Diversity Task Force

February 24, 2015

In August 1999 we assembled 70 faculty, administrators, staff, and students to serve on a Diversity Task Force to investigate diversity issues within the UNCA community and in the wider community. The Diversity Task Force was divided into subcommittees: Curriculum, Students, Faculty and Staff, Student Diversification, Disabilities and Liberal Arts Learning. This task force reached out to leaders in the local community, asking them to sit down with us and frame the particular questions that fall under the overarching question “”How can UNCA promote healthy diversity on campus and in the wider community?”” The community is helping us to understand the question, to identify problems in our community, and to work together for solutions.

In April 2000 the Diversity Task Force published a 68-page report assessing our current situation and suggesting strategies for improvement in all areas of diversity, including racial and ethnic identity; gender issues; social, economic, and cultural concerns; and issues of disabilities of various kinds. Specific topics included diversity in faculty recruiting and hiring, multicultural values in our curriculum, student diversification, and learning disabilities.

As we were talking with community leaders to frame these questions, UNCA launched or expanded more than 14 partnership programs with community organizations working for diversity. Our partners include economic development groups, nonprofits serving people with disabilities, groups working for social justice, programs working with at-risk youth, and public schools in our city and county. Several of these initiatives bring us into closer collaborations with our nearby sister schools, Mars Hill College and Warren Wilson College.
These community partnerships are thriving thanks to the work of dedicated faculty, administrators, staff, and students working with the Adelaide Key Center for Service-Learning and other UNCA programs. These community partnership programs provided service opportunities for many of the 1,000 students who took part in volunteer projects and service-learning projects during the academic year.

Combining study and service the rigorous study of our Diversity Task Force and the concurrent forging of strong community service partnerships with local nonprofits, schools, and government agencies has challenged and energized our campus and our community. We know more about the scope of the problems we face. Now we are collaborating with our colleagues and neighbors to solve these problems by working together.

Contact person: Margaret Downes, Ph.D., Director, Key Center for Service Learning, downes@unca.edu

Key Center web site: https://keycenter.unca.edu/

University of North Carolina at Asheville - NC, North Carolina
President: CHANCELLORJAMES H. MULLEN, JR.
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