UNC-CH Ranks in Top 10 National Public Universities for African Americans

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – a top public research university with a strong focus on access and affordability and high graduation rates – ranks ninth among the nation’s best public universities for African Americans, according to MONEY and Essence magazines. The publications collaborated to analyze more than 1,500 four-year colleges and universities to single out the ones that offer the best value for African-American students.

To determine the 50 Best Schools for African Americans, the methodology focused on colleges and universities that offer both high value and a supportive environment measuring factors including graduation rates, affordability, earnings potential and representation. Among both national public and private institutions of higher education, Carolina ranked 23rd overall.

We are pleased to be acknowledged as one of the top institutions of higher education for African American students,” said Taffye Benson Clayton, associate vice chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and chief diversity officer. “As the nation’s first public university, with a distinct southern history and a global footprint, we are gratified by the growth and important milestones achieved in matters of race, diversity and inclusion at Carolina. We are encouraged by this recognition and aspire to accomplish even greater successes for African American students and all students on our campus.”

U.S. News and World Report has ranked Carolina in the top five of national public universities for 15 consecutive years and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has ranked the university first among the 100 best U.S. public colleges and universities that offer high-quality academics at an affordable price 15 times. The University also features 325 study abroad programs in 70 countries and it ranks among the nation’s most successful public universities in attracting research funding from federal agencies.

Additionally, Carolina provides outstanding access and affordability through signature programs like Carolina Covenant, UNC-Chapel Hill’s over a decade-long promise to low-income youth who earn admission that they can graduate debt-free with help from grants, scholarships and work-study jobs.

The university’s Carolina Firsts program has also created a pathway of opportunity for the almost 20 percent of UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduates who are the first in their family to attend college.

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 113 master’s, 68 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty – including two Nobel laureates – staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs

Related links:

Campus Climate Survey Launches

Carolina will conduct a survey of the climate for inclusion and diversity on campus from April 11 to May 7.

Staff and students will receive an email link to the Inclusion and Diversity Climate Survey. The staff survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Both the undergraduate and graduate and professional student surveys take approximately 25–35 minutes to complete.  A paper version of the survey will be available in Burmese, Karen and Spanish.

The survey is one of seven actions that Chancellor Carol L. Folt shared last December that will help address concerns that students, faculty and staff raised during the Nov. 19 Town Hall on race and inclusion that drew nearly 900 people to Memorial Hall, said Felicia A. Washington, vice chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement.

“Along with other University leaders, I am committed to creating an environment where everyone – students, faculty and staff – feels like they belong here,” Washington said. “It is not enough to say everyone has a right to be here. Our charge is to do all that we can to make everyone feel welcome – and engaged. This survey is just one tool that we can use to accomplish that.”

The survey is open to all students, both undergraduate and graduate, and all staff employees, whether permanent or temporary, Washington said. Faculty will receive a separate assessment that is focused on inclusion and diversity next academic year.

The survey will be administered by Higher Education Researcher Institute (HERI), a leading authority on institutional climate assessment with experience working with diverse learning environments.

The HERI research team will also hold focus groups in conjunction with the survey.

“We want everyone to participate in this survey,” Washington said. Several incentives being offered will encourage that participation.

All students who participate will receive a $5 Amazon gift card, while supplies last. All staff members will have their names placed in a drawing to win one of six iPad mini tablets.

“We want everybody, whether in their learning environment or their work environment, to feel a sense of belonging on this campus. This survey will help us learn what next steps are needed to ensure Carolina is that kind of place,” Washington said.

This is an updated version of the UNC Gazette story that ran on March 22, 2016

22nd National Health Equity Research Webcast to focus on political power

In its 22nd year, the National Health Equity Research Webcast, hosted by the Gillings School of Global Public Health in partnership with campus units will focus on the intersection of political power and health equity though the lens of voting, representation, and money.

