Insight Into Diversity, the nation’s oldest and largest diversity-focused higher education magazine, has selected the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to receive its prestigious Higher Education in Excellence Award for the third year in a row.
The award recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. UNC-Chapel Hill is among 80 recipients to be featured in the magazine’s November 2017 issue.
Dr. Rumay Alexander, associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, acknowledged the honor, noting, “We are not in ‘business as usual’ times. We are a nation on edge with academic campuses and units feeling the waves from the national winds. There are a host of intersecting issues from the legal, moral and ethical to the pedagogical and practical. 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, according to 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 UNC-Chapel Hill for its many diversity and inclusion efforts, which include these current programs and initiatives:
- The University-led Carolina Conversations series provides compelling dialogue and allows the free sharing of concerns by faculty, staff and students surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion. Topics addressed have included “First Amendment and Free Speech,” and “Faculty Diversity: The Benefits & Challenges,” among others.
- Nearly 300 faculty and staff attended the fifth annual THINKposium, a day-long University-sponsored event focused on recognizing the impact of our shared stories to better understand our differences and points of view.
- The University’s Board of Trustees and campus leaders, including the Chancellor’s Cabinet and deans, have completed diversity training.
- The University initiated Noteworthy Firsts Scholarships, which recognize Tar Heels who broke barriers and opened new doors at Carolina, as a way of honoring their achievements.
- The University’s Facilities unit has provided additional gender-neutral restrooms to the campus, bringing the total to over 325, with more planned. They have created an interactive map to help identify locations for these facilities.
- The Task Force on UNC-Chapel Hill History developed an exhibit for Carolina Hall that tells the story of the building and how it was named and then re-named. In addition, the research team is developing information for contextualizing McCorkle Place, including updating information about historical objects, names inside buildings and campus tours.
- The University Office for Diversity & Inclusion launched a new, more interactive website, which serves as a hub for diversity-related events and news occurring campus-wide.
- Diversity & Inclusion 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.
- 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.
- The Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program provides a pathway to success for highly capable students who aspire to become leading Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. scientists in an increasingly interdisciplinary world. A key goal is to increase diversity in the scientific community.