UNC Chief Diversity Officer Recognized as a Leader in Diversity in the Triangle

Associate Vice Chancellor and CDO Taffye Benson Clayton was one of 13 individuals and 10 organizations that were honored during the Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) Leaders in Diversity Awards luncheon and ceremony on Thursday, September 11.  The awards recognized those who demonstrated advocacy for underrepresented groups, had a commitment to inclusion, and infused diversity within their business practices, including multicultural marketing methods. This was the second annual Leaders in Diversity Awards program and took place at the Cotton Room in Durham.

Taffye Benson Clayton and fellow award winner Dr. Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity at NC State

Taffye Benson Clayton and fellow award winner Dr. Joanne Woodard, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity at NC State

Together with PNC, TBJ seeks to recognize the accomplishments of Triangle businesses, individuals and non-profits with the awards as they strive to reflect the rich tapestry of our community.. At the ceremony, TBJ publisher Bryan Hamilton said that, “our community would benefit from taking note of the progress being made in diversity and…we could all learn from some of the extraordinary work being done through these local champions.”

Clayton, who came to UNC-CH in 2012, is a UNC alumna and serves as the associate vice chancellor for UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and chief diversity officer in the division of Workforce Strategy, Equity & Engagement. In this role, she has the responsibility of advising senior leadership in the University and working with administrators, faculty, staff and students across campus to strengthen Carolina’s long-standing commitment to a diverse, inclusive campus community. Prior to arriving to Carolina, Clayton had served as East Carolina University’s associate provost for equity, diversity and community relations and chief diversity officer.

“I accepted this award,” said Clayton, “not just for myself, but for everyone who works hard to make The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill a more diverse and inclusive campus. My team at UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the campus units and community partners we work with contribute countless hours toward this effort.” Clayton cites the work of affinity centers, students, diversity groups in schools and units, and DMA’s advisory partners as having helped make UNC worthy of being recognized.

Jim Hansen, regional president of PNC, which sponsored the event, stressed that companies are more successful when they fully engage all employees. “Valuing diversity and inclusion helps to create stronger organizations, making us better employers and more responsive corporate citizens,” he said.

Clayton, a native of Fayetteville, NC, earned her bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill; master’s degree from American University; and doctorate in educational leadership from East Carolina University. She also completed the Management Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute of Higher Education.

Award-Winning Author Junot Díaz to Deliver HHM Keynote

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Junot Díaz

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz, who won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award for his acclaimed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao will be the keynote speaker for UNC’s Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) celebrations. Díaz, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, was also the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The lecture will take place at Memorial Hall on October 4 at 7:30 pm. Tickets for the event are $3 with a valid OneCard and $8 for the general public, available through the Memorial Hall Box Office. The event will include a book reading, a Q&A session, and commentary. There will be a book signing at the Campus Y after the event.

This keynote event is hosted by the Carolina Union Activities Board in partnership with the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, the Campus Y, and the Program in Latina/o Studies.

A full calendar of HHM events can be found on the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative website at http://clc.unc.edu/bulletins/hhm-2014/.

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September Diversity in Higher Education Seminar: Female Faculty in the Sciences

In partnership with the Carolina Women’s CenterDiversity and Multicultural Affairs features four prominent female scientists at UNC in a panel and a facilitated WIS_logosdiscussion on Creating an Inclusive Climate for Female Faculty in the Sciences. In the past decade, the percentages of women attaining degrees in engineering and computer sciences have remained stagnant yet these fields have the highest demands in the workforce. This has critical implications for the future of science, technology, engineering, and math—also known as the STEM fields.

With rising numbers of attrition of women in multiple STEM arenas, the need to create policies and practices that promote inclusion, leadership, and opportunities for women in STEM will be the issue under discussion. The panel will discuss promising practices and also challenges that female faculty face in higher education with regard to increasing female enrollment, degree attainment, and faculty recruitment in the sciences.

Chancellor Folt will make opening remarks for the event. Panelists will include Clara Lee, MD, MPP (Associate Professor of Surgery, Director of Research – Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UNC Department of Surgery); Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD (professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Valerie Ashby, PhD, (professor and department chair, Chemistry) and Pamela Johnson Rowsey, PhD, RN (associate professor and coordinator of student diversity and recruitment, School of Nursing).

