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Dear colleagues,

Earlier this week, Karla Slocum, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Arts & Sciences, emailed all of you to share DEI developments from her first year in her role. I applaud her efforts; the work she is doing, along with the work of departmental diversity liaisons, the dean’s faculty and staff diversity committees, and many others, will improve the campus climate for all.

I am writing today to share news of our efforts in recruitment and retention. There is some very good news to report, as well as challenges that remain.

Starting with the faculty picture: Based on what we know as of this week, out of the 755 tenured/tenure-track faculty in the College, 45 have given notice that they are leaving the University as of July 1, 2022. More than half of these 45 faculty are retiring. Of those 45 faculty, 17, or 38%, are female. Fourteen, or 31%, are an ethnicity other than white. (Final data on turnovers will not be available until after July 1, and the total may increase slightly; the Dean’s Office is not always notified about every retirement in advance.) This compares to 48 tenured/tenure-track faculty departures last year.

For the past hiring cycle, 55 tenured/tenure-track searches were authorized and 49 new tenured/tenure-track faculty will be joining us this coming academic year — 14 each in the fine arts and humanities and the social sciences divisions and 21 in the natural sciences (including incoming Dean James White). In addition, we will welcome 14 new teaching faculty with funds provided by campus leadership to assist with the new general education curriculum and enrollment growth. We will not have the ethnicity data for the faculty who will be joining us until after they start and self-identify, but we believe we are moving the needle in a positive direction regarding faculty diversity.

I am pleased that we were able to retain a majority of faculty who received external offers, with acknowledgement that it is always hard to lose those who leave despite our efforts. In the fine arts and humanities division, we successfully retained seven of 11 faculty. In the social sciences division, we successfully retained seven of eight. In the natural sciences and mathematics division, we retained 20 of 24 faculty. (Note that not every faculty member who left UNC sought a retention offer.)

Turning to our staff colleagues: For the period beginning July 1, 2021, to the present, 110 of our total 580 staff employees left or retired from the University, for a turnover rate of 19%. That compares to a turnover rate of 11% last year. This trend aligns with what we are seeing nationally. Our campus leaders acknowledge these challenges and are working toward creative solutions to attracting and retaining talented staff.

I’d also like to share some news about leadership changes in the College. We are welcoming the following new department chairs, center directors and deans:

Fine Arts and Humanities

Department chairs: Patricia Sawin, interim chair, American studies; Avi Santo, communication; Kathryn Williams, dramatic art; Marsha Collins, English and comparative literature; Richard Langston, German and Slavic languages and literatures. Centers and institutes: Blair Kelley, director, Center for the Study of the American South (July 2023; Marcie Cohen Ferris, interim director for the 2022-2023 academic year); Patricia Rosenmeyer, director, Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Department chairs: Theo Dingemans, applied physical sciences; Bob Duronio, biology; Paul Dayton, biomedical engineering; Samarjit Chakraborty, computer science; Drew Coleman, environment, ecology and energy program; Regina Carelli, psychology and neuroscience.

Social Sciences

Department & curriculum chairs: Amanda Thompson, anthropology; Brie Vihlen, aerospace studies; Pervin Banu Gokariksel, global studies; Centers and institutes: Claudia Yaghoobi, director, Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Office of Study Abroad: Jason Kinnear, associate dean.

Undergraduate Education

Meredith Petschauer, associate dean of undergraduate curricula; Andrea Caldwell, senior assistant dean of Thrive Hubs; Allison Mitchall, senior assistant dean of Thrive Hubs.

I know from my conversations with incoming Dean James White that he is committed to furthering diversity, equity and inclusion in the College and made notable contributions in this area as acting dean at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. It is an exciting time to be rolling out the new IDEAs in Action general education curriculum. A strong leadership team and ambitious plans for the future await Dean White when he takes over the helm on July 1.




Terry Ellen Rhodes, Dean

College of Arts & Sciences

205 South Building, CB # 3100

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3100



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