The live broadcast will be aired on June 7th from 1:30 to 4:00PM from the Tate Turner Kuralt Auditorium in the School of Social Work. The webcast will feature a panel of three nationally recognized researchers and practitioners:

mthompson_downloadMildred Thompson, Senior Director and Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place – Thompson leads the organization’s health team, with work focusing on healthy food access, improving the built environment, and the systemic integration of health equity. A significant component of her work involves exploring community factors that impact health and identifying effective solutions. Prior to joining PolicyLink, she was director of community health services for Alameda County’s Public Health Department; director of Healthy Start; and director of the San Antonio Neighborhood Health Center. Mildred has degrees in nursing, psychology, and social work. She has taught at Mills College and San Francisco State University, and also worked as an organizational development consultant. Mildred is a frequent speaker on topics related to health equity and serves on several boards and commissions including The Zellerbach Family Foundation and she is co-chair of The Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and Elimination of Health Disparities.


villegasMalia Villegas, Director, National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center – Dr. Villegas is Sugpiaq/Alutiiq (Alaska Native) with family from Kodiak and Afognak Islands in Alaska and O’ahu and Lana’i in Hawai’i. She is an enrolled member of the Native Village of Afognak in Alaska. Malia earned her master’s degree and doctorate in Culture, Communities, and Education at Harvard University and completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University. She developed extensive relationships in the South Pacific through her Fulbright-funded dissertation research in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, serving as part of a team evaluating the first, national, longitudinal Indigenous education initiative since the 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generations – the Stronger Smarter Learning Communities Project that seeks to improve the leadership culture of schools serving Indigenous Australians.


Lydia CamarilloLydia Camarillo, Vice-President, Southwest Voter Registration Education Project – Camarillo plays a key role in developing and executing strategies for SVREP’s nonpartisan mobilization efforts. Lydia serves as Chair of the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force. She serves as Chair of the Texas Senate Latino Caucus and Mexican American Legislative Caucus Civic Engagement Taskforce. Lydia serves on the board of directors for MPMC and ACLU of Texas, Audit and Development Committees. She has served on numerous boards and commissions including on the National Board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Los Angeles Based City Project, Latino Issues Forum, Monterey County United Way Allocations Committee, Immigrant Rights Coalition for the Central Coast, Santa Cruz County Affirmative Action Commission, Salinas Affirmative Action Committee and the California Task Force on Hispanics and the Civil Service. Lydia has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.



Tom_Ross_300 2012President Emeritus, Professor of Public Law and Government, School of Government Thomas Warren Ross will serve as the moderator for this discussion. Ross joined the School of Government, then the Institute of Government, in 1975 as assistant professor of public law and government. He became a partner in a Greensboro law firm, chief of staff to a member of Congress, a superior court judge, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, president of Davidson College, and the fifth president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. He then returned to the School of Government in 2015 as professor of public law and government. Ross earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson and JD from UNC School of Law.


The annual live webcast is an interdisciplinary effort that builds on the expertise and support of UNC campus partners, community agencies, researchers and practitioners in health and education fields. The webcast appeals to organizations and individuals in North Carolina and across the nation with a focus on health equity, educational achievement and economic stabilization in all areas within our society.

Registration to view the broadcast as a studio audience or over the web will open soon. For more information about the National Health Equity Research Webcast, visit go.unc.edu/nherw

Inaugural Diversity in STEM Conference

Diversity in STEM Speakers with Dr. Taffye Benson ClaytonFaculty and staff from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a giant step toward better recruiting and educating a more diverse generation of scientists on Feb. 19 with the first Diversity in STEM Conference.

“It’s really important for us that we continue to think about ways that we value diversity, how it increases our educational impact to have a room full of people with different ideas, that come from different backgrounds that walked a different path into that very moment of debate and learning,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt.

Hosted by Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the daylong Diversity in STEM Conference was the first of its kind at Carolina.

Although the conversation of diversity in STEM has long been a focus of departments and groups around campus, the conference was the first opportunity for faculty and staff to have a University-wide dialogue.

And it is an important dialogue. Nationally, 40 percent of the students who enter college desiring a degree in the sciences, technology, engineering or math graduate from their planned majors. That number drops to 15 percent for underrepresented students.

