UNC recognized for its commitment to diversity for 2nd consecutive year

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Insight Into Diversity, the nation’s oldest and largest diversity-focused higher education magazine, has selected Carolina to receive its prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for the second year in a row.

The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Carolina is among 83 recipients to be featured in the magazine’s November 2016 issue.

Interim Chief Diversity Officer Rumay Alexander said she was pleased such important work across the Carolina campus was being recognized at the national level.

“While the issues of racism, prejudice and divisions are societal and much bigger than Carolina and other college campuses, Carolina is committed to inclusive excellence in all its forms,” Alexander said. “We will continue to focus on the collective, intentional and sustained work and actions that are necessary to create positive and lasting changes whereby those who comprise our entire campus community thrive.”

Insight Into Diversity recognizes campuses through a comprehensive and rigorous application process that includes questions about the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — as well as continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion, said publisher Lenore Pearlstein. Each application is reviewed holistically based on high standards and evidence that institutions are weaving diversity and inclusion into the daily work being accomplished on campus.

The magazine selected Carolina for its many diversity and inclusion efforts, which include these current programs and initiatives:

  • Diversity and Multicultural Affairs continues to provide outreach programs – including North Carolina Renaissance, Project Uplift and Achieving Carolina Excellence – that offer underrepresented high school students the opportunity to spend several days on campus to get their first experience of student life;
  • The University conducted a campus climate survey among staff, undergraduate and graduate students to help provide a better understanding of the experiences of the campus community. The University’s Board of Trustees and campus leaders, including the Chancellor’s Cabinet and deans, have completed diversity training;
  • The University previously announced plans to acknowledge trailblazers representing Carolina’s rich history by naming need-based undergraduate grants in their honor;
  • The University’s Facilities unit is adding 150 gender-neutral restrooms to the campus, bringing the total to nearly 300, and has created an interactive map to help identify locations for these facilities;
  • The Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History spent the summer focused on developing an exhibit for Carolina Hall that tells the story of the building and how it was named and then re-named. This work is expected to continue through September, with a proposed installation set for November. In addition, the research team is developing information for contextualizing McCorkle Place, including updating information about historical objects, names inside buildings and campus tours;
  • More than 60 volunteer diversity liaisons are embedded in departments, schools and other campus units. These liaisons meet periodically during the academic year to discuss events and how best to communicate diversity and inclusion efforts;
  • As a result of a Town Hall organized by Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, as well as a University-led Carolina Conversations series, dialogue and concerns surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion continue to be addressed. Among them: the need for a dedicated space for black students to gather and meet as a community that has been met with the newly renovated Upendo Lounge;
  • Nearly 400 faculty and staff members attended the fourth annual THINKposium, a daylong University-sponsored event focused on recognizing that people from different backgrounds experience the world differently;
  • The Diversity Events calendar lists diversity-related campus events, services and programs; and
  • The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program provides a pathway to success for highly capable students who aspire to become leading doctoral scientists in an increasingly interdisciplinary world. A key goal is to increase diversity in the scientific community.

For more information about Insight into Diversity, the award and Carolina’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, please visit www.insightintodiversity.com and www.diversity.unc.edu.

University Gazette, September 12, 2016