Professor Silvia Tomášková will moderate the session. Dr. Tomášková has extensive experiences in addressing climate issues for women scientists in various science departments through the Women in Science group at UNC, and works to bring distinguished women scientists to campus in an annual public lecture series. Dr. Tomášková has a joint appointment in the Anthropology Department and in Women’s and Gender Studies, and teaches courses in both units.

The seminar will take place in the Toy Lounge in Dey Hall, Tuesday, September 23, 2014 from 3:30-5:00 pm. Registration is open to all and will be of special interest to both new and emerging faculty and graduate students. Please note: registration is required to attend and refreshments will be served during the event.

Diversity and Multicultural Affairs hosts the Annual Diversity in Higher Education Series that focuses on diversity across three areas: Education, Access, and Research. To learn more about future diversity education seminars, please visit diversity.unc.edu/seminars.

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Achieving Carolina Excellence

On Friday, August 15, over 200 incoming first-year and transfer students and their families gathered in the Student Union Great Hall. It was just a couple of hours since they had stepped on campus knowing that, this time, they weren’t going back home when their families left. For some of them it would be their first experience spending the night anywhere but their family home.

ACE students participate in 2014 service project

ACE students participate in 2014 service project

Some of these new Carolina students moved into their residence halls that morning and all of them began their transition to college during the Achieving Carolina Excellence (ACE) welcoming session. Put over 400 new students and family members in this setting and you’ve got a lot of excitement and a few nerves. Add about 40 members of the Minority Student Recruitment Committee (MSRC) cheering the new students on and performing for them and the atmosphere is electric. ACE is a program designed by UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) to assist first year and transfer students from underrepresented populations with their transition to Carolina.

Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Dr. Taffye Benson Clayton welcomed the participants and urged students to learn from the incredibly diverse world that is now just a short walk from their residence hall. “You have opportunities to go beyond your comfort zone,” she said. “And I urge you to take advantage of them. Between what’s within you and what we have within the walls of this campus—you have everything you need to be successful.”

The welcome session also included greetings from the admissions office, Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp, MSRC On-Campus Coordinator Angel Washington, and from the presidents of the Carolina Indian Circle (CIC), the Asian Student Association (ASA), the Black Student Movement (BSM), and the Carolina Hispanic Association (CHispA).

Following the welcome and faculty/staff reception the program included concurrent sessions for family members, a session for male students hosted by Carolina Men Advocating for Learning, Empowerment, and Success (Carolina M.A.L.E.S.), a session for the women hosted by Unique Heels, and a session addressing the needs of students of all gender identities and expressions hosted by the UNC LGBTQ Center. For incoming student Estefane Santiago-Lopez the Unique Heels session was a favorite. She thought the presenters were “nice, funny and honest. They gave great advice and said many important things.”

At 4:30 in the afternoon student participants said good bye to their families and met with their ACE counselors for their first dinners on campus.  For first-year student and CMSP Scholar Phil Locklear, the evening-ending culture show in the Great Hall was the highlight of the day. Participants were treated to performances by Opeyo!, EROT, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Kamikaze Dance Group, Que Rico, and Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc.

On Saturday morning, Dean Harold Woodard hosted an academic success discussion and panel. Students then participated in a service project in the Pit hosted by TABLE NC, a local nonprofit that provides healthy, emergency food aid to hungry children in Chapel Hill and Carrboro followed by the ACE Expo where they were introduced to more than 40 clubs, organizations and resources. “All of the first year students were eager to participate in the service project and expo,” said Ada Wilson Suitt, Director of Inclusive Student Excellence at DMA “and we had one of the greatest turnouts at the academic session that we have seen in years.”

Other activities let students choose from welcoming sessions hosted by BSM, ASA, CIC, CHispA, and Tar Heel Transfers and then participants ended the day with a Game Night in Upendo Lounge.

“The energy surrounding the weekend was overwhelming,” Wilson Suitt added “Students were excited to be part of a program that celebrated and embraced their cultural identity.”

ACE participants will have a chance to catch up with each other and their MSRC counselors on September 1 at the ACE cookout. For more information about other diversity events, visit diversity.unc.edu.

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New grant helps foster diversity at UNC School of Medicine

The National Institutes of Health awarded UNC School of Medicine a third round of funding for its IMSD Program – The Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity. The IMSD program attracts underrepresented students in the biomedical sciences and gives UNC the means to recruit more students from traditionally underrepresented populations and support their training as graduate students through professional development.