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Sunday September 26th

Second finalist for UNC-CH chief diversity officer presents in open forum

<p>Interim chief diversity officer Sibby Anderson-Thompkins gives a presentation during an open forum during the search for the University's next vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer on Friday, March 26, 2021.&nbsp;</p>
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Interim chief diversity officer Sibby Anderson-Thompkins gives a presentation during an open forum during the search for the University's next vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer on Friday, March 26, 2021. 

The search for the University's next vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer continued on Friday with a presentation from the second finalist of four — Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, interim chief diversity officer. 

Anderson-Thompkins presented her goals for the position in an open forum. Candidates were given a prompt to guide their presentations:

“The VP/CDO will be an ambassador who facilitates challenging conversations between stakeholders on campus as well as with alumni and the community that surrounds our University. Please describe your experience in this area and how you will leverage that experience to help the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to navigate the complex dynamics of being a flagship university in the American South during an increasingly fractious and polarized time both on and off campus.”

Finalist Cecil Howard presented in the first forum on March 23. 

Open Forum and Q&A

  • Anderson-Thompkins said she wants to bring transparency and honesty to her position when dealing with systemic racism. She hopes to build trust between faculty and the administration.  
    • “I know there's a huge distrust of the current administration," she said. "I know that there are concerns about the lack of honesty or truth or transparency. I see the CDO playing an important role in modeling the type of leadership that people really want to see. This is imperative for Carolina.” 
  • As the current interim-CDO, Anderson-Thompkins said she has accomplished a lot in the last year and she does not want to lose momentum. 
    • She said she plans on launching a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Undergraduate Leadership fellows program. 
      • “The goal is to develop champions of DEI, build cultural intelligence and provide students with skills that they can take into the future,” she said. “Whether it's in a workplace or into graduate school, the opportunity is to really build leadership in the future leaders in this space.”
  • Anderson-Thompkins said she plans on holding administrative reviews for leaders who do not uphold and advance diversity, equity and inclusion. 
    • "We know there's got to be consequences for those leaders who don't commit to or don't advance DEI,” she said. “And so we're looking at ways that we can incentivize this through reporting annual reviews and administrative reviews.”
  • Anderson-Thompkins said she wants to acknowledge the University’s history with systemic racism when creating plans. 
    • “We wanted to take the insight we had gained, the understanding of the needs of our community, the reality of systemic racism to ensure that we were crafting a strategic plan around diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said. 
  • In the Q&A session, led by Chairperson of the Search Committee Suzanne Barbour, Anderson-Thompkins discussed the lessons she learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • Anderson-Thompkins said she wants the flexibility of hybrid classes to remain — while understanding the impact the pandemic had on some of the student population.
    • "COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of many of our student populations,” she said. “We talked often about those students who had food or shelter insecurities. I think that COVID has given us a way to think about equity in a very different way.” 

What’s Next?

  • The remaining two finalists will present over the next two weeks, with Virginia Hardy’s open forum on March 30. Hardy is the current vice chancellor of student affairs at East Carolina University. 
  • UNC community members can fill out feedback forms for each candidate as they become available.

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