Updates: New and Developing DEI Initiatives
I hope you're well and staying healthy. Although we have so much going on in our world right now, I hope that you will find peace in ways that bring you joy. For me, meditation, prayer, and exercise are how I face challenges or discomfort, and I hope you find ways to manage as well.
A lot has happened since my last communication in August. I have seen countless efforts by faculty and staff to engage students in ways that are now considered customary. I've been impressed by what I've seen and yet, recognize that it's not always how we want to connect with students for as long as we have a sense of community beyond our virtual normality. However, what is exciting is that over 150 students have participated in UNITE, UNC's learning and development series addressing equity and inclusion across a wide range of identities. Acknowledgment of Admissions, Housing, and Residential Education, Cultural and Resource Centers, and New Student Orientation for committing their student staff to participate in UNITE. Building an inclusive community begins with awareness, which leads to understanding and shared commitment among all who make up our community. Finally, I am grateful to Stephen Loveless for their leadership of the UNITE series.
In addition, student-athletes formed a coalition known as Bears Against Racial Strife (B.A.R.S) that consistently meets to address, educate and engage in dialog within the Athletics Department on the promotion of a more inclusive environment. In their first step, B.A.R.S student-athletes, with Athletics' leadership's help, organized a two-day virtual event where all student-athletes, coaches, and staff watched and processed the documentary, 13th. This documentary is compelling, and I encourage you to watch it.
Along with these examples, today, I would like to share with you new and developing initiatives, as well as a range of resources and programs dedicated to enhancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) on our campus.
- Library DEI & Antiracism Resources: The incredible UNC Library team has worked diligently on placing front and center the voices, experiences, and works of Black, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQ+ authors, artists, and creators from the U.S. and worldwide through books, journals, digital sources, and a variety of portals. In addition, the Library-Archives seeks to document the injustices of our present time and amplify under-represented voices by collecting and documenting student activism, student experiences, and anti-racist work. These resources prove that we have information at our fingertips; let's use them to enhance our skills and remove barriers to systemic inequality. Finally, I offer gratitude to the Library team for the time and thoughtfulness of doing this work.
- Marcus Garvey Director Search: The search for the director will take place shortly. Students and I have spent the last few months reviewing and enhancing the current PDQ and vacancy announcement. We paid particular attention to updated and current language and strategic advertising so that we can attract top candidates to UNC. I asked Shawanna Kimbrough-Hayward to be the chair of this search.
- Implicit Bias Professional Development: Last week, I had the opportunity to hold in-person professional development sessions with the University Police Department. They were the first members of our campus to participate in this professional development, and now, beginning today, you will be invited to take part in this training, titled "Implicit Bias 2020", through Canvas. I want to thank my Human Resources and Information Technology colleagues for their assistance in making this happen.
- Recruitment of faculty and staff: To enhance your search pool prospects, the following links will offer you more ways to advertise and potentially increase a more inclusive candidate pool.Secondly, we have added to the list of approved and acceptable questions to ask in an interview several diversity and equity-related questions. You have several to choose from, and we invite you to implement this in your hiring process immediately.
- Empower Inclusivity and the 2030 Strategic Plan: President Feinstein underscored the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of the University Strategic Plan: Rowing not Drifting 2030. Work on key actions has begun, and a number of items remain to be reported.
Finally, as we approach the next few weeks and the end of the fall semester, let us be aware of our students' and colleagues' roller coaster of emotions. Life just has many challenges, and what our UNC neighbors experience in their lives may not be known to us. We have a responsibility to support each other.