Employee Affinity Networks


The Faculty and Staff of Color Association (FSOCA) of the University of Southern Maine offers leadership and support to the university community by advocating for, creating, and strengthening a culture of diversity, respect, and understanding of peoples from diverse backgrounds and with myriad skills and talents. Please contact Keith Danner and Natallie Gentles-Gibbs for more information.


  • Provide a safe space and a forum for faculty and staff of color to address issues and to promote justice and inclusive excellence.
  • Sponsor and support creative and scholarly work that promotes and builds community among faculty and staff of color.
  • Support the hiring, retention and success of faculty and staff of color to build excellence, enrich diversity, and enhance inclusion at USM.
  • Build community, provide support, and advocacy for students of color at USM.
  • Engage with communities and organizations across the University of Maine System and across the State of Maine to confront racism in order to promote inclusion, equity, and success.

The intent of the LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Group is to be a place for members of this affinity group to come together and connect in a way that transcends the individual roles and silos of our everyday lives and instill a sense of belonging where there was not one previously. This is a chance for social connection, engagement with peers, a place to let one’s guard down, and an opportunity to act as an agent for change and promote advocacy and education on diversity and LGBTQ+ issues in our higher education setting. While the focus is on employee engagement, there are some byproducts of this connection that will support students and the broader community: resource identification (and development), bridge-building programming, and LGBTQ+ visibility across campus. Please contact Meghan Barrett and Christopher Horack for more information.

The Neurodivergent & Disabled (NDD) Affinity Group meets for lunch via Zoom once a month on the second Thursday of the month. We use a Google Group, which populates the lunches into members’ Google calendars. Some members are more interested in community, while others are more interested in advocacy, and then we have some who are interested in both! Lunch is usually a little of both, though we’ve been leaning more towards community and letting advocacy organically spring from those conversations. We also have an ADA support group that meets as needed to discuss the ADA accommodation request process and provide anecdotal experience. Please contact Danielle Letourneau and Renee Cote for more information.

A large group of students sit with their arms raised in the air, on top of a wall that spells out 'University of Southern Maine".
About the image at the top of the page: The East Bayside Community Mural, at the corner of Anderson and Fox Streets in Portland, is a collaboration between our Art Department’s Artist-in-Residence program, School of Social Work, and local company Coffee By Design. Led by Senegalese artist Muhsana Ali, the mosaic incorporates materials donated by the neighborhood’s K-12 students and residents.