With an already severe shortage of professionals with the skills required to find solutions for pressing issues, the ability to find different perspectives in that pool has become a challenge.

“The problems that we’re having in the world are becoming more complex,” said Marco Barker, senior director for Education, Operations and Initiatives for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “The challenges that we’re facing are really calling for different perspectives and diverse perspectives. We have to think differently about how we do science and who is doing science.

“As a campus, the way that we can make major progress and be able to move the University forward is leveraging what everyone is doing and coming together. The only way to do that is to have something like this.”

While Carolina is a top-tier institution and an academic leader, Barker said, the University still has room to grow in creating more diverse scientists — a necessity to remain a scientific leader.

But achieving the goal of diversity is more than just recruiting students; it means creating an environment the supports and nurtures those interested in science and math, he added.

That’s what organizers hope the Diversity in STEM Conference can help.

“These conversations are exciting,” said Taffye Benson Clayton, associate vice chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and chief diversity officer. “They’re about pedagogical approaches, about student thriving, developing inclusive classrooms for the sciences, and of course the more general of creating an inclusive campus climate.”

Throughout the conference, sessions were led by nationally-recognized diversity in STEM leaders. Speakers included Sylvia Hurtado, professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and division head for the Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA; John Matsui, co-founder and director of the Biology Scholars Program in the Department of Integrative Biology at University of California Berkley; Andrew Campbell, Associate Professor of Medical Science in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University; Rick McGee, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment & Professional Development and Professor in Medical Education in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Discussions focused on positive impacts of multicultural student populations and faculty, and the benefits of diverse research teams.

Richard Watkins, program coordinator for the Chancellor’s Science Scholars, said he hopes the sessions will create new dialogues and concepts that the faculty and staff members can take back to their departments. Doing so, he said, will be key to creating the next generation of scientists with diversity in mind.

“They’re going to be able to bring up some of these pieces which ultimately are absolutely critical to making the University better,” Watkins said. “We’re always looking for ways to provide belter services to not only students, but all of society. By having our faculty, staff and students walk away with knowledge that they possibly never have had before, it’s going to be absolutely amazing.

“It is our hope that it will make the University a much better place for people of all walks of life, and that we’re able to continue to produce grade-A talent that we’re able to put out into society to solve very, very challenging problems.“

By Brandon Bieltz, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Published February 19, 2016

UNC-CH Receives $1 Million Grant to Diversify MURAP

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP), a national program that aims to diversify the pool of students pursuing doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts.

MURAP works with students from underrepresented minority groups, and others with a proven commitment to diversity, to support their ambitions to attend graduate school and become faculty members.

The $1 million grant, whose principal investigator is MURAP’s director, Dr. Rosa Perelmuter of Carolina’s Department of Romance Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, builds on previous Mellon Foundation support for the program and will fund MURAP through September 2019.

“We deeply value our partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “Its continued support of programs like MURAP has helped to advance Carolina’s commitment to both opportunity and excellence. With the Mellon Foundation’s help, MURAP is building the future of higher education by offering a premier training ground for diverse students to achieve their dreams.”

Each summer, MURAP brings 20 rising college juniors and seniors from all over the United States to Carolina for a 10-week, graduate-level research experience. Carolina faculty members serve as mentors to the students and guide their research, which explores topics in the humanities, social sciences or fine arts. The program is highly competitive and attracts outstanding students from across the country who seek admission for each class.

“Our students leave the program with the tools they need to transition successfully to graduate school and an awareness of the importance of belonging to a cohort of like-minded, diverse individuals with whom they form strong bonds that help them as they advance through the academic pipeline,” said Perelmuter.

Since MURAP launched in 1989, 468 students have participated in the program, 76 have gone on to earn a Ph.D., 62 are employed in teaching or administrative positions in academia and 17 have received tenure.

Success stories include that of Folashade Alao, a 2000 MURAP alumna who is now an associate director of undergraduate research at the Emory College of Arts and Sciences.

“MURAP was a critical step in helping me develop as a scholar, sharpen my critical tools and think about what it means to study a subject,” Alao said. “It was also a place where I saw superb research and mentoring modeled.”

