Education, Higher Ed

Roadmap for Racial Equity suggested by faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill

This week Black faculty, faculty of color and indigenous faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill released a Roadmap for Racial Equity at the university.

The document, presented at Monday’s UNC Faculty Executive Committee meeting, addresses long-standing concerns of non-white faculty at the university and sets out a three year plan for addressing them.

The roadmap has so far been endorsed by 94 Black faculty, faculty of color and indigenous faculty and 215 individual supporters at the university who do not identify as belonging to any of those groups.

Dr. Kia Lilly Caldwell presented the roadmap at Monday’s Faculty Executive Committee meeting along with Dr. Sharon Holland.

“In light of ongoing challenges with regard to racial equity and institutional racism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the undersigned faculty have developed this roadmap for racial equity to guide future decision and policy-making at the University,” faculty wrote in a preamble to the document. “Though this document focuses on faculty concerns, we are in solidarity with all Carolina workers seeking a more equitable and inclusive workplace. We want to acknowledge the precariousness of the many employees that are vulnerable and unable to speak out.”

“As the oldest public university in the nation, UNC-Chapel Hill has a deeply-rooted history of participation in racially discriminatory practices, including the occupation of native lands, enslavement, and racial segregation, that have led to systemic and institutionalized racial privileges for some and inequities for others,” they wrote. “We believe now is the time for decisive and swift action to change the culture and policies of the University. We invite the University leadership and our faculty colleagues to stand and work with us to make UNC-Chapel Hill a more equitable and inclusive campus, where all can succeed and thrive.”

First steps called for in the document:


A Three Year Plan: Beginnings

1.  Take decisive action to rename campus buildings in an inclusive process that centers the voices of diverse students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

2.  Establish faculty advisory groups on racial equity, community, and belonging by the Chancellor and Provost that will meet with senior leadership on a monthly basis.

3.  Hold an annual UNC Board of Trustees meeting with Black faculty, faculty of color, and Indigenous faculty.

4.  Address the lack of diverse administrators at top levels of the University, including Vice Chancellors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Associate Deans, and Department Chairs, in order to change the racial/ethnic composition of University leadership by at least 10% over the next three years.  Currently, approximately 86% of UNC’s leadership is white, while 64% of UNC students are white and 36% are minorities/students of color.  The current leadership of the University does not reflect the demographics of the state of North Carolina (which is 22% African American, 9.1% Latinx, 2.8% Asian, and 1.6% Native American) or UNC’s undergraduate student population, nor does it reflect the changing demographics of our country.

  1. Provide robust funding to support the professional and leadership development of diverse faculty through a new program within the senior administration that focuses on racial equity and inclusion in leadership.
  2. Institute policies to ensure that all administrative positions involve searches, rather than ad-hoc appointments.  Interim administrative appointments should include a search before a permanent appointment is made.  All administrative searches should follow established best practices.
  3. Create set terms and term limits for positions such as department chair and senior associate dean to ensure that historically underrepresented faculty have access to leadership positions.

5.       Take bold and sustained steps to diversify the faculty across the University.

  1. Create 30 new tenure-track faculty appointments across UNC’s campus, with at least 10 in the College of Arts and Sciences that focus on racial equity and social justice that will bring in new Black faculty, including as distinguished professors.
  2. Evaluate and revamp the process for selecting distinguished professors across the University to ensure racial equity.  
  3. Establish a plan to move forward with hiring two faculty who focus on slavery in the U.S. South, particularly in North Carolina, within the College of Arts and Sciences.
  4. Create cluster hiring programs within the College of Arts and Sciences and across schools focusing on (1) Black families and communities;  (2) Health, Wellness, and Health Equity in Black, Indigenous, and other Communities of Color; and (3) Civil and Human Rights.  These hires should be interdisciplinary and have a focus on how race intersects with gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, and other forms of difference and inequality.
  5. Substantially increase funding for the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity such that 15 to 20 postdocs can be brought to campus every year.

University Climate Change

6.       Strengthen and provide robust funding and staffing for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts within the central administration.

  1. Reinitiate the national search for a Chief Diversity Officer with a respected executive search firm that specializes in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion searches.  
  2. Restore funding and staffing for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to at least the 2015-16 levels.
  3. Create two annual faculty fellowships within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion that focus on equity and inclusion projects.
  4. Provide funding for the University Diversity Award commensurate with similar awards on campus.

7.       Implement faculty search policies to address racial bias and ensure racial equity across all schools.  These policies should incorporate best practices, such as in-person racial bias training, the use of rubrics, the use of diversity statements, and the creation of a Search Advocate Program.

8.   Launch a faculty racial climate study during 2020-21.  This was put on hold several years ago.

Change the Playing Field

9.   Hire an outside firm to evaluate the state of faculty, student, and staff diversity and existing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on the campus.  The report could be used to inform the search for a new Chief Diversity Officer. Then, taking these results seriously, create and implement a robust racial equity training program for administrators, faculty, and staff.

10.  Hire two full-time counseling and wellness staff members to focus on wellness and mental health support for faculty and staff who are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and from other historically underrepresented groups.

11.   Put accountability mechanisms into place to ensure that departments and schools/the College of Arts and Sciences are actively working to promote racial equity and welcoming racial climates for all faculty.

a.   Create reporting mechanisms for Black faculty, Latinx, faculty of color, and Indigenous faculty who are experiencing hostile environments in their departments or schools.

b.   Include the promotion of racial equity and a welcoming racial climate as criteria for the appointment and reappointment of chairs, senior associate deans, and deans.

c.   Create and support associate deanships for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences and professional schools.

d.  Hire an outside firm to conduct a salary equity study for the University for all fixed-term, teaching, and tenure track faculty.  This study should examine issues of salary equity for faculty from historically underrepresented groups and women faculty.  Develop a three-year plan to address salary inequities.

  1. Revise the faculty codes of governance so that  a commitment to racial equity is reflected in the University’s most current governance documents,

f.   Undertake a campus-wide revision of curricula and pedagogies aimed at eradicating anti-black racism and white supremacy.  This must be done across the University, including in science departments, as well as in the Medical School, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Law School, School of Pharmacy, School of Education, Social of Social Work, and other professional schools.

Compensation and Data Collection

12.   Recognize and reward the invisible labor done by Black faculty, faculty of color and Indigenous faculty.  Provide course releases and monetary compensation to reward this labor.

13.   Provide accessible data on the number of faculty of color and Indigenous faculty at UNC. In addition, provide data disaggregated to show numbers of faculty from historically underrepresented groups (i.e. U.S.-born Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, and American Indians), as well as Asian-American faculty.


Read the entire roadmap, including a list of signatories and supporters, here.




One Comment

  1. Maria Estorino

    June 25, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I suggest a correction to how you characterize the supporters who have signed the roadmap: “ The roadmap has so far been endorsed by 94 Black faculty, faculty of color and indigenous faculty and 215 individual supporters at the university who do not identify as belonging to any of those groups.” You will find BIPOC individuals among the individual supporters who aren’t faculty. Signatora are specifically faculty, and so students and non-faculty staff of every identity and background have signed in the individual supporters section. That is my personal case – I am Latinx and non-faculty and so signed as a supporter.

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