The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday May 28th

UNC seeks diversity among administrators

Searching for women leaders

A report released Wednesday said UNC needs more diversity at the top.

After combing through hundreds of pages of data from all University departments, UNC’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs released the 52-page 2009-10 annual report Wednesday.

The University is preparing an updated formal plan for tackling diversity issues in the next few years, and Wednesday’s data will shape the goals.

In addition to a survey of the entire University and evaluation of how well each department promotes and sustains diversity, a new dimension this year addresses the inclusion of women in leadership positions.

“I think that is a testament to Carolina’s broadened focus on diversity” said Terri Houston, senior director for diversity and multicultural programs.

The report mostly discusses race, but Houston said diversity is much more than that.

This document is the third and final report of the University’s progress on achieving the values laid out in the 2006 Diversity Plan, which expires this year.

The 2006 Diversity Plan emphasized five main goals, including goals for hiring, curriculum, and recruiting and retaining minority students.

Archie Ervin, associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs, said a new diversity plan will be written in the next few months.

Houston said the University deserves a stronger presence of female leadership in the faculty.

She cited the loss of Bernadette Gray-Little, formerly the executive vice chancellor and provost, as a particular loss to the rank of women — and minority women — at UNC. She left the University in 2009 to become chancellor of the University of Kansas.

Ervin said improving the racial diversity of UNC’s faculty is another pertinent challenge.

“If we are going to be a world-class university, we have to have the talent of the world present,” Ervin said.

In the introduction he wrote for the document, Chancellor Holden Thorp wrote that “a diverse student body demands a diverse faculty and research community.”

Ervin said the data should point UNC in the right direction.

“This is evidence for the conversations we should be having,” Ervin said. “This is data-driven evidence.”

Houston said that the report is only numbers but that numbers can tell a great deal about larger trends.

“The report in general keeps these issues at the forefront,” Houston said. “It lets folks know what they’re doing, and it holds them to a higher standard. We can always do better.”

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at udesk@unc.edu.

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