Other MURAP alumni have gone on to hold faculty positions at Harvard University, Duke University, Howard University and Dartmouth College, among other institutions, as well as positions with the UNC system at the Wilmington campus. MURAP alumnus Dr. Brian Johnson, now president of Tuskegee University, called the program a “defining point in my academic and intellectual development.”

Figures from the National Science Foundation’s “2013 Survey of Earned Doctorates” underscore the need for increased numbers of minorities earning doctorate degrees – only 6.4 percent of Ph.D.’s received were by African Americans, 8.5 percent by Asians, 6.4 percent by Hispanics and .35 percent by American Indians or Alaska Natives.

“UNC-Chapel Hill has for two decades been innovating a model for training students during the summer and socializing them to graduate school and scholarly careers,” said Dr. Armando Bengochea, program officer for Diversity at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. “This model complements other pipeline programs supported by the Mellon Foundation and especially reflects the goals of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF). The foundation is delighted to partner with UNC-Chapel Hill in the continuing evolution of its model and in the service of our common goals to diversify the American professoriate.”

The Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program is named for Mignon Moore, an associate professor of sociology at Barnard College and MURAP’s first Ph.D. Recipient.

Published February 11, 2016.

Rumay Alexander on the Importance of Asking “Why?”

Rumay Alexander loves questions.

Her favorite one has always been “Why?”

The simple word leads to explanations, which can become understanding. But at the very least, it begins a discussion.

“It’s those kinds of questions that will allow us, as a community, to become more inclusive,” Alexander said. “It’s not that you have to know everything, but it’s about how we work on ourselves and have enough self-awareness to say ‘You know, I need to ask some questions because more than likely, unintentionally, I’m not thinking of something.’”

Asking the right questions has become one of Alexander’s greatest tools as she works to make the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a better and more inclusive community through her new role as special assistant to Chancellor Carol L. Folt.

Appointed as Folt’s special assistant last November, Alexander — who also serves as the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the School of Nursing — is using her new role to integrate initiatives across campus to accelerate diversity, inclusion, and family and work-life balance. She is working closely with the University’s Office of Workforce, Equity and Engagement, the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, and the Office of Student Affairs, among others.

“Rumay brings a deep understanding and an experienced perspective on how we can more effectively establish an inclusive community for every one of our students, faculty members and staff,” Folt said. “She already is bringing together organizations from across campus to assess current programs and develop new initiatives to fill important gaps and advance our University.”

Already the diversity lead for the Schools of Public Health and Dentistry, and the Chair of the Faculty Committee on Community and Diversity, Alexander’s new position is the most recent stop in her long journey of building inclusive environments.

Navigating Tennessee

Alexander grew up in the small western-Tennessee town of Humboldt, where white and black residents were divided by a single train track. There, she quickly learned how to read her environment — and to build a personal grit that would help beat circumstances designed to set her up for failure.

As a sixth grader, Alexander begged her parents to let her and her younger sister join the 25 African-American students who would integrate the local all-white school. Although her parents were nervous – they well knew their daughter’s knack for confronting wrongs – they ultimately agreed.

“I was walking into a very dangerous space,” she said. “I was navigating that space as somebody who was intentionally educated inferior to my white counterparts.”

Not only were older students physically abusive — sometimes pushing the middle-schooler into lockers or down the stairs — Alexander said she was put in a situation created to make her fail in the classroom as well.

For years, Alexander had been learning by using outdated textbooks — the ones passed down to her school after the all-white school received updated books. She immediately went from an honor roll student to D’s.

It took her a year of staying up until 3 in the morning, then getting extra help from teachers, before she caught up with her classmates.

But she did.

“This is what you’ve got to do,” she remembers telling herself at the time. “You just have to do this if you are going to achieve your hopes, dreams and aspirations.”

After high school, Alexander attended the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She went on to receive a master’s in nursing from Vanderbilt University and then a doctorate in education from Tennessee State University.

