initiatives to diversify faculty and to create programs that seek to welcome and validate the culture of the diverse groups of students who are part of our campus community. As provost, I have opportunities to charge search committees, monitor faculty hiring and retention trends and progress, and work closely with senior colleagues responsible for admissions and financial aid offices. I also have the opportunity to foster conversations about why diversity is important and to mentor others. But the entire administration and our Board of Trustees have adopted diversity as a priority, and that is a source of personal satisfaction for me. First, some background about Carolina, the flagship of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system. Carolina didn’t become more diverse in its student and faculty makeup overnight. Chapel Hill was completely segregated by race until 50 years ago. Even 40 years ago there were few students of color. The presence of women, at least among undergraduates, was severely restricted until 35 years ago. I am frequently asked if I’m an alum of Chapel Hill because I am a native of North Carolina. I say “no” and continue the conversation. I can tell you, however, that when I was a child growing up in eastern North Carolina in the 1950s and ‘60s, UNC–Chapel Hill did not exist for me as a possibility. Women were not admitted as first-year students, but I did not know that. The one thing that I did know was that it was a “white” school and that I should look elsewhere. Eight years after I graduated from high school—when I was completing my PhD—my advisor suggested that I consider the psychology department at Chapel Hill. I surprised myself and horrified some of my friends by doing so, but I have been there since. But here’s one simple sentence from our 1986 mission statement: “The mission of the University is to serve all the people of the State….” Now North Carolina is a changing state, but often considered conservative in its politics. We have a large African American population that has received national media attention in recent months because of the presidential election and its strong support for Barack Obama. Our Latino population grew almost 400 percent from 1990 to 2000, and continues to grow. We have a significant number of Native Americans, and an increasing number of residents who are citizens of other nations because we are a hub of research and high-tech business. We have people of all major faith traditions in our state. Today, the university’s undergraduate enrollment increasingly resembles the state of North Carolina, and each new class of undergraduates enters with RLI 263 2 Diversity in Research Universities ( C O N T I N U E D ) APRIL 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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