed up for the program marketed solely by email, organic social media and word of mouth. Forty-seven percent of students earned a certificate by completing the program — triple the rate of the typical massive open online course.
The certificate program was one way this public university of three campuses and more than 50,000 students responded to the 2020 death of George Floyd and the national unrest and reckoning that followed. The course — broadcast live each Wednesday for seven weeks starting in March 2021 — was intended to help organizations become more diverse, address equity issues in their workplaces and foster more inclusive environments.
“It was a game-changer,” said Alexis N. Mootoo, a longtime USF employee and faculty member who wrote the curriculum for the certificate program. “This one makes the university shine. More importantly, the university shows organizations how to do better by their people. That’s nothing but awesome.”
Here, Mootoo shares three lessons learned from this rapid process to create a curriculum from scratch that could serve as a model for other universities.