“I loved everything about what nurses did,” she said. “That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m a nurse and proud of it. … I’ve taken care of patients and advocated for them, I’ve been at the bedside, I’ve been a nurse supervisor and I’ve been faculty.”

A huge chunk of Alexander’s work also has been in the public policy arena. In 1981, she became the senior vice president of the Tennessee Hospital Association. As the only nurse, the youngest vice president and the only person of color in the association, Alexander was a triple-minority at the white-male dominated organization.

There, she made her next big push into creating inclusion.

“When you have been considered ‘the least and not one with legitimate standing on the rungs of humanity,‘ you can speak about the lived experience and impact of such a label,” she said.

Representing those who provided hands-on care, Alexander’s job was to bring the needs of the nurses’ and others care providers’ concerns to the forefront of hospital issues.

“My position was often one of ‘How do I help [the association and its members] understand they’re not being inclusive or that there are other perspectives to consider?’” she said. “They were very well-meaning, very smart and intelligent individuals, but what you don’t know, you don’t know. Part of my job was to put the wicked questions on the table and allow a safe way for people to respond and then to facilitate the courageous dialogues around intended and unintended consequences. “

Fostering human flourishing in Chapel Hill

For 21 years, Alexander ignited those inclusive conversations with the Tennessee Hospital Association. Then in 2003, she brought her skillset to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Alexander has served as the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the School of Nursing for more than a decade, leading diversity programs such as retention of faculty, students and staff, and a diversity discussion series.

“I believe that success is transferable,” she said. “If something works over here, what parts of that can work in this place? My worlds all blend. I will pull from all those places and all those experiences.”

And now, what worked for her in Tennessee and in the School of Nursing is being put into practice campus-wide: making sure everybody is represented in decision-making and having what Alexander calls “courageous dialogues”.

These dialogues, she said, begin with asking questions and learning to understand perspectives outside one’s own.

“Most people, when you ask them about diversity, they give you the dimensions of diversity — how we differ,” Alexander said. “That becomes race, ethnicity, physical abilities, gender, sexuality and you can go on and on. But that’s how we manifest differences often referred to ‘diversity of presence.’ I define diversity as holding multiple perspectives without judgment. It’s the judgment part that gets us in trouble.”

By coming to a better understanding of what people know and what they don’t know, Alexander said, positive strides can be made. That’s why she hopes viewpoints from throughout the Carolina community can help mold diversity goals — and make an impact on the retention and recruiting of minority faculty and other coordinated initiatives across campus.

It all begins by using her favorite question: “Why?”

“My overarching goal is ‘human flourishing,’” she said. “That’s for faculty, that’s for staff, that’s for students. When we better understand, we can help others flourish.”

By Brandon Bieltz, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Published February 4, 2015.

University Diversity Awards Nominations Open

Nominations for the annual University Diversity Awards are now open for recognition of individuals, units, and organizations who have given their time and effort to further diversity and inclusion at Carolina and in our surrounding community.  The awards will be given in the eight following categories:

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Undergraduate Student
  • Graduate/Professional Student
  • Department/Unit/Faculty and Staff Group
  • Student Organization
  • Alumni
  • Community Member/Organization

Awards criteria are as follows:

  • Advocated for diversity, equity, and inclusion of underrepresented groups and/or social justice
  • Demonstrated a sustained commitment to the advancement of cultural diversity and inclusion at UNC and/or in the community
  • Demonstrated respect or inclusive treatment when interacting with others
  • Implemented or sponsored an event which cultivates diversity and inclusion

Submissions are due by Monday, February 29 and can be submitted electronically to http://diversity.unc.edu/diversityawardsapp

Further details about the award and nomination process are available at http://diversity.unc.edu/diversityawards.

For additional information, please contact Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at diversity@unc.edu.

 

Spring Diversity Experience to Discuss Practices in STEM

Four nationally renowned scientists and thought leaders will share their expertise on strategies to increase diversity engagement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as part of the inaugural Diversity in STEM Conference hosted by Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA), Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program (CSS), and the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD), with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  This day-long conference will focus on providing a professional development experience for Carolina faculty, staff and students who are interested in increasing issues of diversity and inclusion within STEM disciplines.

