The College of Arts & Sciences, the largest school at Carolina, is a place of diverse talents, backgrounds, interests and experiences. This diversity — among our 19,000-plus undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 1,600 faculty and staff — is one of our greatest strengths. We know that when people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives come together, new ways of thinking and seeing the world emerge.
We want all members of our large and vibrant College community to feel like they belong here, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, age or sexual orientation. Together, we are striving to create an environment in which all feel valued, respected, engaged and empowered. To that end, we have launched several new initiatives designed to foster dialogue and increase understanding on topics that can sometimes divide us.
For our students, we have launched Reckoning: Race, Memory and Reimagining the Public University, a shared learning initiative designed to support discussions about heritage, race, post-conflict legacies, politics of remembrance and contemporary projects of reconciliation.
For our faculty engaged in research that focuses on the importance of intersectional thought and social justice in diverse communities, we have launched the Critical Ethnic Studies Collective. Through the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, we have the Faculty of Color and Indigenous Faculty Group, which provides support, community and professional development. TEAM Advance, offered through the University’s Center for Faculty Excellence, promotes accessible, equitable, and effective mentoring across the University, with emphasis on supporting women of color and women in STEM fields.
For everyone, we have launched Countering Hate: Overcoming Fear of Differences, with curricula that reaches students and programming that includes public events that will also serve the community beyond our campus. This initiative will explore issues of racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia, as well as other forms of hate.
Since 2012, the College has had a director of faculty diversity initiatives and departmental diversity liaisons to address such issues as departmental and unit climate, faculty hiring and recruiting, and implementation of curricular changes and innovations that promote diversity and inclusion. Our Office of Instructional Innovation has resources on inclusive teaching techniques to assist faculty in designing courses that are more equitable for all.
Created by my predecessor, Kevin Guskiewicz, now interim chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill, the Dean’s Faculty Diversity Advisory Group continues to advise me on matters of diversity and inclusion as we work to advance these and other initiatives that promote a campus culture of inclusive excellence.
This is important work that is ongoing and will never be complete; however, matters of community, diversity and inclusion have been a high priority for me throughout my career at Carolina, and will continue to be as I serve in the role of interim dean. I hope you will explore some of the many resources that we offer in the College that are designed for everyone to find their place here.
Interim Dean Terry Rhodes