The conference will feature sessions with four eminent academicians and diversity proponents:

Dr. Sylvia Hurtado, professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and division head for the Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA. Hurtado will be focusing on the impact of diversity on teaching and learning.

Dr. John Matsui, co-founder and director of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP) in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkley. Matsui will facilitate a session on the impact of diversity on the student experience.

Dr. Andrew Campbell, Associate Professor of Medical Science in the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology in the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. Campbell will lead a session on the intersections of diversity work and research; and,

Dr. Rick McGee, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment & Professional Development and Professor in Medical Education in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.McGee will lend his expertise to the impact of diversity on faculty experience.

In addition, select students will have the opportunity to showcase their research during a poster session. Graduate and undergraduate student attendance is limited to UNC students who wish to present posters at the conference, please contact Dr. Richard Watkins at richard_watkins@med.unc.edu for more information.

Registration for the conference is currently open and seats are limited. There is no charge to attend. Faculty and staff who are in positions to support recruitment, development and retention of ethnic minorities and women in STEM at Carolina are encouraged to attend. Faculty and staff from other institutions will automatically be placed on a wait list for the conference. Notifications and confirmations will be send out by the 12th of February, 2016. This conference is made possible through the generous support of our hosting organizations and additional sponsors, including the College of Arts & Sciences and UNC School of Medicine. More information about the conference schedule, registration and speakers can be found at diversity.unc.edu/stem.


 

About the Hosting Organizations:

The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program (CSS) provides a pathway to success for highly capable students who aspire to become leading PhD and MD/PhD scientists in our increasingly interdisciplinary world. Aiming to increase the diversity among future science leaders, CSS is modeled after the nationally-recognized Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program provides a head start and continuous support for superb students, allowing them to succeed in math and science at the highest level at Carolina.

The Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) is an educational research grant awarded to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), and National Institutes of Health (NIH). The primary goal of this initiative is to increase the number of students from populations historically underrepresented in the biomedical sciences that attain PhDs and successful bioscience careers.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. HHMI empowers exceptional scientists and students to pursue fundamental questions about living systems. In fiscal year 2015, HHMI invested $666 million in U.S. biomedical research and provided $85 million in grants and other support for science education.

 

MLK at Carolina 2016: A Retrospective

Carolina honored Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with numerous events tied to his legacy of service, outreach and inclusion.  Highlighted events included the annual University/Community MLK Memorial Banquet, MLK Lecture and a 5K connected to the Day of Service.

UNIVERSITY/COMMUNITY MLK MEMORIAL BANQUET

The banquet’s theme, “A Dream Deferred: The Time is Now,” was addressed passionately by Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall, President of Bennett College and UNC Alumna, who tied Dr. King’s message to Langston Hughes’ poems, “Harlem” (1951) and “A Dream Deferred” (1957).  She spoke quite literally about the dreams being deferred in our country today to African American children caught up in what the Children’s Defense Fund calls the “Cradle to Prison Pipeline.”  Fuse-Hall said, “…many African Americas live with dreams deferred and still do not have full access to the American Dream.  But, as we stand here today, I submit that the idealic American dream is festering like a sore.”  After citing data that revealed the lack of economic, social and overall equality for Black Americans (72.2% compared to White Americans), she asked the rapt audience, “If you envisioned White America with a whole pie, at 100%, African Americans would be missing nearly 28 percent of that apple pie…or, is that the stench of stinking meat?”

Fuse-Hall then charged the room to network their strengths to ensure that our children and grandchildren thrive.  “Let’s pop the cork in an explosion of dreams for every American,” she enthusiastically suggested.  “Our motto should be to prosper the dreams of our neighbors; because that ensure that our American dream will become realized!  Don’t Defer – Fulfill the Dream Now!”

5K DAY OF SERVICE

The following day began with the Day of Service 5K to raise funds that will go, in part, towards the Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha Memorial Award established by UNC Chapel Hill and the Dental Foundation of North Carolina (DFNC) in memory of the two slain students.  The award goes towards supporting a student or group of students at the UNC School of Dentistry who plan a service project locally, nationally or internationally – an endeavor Barakat and Abu-Salha devoted themselves to regularly with their humanitarian work.

Although it was a frigid morning, hearty runners showed up energized with their desire to take part in this event, which raised $3,380 – more than double last year’s total.

MLK CELEBRATION KEYNOTE LECTURE

In the evening, the Barakat and Abu-Salha families were honored again at the 35th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Keynote Lecture at Memorial Hall.  It was a very emotionally charged moment when DMA’s Assistant Director for Special Education and Initiatives Sharbari Dey presented the Unsung Heroes Award posthumously to the parents in honor of their commitment to global social justice and service.

Other awards that evening included the presentation of the HEED Award to UNC for for Carolina’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.  DMA’s Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton, accepted the award from INSIGHT Into Diversity publisher Lenore Pearlstein on behalf of the University.  The three MLK Scholarship Recipients – Vanessa Canuto, Bradley Opere, and Emilie Kadhim – were each worthy of the award for their work towards social justice.  McNair Scholar and Buckley Public Service Scholar Canuto was honored with the top award for her work with Carolina Cupboard Food Pantry, the Carolina Women’s Center, ACC Student Leadership Symposium and her focus on creating safe and equal space for all Carolina students.

Finally, activist, writer and Distinguished Professor of African American Studies (Morehouse College), Dr. Marc Lamont Hill took to the stage for an insightful lecture.  His speech was provocative and rich with comical asides, as he addressed the legacy of Dr. King and the current state of Black America.

Addressing the sold-out auditorium, Hill said, “The question for me is always, ‘What can we do to use Dr. King’s legacy to help us redress the issues that we are struggling with today?’”  His rousing speech was followed by a brief question and answer period that reflected on his work as a journalist and social commentator.

Many of the events that were planned for the remainder of the MLK Week Celebration were forced to cancel due to the University’s official weather closure resulting from dangerously icy conditions.  Look for announcements regarding rescheduled dates on diversityevents.unc.edu.


 

RELATED LINKS:

 

 

Professor Bettye Collier-Thomas to Deliver AAHM Keynote Lecture

 

BHM16_LecturePosterCarolina will honor Black History Month with a wide variety of programming, including film screenings, lectures, performances and discussions, scheduled by an array of departments and student groups. This year’s theme, “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories” resonates in many of the events, particularly in the African American History Month Lecture, whose keynote will be delivered by Professor Bettye Collier-Thomas on February 8th at 7:00 pm at the Stone Center, and hosted by Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. She will speak on “African American ‘History Sites’: Identity, Memory, History and Preservation.”

Other special events include activist and educator Yavilah McCoy’s discussion on “Race, Power and Privilege in 2016: Developing and Maintaining Multiracial, Multicultural & Multifaith alliances toward Equity and Justice on College Campuses” on February 3rd at 7:30 pm at the Great Hall. McCoy is an African-American Jew and the founder of Ayecha, a nonprofit organization providing educational resources for Jewish Diversity and advocacy for Jews of Color in the United States. The event is hosted by Hillel and the Black Student Movement.

The Stone Center will be the site of the 2016 Break the Silence of Domestic Violence Lecture, featuring Kemba Smith Pradia, on February 3rd at 6:30 pm. The first 100 participants will receive a complimentary copy of Kemba Smith’s memoir, “Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story,” which will be discussed.

Among the numerous concert and theatrical performances is “One Noble Journey: A Box Marked Freedom.” The drama, which takes place at the Friday Center on February 14th at 3:00 pm, tells the story of Henry “Box” Brown, an African American born into slavery, who plots to become a stowaway to freedom. There are also screenings, including “3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets,” at the Carolina Club on February 17th, from 5:30 – 7 pm. The documentary reconstructs the night of Jordan Davis’ murder, revealing how hidden racial prejudice can result in tragedy…and giving insight into events that led to the current political climate surrounding race relations in this country.

For a full listing of this month of events that promises to be rich in material to honor Black history, please click here or visit diversity.unc.edu/bhm